Careers Service

How to write a great job advert – help for people new to recruitment

To encourage the right candidates to apply for your job, and hopefully make the shortlisting process easier, you need to take some time to make sure you produce a great job advert.

Position title

These are the first words that applicants will read, so the job title should attract attention, be clearly understandable and avoid containing any company jargon or acronyms. Bear in mind key words that people might use in a search. 

Information about your organisation. 

Keep it very brief, just a couple of sentences. What would you say if someone you met asked you what you do? 

General Details

We require you to specify a closing date. If you might close the advert early dependent on application numbers, then we recommend you highlight this in the descriptive details section of the advert, so the candidates are aware they need to apply as soon as possible.

If you are unsure what salary to offer for the role, we can advise on average salary ranges for similar jobs.

Descriptive details

Provide a succinct summary of the role that highlights what the job will involve and the kind of person you are looking for.

You can then provide a fuller explanation of the job function or responsibilities in the Details section. This is your opportunity to make clear to the applicant what is expected of them before they apply for the role. Bullet pointed lists ensure this information is clear and easy to navigate.

You should include full details of the skills and experience required, ideally divided into two categories of essential and/or desirable. Be as specific as you can about what you are looking for. For example, if you are looking for previous experience, say “At least one year administration experience”, rather than “some administration experience”. Being specific enables students to self-select, meaning that you will get the most relevant applications.

Think about what they must have to do the job (essential) and what would be good to have (desirable). Avoid skills being too broad or too specialised, as both can deter people from applying. Setting out the essential and desirable criteria will help you shortlist; investing time at this stage saves you time later on.

Good words to use are:

  • Ability to…
  • Expertise in…..
  • Knowledge of….

Present this information in a bullet-pointed list, starting with the most important. Many candidates will use the same formatting when putting together their application, which makes it easy for you to shortlist against your requirements.

You could also include some context, for example will they be working mostly in a team or on their own, communicating with senior staff, overseeing the work of others, taking on projects or will there be an expectation to travel. This context could also include information that highlights what makes your organisation different and a great place to work (e.g. working culture, the benefits or training offered).

Practical details.

 Include contract length, expected hours of work, salary and any benefits, working environment, location(s) and expected interview and start dates. 

How to apply

Give full details of the application and selection process. For example, include information about the interview or assessment centres, including likely dates.

Include contact information here so the applicant is clear on where to send their application information or who to contact should they have any questions. Alternatively, if you would like applicants to apply online, include the link here.

Top tips

  • Be concise
  • Highlight what makes your job or organisation unique
  • Avoid business jargon and acronyms
  • Use non-discriminatory language. Avoid any reference to gender, age, religion, disability or race.
  • A welcoming and friendly advert implies a welcoming and friendly work environment. A simple way to do this is use the word ‘you’ rather than ‘the successful candidate’.

Make it appealing

Our vacancy service is exclusively accessed by our current students and recent graduates. When wording your advert try to avoid business jargon that they may not understand. Think about what you can offer that will appeal to applicants just starting out in their careers whilst giving a clear and honest representation of your workplace and the requirements of the role.

Keep it legal

Employment legislation exists to ensure the recruitment process is fair and non-discriminatory. We can help you negotiate your way through the legislation if you find it overwhelming or have any questions.

Find out more about National Minimum Wage

Find out more about the Equality Act

View the common best practice on high quality internships (PDF)

If you need any further help or guidance, please email the Employer Team.