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3 Simple Ways to Start Writing Better Job Descriptions

If you read enough job descriptions, they start to blur together. There isn’t much to distinguish one from another; they are generally comprised of a long, bulleted list of very specific qualifications, followed by a paragraph requesting that candidates be able to sit, stand, and use Microsoft Office at a proficient level. All told, these job descriptions are far from groundbreaking. It’s no wonder that posting these underwhelming ads on job boards so often fails to attract desirable talent. Thankfully, it’s not difficult to change things around a bit and breathe new life into your tired old job descriptions. With three (relatively simple) tweaks, you will have an enticing, impactful advertisement that can help you stand out in a sea of bulleted lists.

  1.    Don’t forget that you’re promoting yourself.

A common mistake made in the writing of job descriptions is overlooking the valuable opportunity to promote your brand and your organization. It’s a competitive talent marketplace out there. If you want to find the best of the best, you’ll need to dazzle potential job seekers a bit. Spare a few lines in your job description to explain what makes you different, to highlight the best parts of working in your company, and to explain a bit about your culture and brand. Don’t forget that you’re not just screening out “unqualified” candidates, you’re showcasing your organization to the great candidates as well.

  1.    Don’t state the obvious

Read 10 job descriptions on any major job board and you’ll probably notice a lot of very similar, very uninformative requirements listed. If you’re looking to hire a software developer with 5+ years of experience, you probably don’t need to specify that they have a working knowledge of the Microsoft Office suite of products. Candidates’ eyes start to glaze over when they start seeing these uninteresting (and, frankly, obvious) requirements. If you must include a seemingly uninteresting bullet or two for compliance reasons, place it at the end of the description to ensure that your main points aren’t lost.

  1.    Don’t narrow your focus too much

With any role, there are a few key requirements that are simply non-negotiable, and you shouldn’t hesitate to list them in a job description. However, when you begin narrowing the scope too far, you risk scaring off some great talent. If the perfect candidate was out there but was a year shy of the “years of experience necessary” that you’ve listed on your job description, you might be inclined to overlook that fact to make the best possible hire. However, if you have narrowed your job description down too far, that candidate may have decided against even applying. List out the must-haves, define the role, and state clear expectations; beyond that, try not to over qualify your role. By keeping it broad, you’ll cast a wider net and increase the odds of finding the best fit for your company.

With those three tweaks, your job descriptions will be far more impactful and should help your business attract the best talent in the marketplace. The biggest takeaway is that you strive not to fall into the trap of the redundant, uninteresting, and overly specific job advertisement. Make your descriptions unique and as useful to the candidate as possible. Hopefully, it won’t only be more interesting for candidates to read, it will be a lot more fun to write.


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