Job ads – Are you selling or describing jobs?

Posted on 11 Oct 2021 by The Manufacturer
Partner Content

Dan Kirkpatrick, Head of Customer Success at Hunter, The Manufacturer’s official talent partner, is back to give us his expertise on the way companies can clearly and importantly lay out the difference between job adverts and job descriptions.

A job description is not a job advert and a job advert is not a job description. The simplest way to articulate the difference is that job adverts sell, and job descriptions tell.

JOB DESCRIPTIONS tend to be formal documents that give a detailed list of duties that an employee undertakes whereas the role of a job advert is to attract applicants. In essence, it’s a pitch to a future employer about your role and company.

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A job description should be used internally once a person works for you; a job advert should be used on internet job boards and, in my opinion, on your careers page too. On your careers page you can always include a link that takes you to the full JD for those potential applicants who want more detail.

A job advert is a great way to get the culture of your business across – the culture of a business is becoming more and more important when looking to hire, especially within candidate short markets.

Yes, writing a job advert takes longer than just copying and pasting a full job description but it’s time very well spent. A common concern I hear for hiring companies is ‘whatever I put in the advert I get people applying who are not right for the job’.

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In reality, there is no way of preventing this. Many companies include a huge list of essential criteria in the hope they only get suitable people applying, however this doesn’t stop applications from those without the skills as most are sending their CV in response to this specific advert in the hope that you may have other positions for them.

What it can stop however is the right candidate applying, as they read the essential criteria and think to themselves ‘I only have three or four of the essential criteria so there’s no point in me applying’. So, what should you include an advert? The following recommended structure is job board approved and SEO / keyword friendly.

With SEO in mind, you should aim to repeat the job title four to five times in your advert, to ensure better search rankings. It may look like it’d be time consuming, and it probably will be the first time, but once you’ve written one, you’ll have a template for future adverts – I promise you it’ll be worth the effort.


Think carefully about the job title on an advert – no matter what the job title is internally you want to use a common/regular job title on a job advert. For example, candidates are much more likely to search for “Mechanical Engineer” than “Mechanical Specialist”.

Introduction SHORT & SWEET

You should always introduce your vacancy with a sentence or two that engages the reader, encouraging them to find out more about the job. You should think of this section as a sales pitch… why would the candidate want to come and work for you? You should try to include the job title, industry and some relevant skills or experience that would be advantageous.

Job descriptionNITTY GRITTY

Next up, it’s time to get into the details as to what the role entails. It’s important to be transparent about what will be expected of the candidate, so include the most important aspects of the job. Phrases such as “Responsibility for…”, “take ownership of”, “you’ll have a high level of autonomy” and similar often really appeal to potential candidates. Be careful not to use internal jargon in your job adverts as this can put candidates off applying and don’t include responsibilities like “attend meetings” as it’s wasted word count because it won’t encourage anybody to apply.


This is your opportunity to introduce what skills and experience the candidate should already possess, enabling them to recognise if they are suitable for the role or not. You should always directly address the candidate as they will respond better if they can visualise themselves in the position.

This is easily achievable through using terms such as ‘you’ and ‘you’ll’. Don’t include certain soft skills such as “great communication skills required” – nobody is going to rule themselves out (whatever their communication skills) upon reading this so, again, it’s wasted word count.


You should introduce your company to the candidate and use this as an opportunity to sell the company and potentially explain why this job is on offer.

The packageTHE VALUE BIT

Today’s employees want to feel valued at work. So, this is your opportunity to showcase the great perks and benefits that are on offer. Where possible, you should always include the rate/salary of the role as doing so attracts significantly more applicants. Many job hunters read “competitive salary” as “low salary”.

Call to actionURGENCY

You should include a clearly defined call to action so that it prompts the candidate to take action. After reading the job advert, this is when a candidate will decide if they are interested in the role therefore you should apply a sense of urgency so that they feel the need to apply quickly – for example, you could add phrases such as ‘now’, ‘today’ or ‘before it’s too late’. Don’t include your phone number or email address in this section as most internet job boards simply remove them or star them out so it will make your advert look messy.

Dan Kirkpatrick - Head of Customer Success at Trust Hunter

If you’d like to discuss directly with me please don’t hesitate to get in touch – [email protected]


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