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Job Adverts How to Write

Job Adverts How to Write

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03/18/2014

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Job adverts
how to design and write effective job advertisements - tips and techniques

The best techniques for writing effective job advertisements are the same as for other forms of advertising.
The job is your product; the readers of the job advert are your potential customers. The aim of the job
advert is to attract interest, communicate quickly and clearly the essential (appealing and relevant) points,
and to provide a clear response process and mechanism. Design should concentrate on clarity or text,
layout, and on conveying a professional image. Branding should be present but not overbearing, and must
not dominate the job advert itself. This article relates mainly to designing and writing job adverts to appear
in printed newspapers an magazines media, although the principles apply to other media and methods.
The information must be communicated effectively one way or another to the target audience.

Job adverts and recruitment processes should follow the classical AIDA selling format: Attention, Interest,
Desire, Action.

This means that good job advertisements must first attract attention (from appropriate job-seekers); attract relevant interest (by establishing relevance in the minds of the ideal candidates); create desire (to pursue what looks like a great opportunity), and finally provide a clear instruction for the next action or response.

Job adverts written by people who fail to follow these vital principles will fail to attract job applicants of
quality in quantity. I generally try to avoid pointing out what not to do. Positive examples generally work
better than negative ones, however it is useful to point out some common pitfalls for writing and designing
job adverts - the quality broadsheets are littered with examples every week, and you will do well to avoid
these traps:

Job adverts no-nos
\u2022
over-designed graphics (distracts and slows reading)
\u2022
extravagantly presented layouts and words (distracts and slows reading)
\u2022
difficult to read quickly or at all for any reason
\u2022
font (type-style) too small or too large
\u2022
capital-letters (upper-case)
\u2022
lots of words in italics - they are a lot more difficult to read quickly
\u2022
strange-looking or fancy fonts
\u2022
printed in daft colours or tints against a coloured, patterned or picture background
\u2022
clever or obscure headlines
\u2022
coded and idiosyncratic communications
\u2022
too much technical detail about the job or the company
\u2022
too many words - they are a real turn-off - keep it simple
\u2022
uninspiring, boring descriptions of roles and ideal candidates
\u2022
too much emphasis on the job and not enough on the person
\u2022
adverts in reverse (mirror) or upside-down (not permitted anyway by most media)
\u2022
weird advert box shapes, for example wide and flat or tall and thin
\u2022
huge half-page or whole-page or double-page spreads - a waste of money
If you use a designer to create and produce artwork for your job advert I urge you to control their creative
instincts - a job advert is advertising a job, it is not a CD cover or a bottle of shampoo.
Here's a reminder of the essential writing tips for advertising and for clarity of business communications, in
the context of writing and designing effective job or recruitment advertisements:
Job adverts writing tips
Use one simple headline, and make the job advert headline relevant and clear. Normally the logical
headline is the job title itself - this is after all what people will be looking for.

If the job title does not implicitly describe the job function, then use a strap line to do so. Better still, if you find yourself writing a job advert for a truly obscure job title which in no way conveys what the job function is, and then consider changing the job title.

An effective alternative main headline - especially for strategic roles with a lot of freedom - is to describe (very succinctly - and in an inspirational manner) the main purpose of the role, which can then be used with the job title and organization's name serving as secondary headings.

If the organization is known and has a good reputation among the targeted readers then show the
organization or brand name prominently, as a strap line or main heading with the job title, or incorporated
in the job advert frame design, or in one of the corners of the space, in proper logo-style format.

N.B. Some organizations prefer not to tell the whole world that they are recruiting, in which case, if this is
your policy, obviously do not feature your organization's name in the job advert. On which point - if you use
a recruitment consultancy, examine the extent to which your job advert is promoting the recruitment
agency's name, and if you think they are over-egging things perhaps suggest they contribute to the cost of
the advert, or reduce the size oftheir corporate branding onyour advert.

Make the advert easy to read. Use simple language, avoid complicated words unless absolutely necessary
(for example if recruiting for Head of Rocket Science), and keep enough space around the text to attract
attention to it. Less is more. Giving text some space is a very powerful way of attracting the eye, and also
a way of ensuring you write efficiently. Efficient writing enables efficient reading.

Use language that your reader uses. If you want clues as to what this might be imagine the newspaper
they read, and limit your vocabulary to that found in the newspaper.
Use short sentences. More than fifteen words in a sentence reduces the clarity of the meaning. After
drafting your communication, seek out commas and 'and's, and replace with full-stops.
Use bullet points and short bite-sized paragraphs. A lot of words in one big paragraph is very off-putting to
the reader and will probably not be read.

Use simple type-styles: Arial, Tahoma, Times, etc, or your house-style equivalents or variations. Serif fonts (like Times) are more traditional and more readable. Sans serif (like Arial and Tahoma) are more modern- looking, but are less easy to read especially for a lot of text. It's your choice.

Use 12-20ish point-size for headings and subheadings. Try to avoid upper-case (capitals) even in
headings - it's very much slower to read. Increase prominence by use of a larger point-size, and to an
extent emboldening, not by using capitals. CAPITALS HAVE NO WORDSHAPES - SEE WHAT I MEAN?)

Use ten, eleven or twelve point-size for the main text; smaller or larger are actually more difficult to read
and therefore less likely to be read. Definitely avoid upper-case (capitals) in the 'body copy' (main text).

For the same reason avoid italics, shadows, light colours reversed out of dark, weird and wonderful
colours. None of these improve readability, they all reduce it. Use simple black (or dark coloured) text on a
white (or light coloured) background for maximum readability.

Get the reader involved. Refer to the reader as \u2018you\u2019 and use the second person (\u2018you\u2019, \u2018your\u2019 and \u2018yours\u2019 etc) in the description of the requirements and expectations of the candidate and the job role. This helps people to visualise themselves in the role. It involves them.

Try to incorporate something new, innovative, exciting, challenging - people are attracted to new things -
either in the company or the role.

Stress what is unique. You must try to emphasise what makes your job and organization special. People want to work for special employers and are generally not motivated to seek work with boring, run-of-the- mill, ordinary, unadventurous organizations.

Job advert statements and descriptions must be credible. Employers or jobs that sound too good to be
true will only attract the gullible and the dreamers.
Remember AIDA: TheAt tention part is the banner or headline that makes an impressive benefit promise.
Interest builds information in an interesting way, usually meaning that this must relate closely to the way
that the reader thinks about the issues concerned. Since job advertisements aim to produce a response

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