Writing a compelling job ad is essential to recruiting highly qualified applicants. Your ability to entice top talent relies on a precise and well-targeted posting that follows an intuitive organizational structure. Simplify the process of finding your next great hire with this step-by-step job ad template, complete with building blocks and examples.
Title, Location – Hook
When writing a job ad, start with an effective title line. This area must include a simple job title that will show up in candidate searches (think industry specific, not company specific). If your company calls copywriters “Content Explorers,” that’s fine, but for the purposes of drawing in potential applicants, use “Copywriter” in the job ad. Shoot for a title line that is 50–60 characters long. Recent research has shown that this is the “sweet spot,” which outperforms shorter and longer titles by 30%–40%. Along with a simple title, you need to include the location and a brief hook to draw the reader in. The hook is meant to catch the reader’s eye and encourage them to continue reading the ad.
Example: Copywriter, San Diego, CA – Great Weather and Even Better Coworkers
The lead-in area of a job posting picks up where the title line left off, appealing to the reader by including information about the company and opening that will make the job seeker want to apply for the position.
Example: Join a rapidly expanding advertising agency located in sunny San Diego. Current clients include five Fortune 100 corporations and several Silicon Valley startups. Enjoy a great team environment with anticipated compensation of $60K–$80K per year.
Now we get to the meat of the ad: the job description. You want to provide ample details about what the day-to-day job entails, but you don’t need to write a manifesto about every minor task the individual will perform. Prepare a 2–4 sentence overview about the position. The purpose of this paragraph is to tell the reader what their life will be like if they work for your company. You should follow this brief summary with a short bulleted list (3–5 bullets) of specific duties that you want to highlight.
- Write copy for clients’ ads, brochures, TV spots, radio, and other forms of advertising.
- Research the technical properties of products.
- Identify what makes products appealing to consumers.
- Conceive, develop, and produce effective advertising campaigns and unique concepts.
- Work with account executives to determine project scope and partner with art directors to formulate captivating ideas.
This area is another key opportunity to draw in potential candidates. Briefly describe your company’s unique culture and tell the reader what makes it a great place to work. Try to keep it to 3–4 sentences, maximum.
Example: ABC company believes in investing in our greatest resource: our employees. We encourage our staff to take advantage of any and all opportunities for professional development and support personnel in their efforts to improve their skills and try something that may be outside of their comfort zones. Plus, we have happy hours every Friday afternoon at 3:30pm.
Key Requirements, Skills & Qualifications
The length of this section will depend on the amount of “basic” and “preferred” qualifications the opening demands. If the requirements list is less than 5 items, you may want to organize it as a bulleted list, but if it is longer than 5 items, consider putting basic qualifications in a short paragraph and present those preferred skills in bulleted form.
- 4-year marketing degree or a concentration in creative writing or English is preferred
- 10+ years in an agency setting, or 6+ years’ related experience
- Strong experience copywriting and testing for online communications – online solicitation and email experience
- Able to juggle multiple projects while meeting demanding deadlines, producing high-quality work, and projecting a positive attitude
Save the benefits area for the end of the job posting. This will ensure that the candidate has taken the time to read through much of the rest of the information regarding the opening instead of simply seeing “tuition reimbursement” and deciding to apply. You may organize this area as another bulleted list, but try to keep it to 3–5 items.
- Quality, cost-effective health care as well as disability and life insurance
- 401(k) savings plan with employer match
- Tuition reimbursement
- Paid vacations and holidays
How to Apply
Provide specific instructions on how to apply. Try to keep your application process as simple as possible. Studies have shown that application processes longer than five minutes have a significant negative impact on the number of applicants.
Example: Please submit your resume and cover letter to John Smith at email@example.com. No phone calls from recruiting firms please.
Keep the closing short and sweet, and be sure to provide insight regarding next steps. This will combat the “candidate black hole” problem and ensure that the applicant knows what to expect from your company’s HR staff.
Example: Thank you very much for your interest in working for Company Name. We appreciate your time and review each and every resume that is submitted to our HR department. You will receive an email within 24 hours that confirms your application has been accepted by our applicant tracking system. If you are selected to participate in the interview process, you will receive an email within two weeks from firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more tips and advice on writing a job ad to attract top talent, download the iHire Job Ad Template linked at the top of this article.