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Effective job adverts

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A good job advert not only tells a prospective candidate the skills you are looking for, it is also an opportunity to sell your role and organisation to potential applicants. 

Try to think about how you can use the job advertisement to attract candidates – anything that makes your organisation and role profile stand out will help you to attract more people.

 

What to include in your job advert

Typically a job advertisement consist of four sections:

Information about your organisation

A description of your organisation, what you do and where the role sits within the organisational structure.  You might also want to include information about your location(s).  Try to convey something about the culture and identity of where you work as this is the part which could really sell your opportunity to potential candidates.

Key areas of responsibility

A description of what the role will involve and what the main duties will be.  Try to keep this section succinct, you may not need to include every duty.  Six to eight bullet points are probably enough.

Person specification

A list of the skills, knowledge and qualifications you are expecting applicants to have.  Some organisations break this down into essential and desirable.  You might also include ‘soft’ or transferable skills here such as communication or teamwork skills.  Use bullet points again for this section but try not to have too many very specific requirements.  

Benefits and opportunities

Again this is an opportunity for you to sell your opportunity.  You can add any benefits here as well as training or promotion opportunities which may help to attract candidates.  This will include salary details; using a salary range (eg £18,000 - £20,000) can work well if exact remuneration will depend on an individual’s experience.

Tips for writing job advertisements

  • Detail how you would like candidates to apply.  Often this is through a CV and covering letter but you may prefer to use an application form.  
  • It is advisable to have a closing date.  Two to three weeks from when you place the vacancy might be a good starting point
  • Try to include details of a named person with contact details who candidates can speak to if they have any questions about the role or application process
  • Avoid using internal terminology in the job description
  • Be realistic; the more specific you are in the person specification, the fewer applicants will be able to apply
  • Don’t use discriminatory language – visit the Gov.uk website for helpful advice
  • Review any existing job descriptions before posting to ensure they are relevant and up to date

Careers and Employability Service

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