Writing Job Postings
What Makes a Great Online
With 1.5 million job listings
online, how do you get job hunters to look at yours?
Think like them.
Who are the hunters? What
level of experience do they have--not just with work, but with the
internet, too? What are they looking for, how do they look and what
needs do they have? Knowing before you post your listings can make
a difference in whether someone will respond.
Target Your Words
Entry level hunters are
not likely to be overly savvy internet users. So if you're target
is an entry level type, focus on the well advertised sites such
as MonsterBoard. Any site with the name "job" or career" might work,
too, because the keyword search at this point is apt to be simple:
job, career, jobs in xx location, xxx category, etc.
Of course, as you go up
the food chain, the searching skills of the hunters often improve
which means that your strategy and placement need to change also.
For instance, college grads who've done a few years of intern, co-op,
or entry level work, will know more about job hunting. They'll be
familiar with their industry's jargon and their searches will reflect
this. The search terms might now include "junior accountant positions,
NYC, big 8, cost-benefit analysis". So, if you're looking for this
audience, you need to be more specific in your posting. Of course,
some hunters will often also have ties to their industry's professional
organizations, trade journals, and specialized mailing lists. Job
postings in those contexts are likely to be viewed.
Then, too, there are the
mid-level hunters, products of downsizing or burnout, who are looking
for new lines of work. They understand what they're good at but
may not know exactly what kind of job they want. In this case, titles
often don't have much meaning. The keyword searches are a bit more
complex and even esoteric. Often, they'll use a job search agent,
allowing them to create one or more profiles with select keywords.
Skill-based words and industry concepts will often be entered as
the search criteria. For instance, a search consisting of "coordination,
training, communication, conflict resolution, and decision making"
might be used. Clearly, to attract these hunters, your job ad needs
to make use of keyword nouns that highlight the skills your recruit
needs or the functions that will be engaged in. But sometimes this
group also seeks more. They've been working for a while and want
a job that suits their lifestyle. Some look for "family-friendly"
environments or "educational benefits". Here, understanding the
hunter's needs can make a big difference between what is read and
At the executive levels,
searches often involve titles and acronyms. But particularly favorite
phrases include "hidden job" and "compensation package. They
don't often search the mega boards. Rather, the niche sites might
be peeked at, ambiguous emails in professional lists may appear,
and an occasional article in a high-profile or niche trade journal
will be published. A search through Deja News to see where people
are looking and noting which phrases they use can guide you in creating
And remember those who want
contract work. They'll use "short-term", "freelance", "telecommute",
"temporary", and "consultant", and "contract" among others.
So the way you word your
ad, and the keywords you use, are some of what determines whether
it is looked at. Check of Career Path for a listing of some of
the keywords hunters use most often. Also check out the keyword page by Search
Titles count. If you have
a position for an accounting assistant, for example, word it so
it stands out from the hundred other accounting assistant positions.
An unusual headline may work well, particularly if you're looking
for creative types. For instance, according to JFP Resources, one of the
postings that received a ton of hits was "Want to Work for a Bunch
Particularly skilled job
hunters know the value of their time; they expect others to understand
it also. For that reason, the sites you place your ad on need to
be chosen carefully. Do the sites load quickly? Is there a reasonably
accurate search available? Are the jobs listed new ones or are they
a compilation of those listed on other sites? Is there an email
notification system for those who come up empty on their searches?
Does the site allow keyword searching? According to Search Engine Watch "only
6 to 20 percent of users say they use predefined topics".
Essentials and Not
A Web posting can be detailed.
Use that to your advantage. And while interested candidates will
more than likely want lots of info on the prospective company and
its goals, including a mission statement, pictures of the president,
and an outline of the organizational chart in the posting itself
doesn't cut it because it offers no information that lets the hunter
know whether s/he would like the position.
Consider this post for
a marketing research intern:
using market research data
* researching the computer market for trends in the industry
* assisting in the development of sales tools
* assisting in the day-to-day activities of the dept., by implementing
research studies, proofreading, distribution of information, etc.
Natural questions would
include "produce how?" and "what do they mean by day-to-day activities--are
they talking about copying and mailing?"
The same ad also began with
a lengthy paragraph about the organization--information that could
easily have been found on the Web--either by the poster providing
a link, or the hunter doing a simple search.
Use the space you have.
Hook your hunters. Include what they must know in order to make
an informed decision as to whether the job suits them. Date the
posting. No one wants to waste time looking at a job that's been
up for 88 days. Include:
- a clear description of
the job functions
- the duties and responsibilities
inherent in that job
- a realistic picture of
the working environment and overtime expected
- the name of a real contact
(rather than the generic "respond to Human Resources at XX Company")
- a date for the posting
and a deadline for resume submissions
Other welcome additions
include links to the company's site for those who are interested
and information about how to submit a resume -- whether by email
or snail mail or fax is appreciated. And, if it's by email, specifying
the type of file to attach is quite helpful--for both parties.