How to write a great job ad

At the moment most employers are having a hard time attracting the right person for the jobs they have that desperately need to be filled. Or sometimes any people at all. Many employers cite staff shortages as the biggest problem facing their business.

This isn’t a problem that is going away anytime soon and there are a number of things you can do to address this problem but today we are going to look at the humble job ad. There are other avenues for finding staff. Don’t forget good old fashioned “word of mouth”. Or social media. Another good idea is to ask current employees for help and even offer cash bounties for successful candidates.

But while job ads have migrated from the Saturday newspaper to online – they are still an incredibly important way to find the best person for the job.

The reasons for this are important. Keep in mind that you are in a competition for staff. Online is the easiest way for people to check through a large number of potential jobs and compare them. It is an advertisement and like all advertisements, you are competing to stand out, show the benefits of your “product” and get people to lift the phone and contact YOU – and not the ten, fifty or a hundred other potential employers you are competing against.

So here are some important steps to make you stand out, look attractive and get found by the kind of employees that can make (or, if you get it wrong) break your business.

(Every industry is different. So these are guidelines – not rules. Look at what other employers in your industry do. Not to copy them – but to do it better).


Make sure the title of the ad is short, common and searchable. Avoid trendy or industry “in” terms (and no acronyms). If someone is looking for jobs as a truck driver then “Truck Drive Wanted” is going to come up if they do a search for “truck driver”. “Freight delivery operator” is not. You might want add a modifier as that sometimes that helps with getting attention. For example, “Truck Driver for Business to Business” will be attractive to some candidates.

Sell yourself

Put these as bullet points. These might be about the job itself, you or the rewards and benfits on offer. The idea is that a job seeker will quickly scan these lines and if you have done a good job, read the rest of the ad and not skip to the next one. Make each point very clear, very short and have no more than five (but preferably) less bullet points. Put yourself in their shoes – what are the most attractive parts of working for you and the job itself. Remember, put in what will attract the kind of candidate you want. This is very subjective and one phrase can mean one thing in one industry but something else in another. “Fast paced” can mean busy, engaging and fun. But it can also mean overworked, chaotic and stressful.

Why consider us?

The second part should be a paragraph that should be clear and straight to the point and ABOVE ALL! Short. This is where you sell yourself and why you would be the perfect employer. Don’t put in dates and facts and the kind of blurb you probably have on your website. It boils down to what are the benefits of being an employee? And yes, that does mean money but a lot of other things as well. People don’t just look at how much money they will make. Do you have a good workplace culture, is the job rewarding, are the people nice? Maybe you are in a convenient location, Are you a good business? Why so? Are you stable and well run? (A lot of people like steady and predictable). Fast growing and frenetic? (Others like exciting and unpredictable). What will they be doing? What benefits are there? Are there opportunities for advancement. There was an employer I once had who allowed naps and had special “chill out” areas in their office space. That in the ad got them employees and helped to retain them as well. Every job has it pluses and it’s minuses.

But remember – SHORT. People don’t read essays. But having said that – do put a link to the “About Us” page on your website if you have one. Some people will want to do a lot of research before contacting you.

The job

In bullet point form, lay out what the job is all about. Be very specific. Put in what you need – not extras that you would like. If you state you need a truck driver and then waffle on about them being familiar with certain software programs, or familiarity with Point Of Sale devices or knowledge of colour coordination in interior decorating then people will just roll their eyes and move to the next ad. Any competent person can be trained to do any extra duties but at the end of the day you want someone who is competent with the core job requirement first.

A short following paragraph expanding the duties required is fine. But make it short and to the point. Try to put in things that make the role itself interesting and worthwhile.

The pay

The bottom line is that job ads that state the salary on offer get more responses than ones that don’t. Don’t forget that people who search on job websites can filter out all ads that don’t meet whatever salary range they have set. At this moment in time, due to the current inflation rate and constant discussion about rising prices – Australian job seekers are even more focused on money than usual.

Where are you

Where you are located can be a big plus or a big minus. My recommendation is to be specific. If you are in the far northern suburbs then (unless it’s a really wonderful job) you won’t get too many applications from the south eastern suburbs. But you will immediately go to the top of the pile if the candidate is from the same suburb. Plus, you can’t hide where you are forever. So save your self and the candidate the hassle of applications that will go nowhere.

Be truthful

Not just because it’s the right thing to do but for practical reasons – be truthful. Put your best foot forward but don’t over sell or over promise. Also give some indication if there minuses to the job. “24 hour rotating roster” is not something you should try and hide. Remember, in the age of social media, word gets around about companies who do the wrong thing. And nowadays, most people are savvy enough to check. Also, getting a job filled is the first hurdle. The next one is retaining them. If people they feel they have been lied to then they will just go back to the same job site they found you on and get a better job.


Remember, these are guidelines. Every industry is different and every job too. Good luck with finding the right person!

If you would like some advice on all of this, please call us on 1300 268 800