Writing a job description is more than a “Help Wanted” sign, – it’s a “Help Wanted” advertisement for your company, letting the world know you’re hiring. In order to attract applicants, think of job seekers as consumers that you need to sell your company and position to. Here’s how:
How to Write a Job Description | Job Description Basics
The best job descriptions all have (put a check if your job description has):
▢ Job Title
▢ Job Description
▢ Qualifications and Requirements
▢ Company Benefits
▢ Information on your company and why it is great to work there
▢ How to Apply
When writing a job description, it may be tempting to use creative titles. However, unless searchable keywords appear in those titles, you may never be found. Digital Overlord or Beverage Dissemination Officer do not have the keywords that Website Developer or Bartender do. Nor are they easily recognizable, and some applicants may find these job titles silly or confusing. What’s even worse, they may skip applying altogether.
Avoid using unique hierarchical titles like “Technician II” or “Accountant – Department 3H”. It may mean something to you, but only serves to confuse a job seeker. In some cases, their version of level II is different than your version, and they may be over or under qualified.
Use direct and specific job titles that best describe the position. “Sales Representative” is much better than “Proven and experienced salesperson.” It’s more generic and therefore more searchable. You can talk about qualifications in more detail later.
Finally, you should avoid things that can cheapen your company image – such as posing questions, mentioning pay, or using ALL CAPS in your job title.
Take the time to illustrate and paint what a day in this job looks like when you write a description. Don’t just laundry list duties but try to describe how this position’s objectives fit into the greater part of the company.
Job seekers want to contribute and feel like they’re a part of something bigger. If you describe both the job and how it fits into the company as a whole, you’ll get a better, larger pool of candidates.
Job seekers look in their backyard first before moving on, therefore be sure to include the specific city, state, and zip code of your job’s location. Avoid using “Anywhere” or “United States” even if this is a work from home position. Most basic searches on job boards begin with a “skills” field and a “location” field. Leaving location blank or generic will cost you a lot of applicants.
Some may feel writing “commensurate with experience” or leaving the salary field blank is the way to go. Research shows the opposite when disclosing salary and attracting quality applicants. Some applicants may not apply to your position because they feel you cannot match their salary requirements. Others may not even apply because they feel you have something to hide.
Giving a salary range will help weed out and qualify applicants as well. To up the quality of applicants be sure to include salary info.
Qualifications and requirements
You want to encourage people to apply. List only the most important, “must have” skills. Creating a giant laundry list of every technology your company uses may cause some applicants to avoid applying. You should know which qualifications are must haves and which ones can be taught. If having a license, certification, or expertise in a programming language is a requirement, emphasize that. If having Excel, Outlook, or Windows experience is a plus, but can be taught, avoid listing it as a requirement.
More and more benefits are a huge selling point for companies. Health insurance, retirement plans, vacation all play a key role in an applicant’s mind in addition to salary. Research shows non-traditional benefits like a gym membership, commuting, or cell phone assistance are also great drivers of applicants. Be sure to list all benefits your company offers.
Include information on what your company does and why it is great to work there
Are you a start-up or an established corporation? Do you have a unique work culture? Have you been spotlighted in the news or participated in any community events as a company? This is your chance to tell potential applicants some history on your company. Give them a sneak peek into your company culture, and spotlight reasons to join your firm. Be accurate but also remember to promote your company to applicants, that’s what a good job description does.
How to apply
Ever see those infomercials where they say “Call Now”? That is a call to action, and something many job description writers forget to include. Be sure to give the applicant a clear call to action such as, “For immediate consideration please email your resume to…” If you have an “apply now” link or button make sure it is visible and stands out.
Follow these tips on writing a job description and watch the quality and quantity of applicants go up!