Writing the perfect online job advert


It is important to consider how to write the perfect online job advert as this is the fundamental piece of marketing material for any recruiting company. Recruitment adverts are widespread on the internet and in many cases this is the first point of contact with prospective employees.
Although writing an online job advert is similar to writing a print advert, the structure and use of keywords is more important in attracting quality candidates to your vacancy in an online campaign.
Understanding how different job sites work and how they are used by job seekers will help you write an effective job ad.
Research shows that candidates reading a job advert online tend to read less of it than if they were reading it in an industry publication. It is therefore essential to be succinct.
The fundamental aspect that recruiters most often get wrong is the ad copy. Not enough time or effort is spent writing good job adverts and the evidence is clear on most job boards.

30% of recruiters use a job spec as an advert! Are you guilty?

An advert is not a job specification – ads are about selling.

  • Sell the job
  • Sell the salary and benefits
  • Sell the prospects
  • Sell your organisation

Motivate candidates to apply for your job rather than a job in another company.

Anatomy of a good Online Recruitment Advert

Job Title

Most candidates begin with a search by ‘Job Title’ and then add criteria to narrow the returned results.

The Job Tile is the Most Import Keyword

Include the most relevant Job Title in the job title field, be precise and do not clutter the text with irrelevant words that candidates are unlikely to search for e.g. CRA Italy eat Pizza and Pasta!
Research has found the more specific you make your job title, the higher the number of appropriate job seekers that will view your advert.
For example, ‘Clinical Application Specialist Ultrasound’ will attract better, more targeted job seekers than ‘Clinical Application Specialist’.
‘Market friendly’ job titles tend to be picked up more effectively by search engines than company specific job titles. For example, the term ‘Clinical Research Associate’ will be picked up far more readily than ‘Clinical Monitoring Associate’. Keywords in job titles are very important as they are often ‘weighted’. This means that a keyword in the title can be ‘worth’ more then the same keyword in the advert itself, ensuring your advert appears higher in the returned search results.


More relevant candidates will view your job if you are precise with the location.

Be as precise as possible with the location

It is also important to understand how the specific job board handles the location field. Can you use multiple locations? Will a job from ‘St Albans’ be returned in a candidate search for jobs in the ‘South East’? How are international locations handled?
‘Nationwide’ jobs can be viewed sceptically by job seekers.


One of the most common mistakes when writing an online job advert is omitting a salary. If you don’t want to be specific about the salary you can indicate a salary range.

Make sure you include something in the salary field!

There are reasons why you may not want to include a salary but it will damage the response level. Phrases such as ‘competitive’ are meaningless. Job seekers want to know how much they are going to be paid and a salary gives an indication of the level of experience required and seniority of the position.
For example, a Business Development Manager with a basic salary of £28K and OTE of £32K is a very different proposition to a BDM with basic of £65K and OTE of £100K.

Short attention grabbing introduction

Many online job boards show a brief job summary from which the reader can click through to view the full advert. It is imperative to grab the readers attention in these first couple of sentences.

Company Overview

When applying for jobs people want to know what type of company they could be working for. Make sure you include a short compelling introduction to your company.

Job description

The job description is the opportunity to sell the precise details of the job. Include the main functions of the role, duties and responsibilities, reporting line and bullet point the key tasks.

Don’t just copy and paste the job spec!

Be clear and concise using short paragraphs and incorporate keywords into the text. Keywords in your advert are the search terms that candidates use to find your vacancy.
For example, rather than writing “you will be working…” write “As a Key Account Manager you will be working…”

There are no word limits with online job adverts so it is possible to make your advert rich in keywords. This will help your advert to be ranked higher in relevancy based search results.

Consider what search terms a candidate would use to search for a suitable job and tailor your advert accordingly.

Do not ‘spam’ the advert with over use of keywords as this can have a negative effect on ranking.

Person Specification

What are the skills, qualifications and core competencies you are looking for in the ideal candidate? What personal attributes does the candidate need to ‘fit’ within your team culture?
Again use keywords e.g “PhD in Biochemistry”

Application details

Most job boards provide a quick and easy process to apply for job adverts. Ensure that you provide any specific instructions for application and contact details.

Sell, sell, sell!

Remember to sell the job!

  • Sell the job
  • Sell the salary and benefits
  • Sell the prospects
  • Sell your organisation

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