Five Tools to Help You Write Great Job Adverts
A job description may well be the first point of contact you have with any given candidate.
It’s one of the first opportunities you have to get them excited about the role, and express your employer brand.
Therefore, it pays to put your best foot forward.
Job descriptions are, at their core, exercises in concise, informative writing, which can be a challenge if you’ve not done it before or if you’re still too small to justify bringing in a specialist. We’ve found six tools to help you write job descriptions that will get you responses from more, and better, candidates.
For Job Posting SEO
30% of all Google searches are connected to job seeking, so if ever there’s something you want to embrace SEO for, it should be your job adverts. If no potential candidates are seeing your adverts, you’re going to run into trouble.
Our understanding of SEO is developing all the time, but one thing that remains consistent is making a good use of keywords.
Moz has a number of paid tools related to SEO, with a variety of uses, but most pressing to our purposes is their collection of free tools, in particular the Keyword Search. This tool lets you analyse and evaluate certain keywords to figure out which ones will be most useful, based on various metrics.
The free version requires you to make an account, but it lets you make ten enquiries a month, which should be enough for a few strong job applications. Don’t stuff your adverts full of keywords, Google is getting much smarter at analysing text, and deprioritising pages that are trying to overtly play to SEO rather than creating useful content.
In addition to Grammarly, Hemingway is a powerful tool for editing your writing. When you’re first starting to expand and hire more in earnest, it’s entirely possible you may not have a designated copy editor, or indeed anyone with robust writing skills, on your team, so having editing apps to guide you is ideal.
Helpfully, Hemingway makes use of clear, crisp, bright colours to distinguish different issues, so you can spot problem areas at a glance. It’ll pick out overly complex words and offer simpler synonyms, cut down on your adverb usage and flag up complex sentences that could do with being shortened.
A job description, more than anything else, needs to be clear and concise. Hemingway will help you cut down needless words and get to the core of what you’re trying to say.
One of the main disadvantages of Hemingway is that it doesn’t really account for authorial voice, but that’s not really a problem when it comes to things like job descriptions, where it’s best practice for you to aim for a more neutral tone. We talk a bit about why here.
Augmented Writing and Editing
Textio advertises itself as ‘the augmented writing platform,’ which certainly sounds interesting, but what does this actually mean?
To summarise, Textio uses an AI to help finish off sentences that you start. Think of it this way; if Hemingway helps refine what you’ve written yourself, Textio will help with the process of actually writing the thing in the first place.
It’s especially useful because it is designed for professional use, particularly job descriptions, with a strong awareness of the importance of employer branding, so the AI has a great understanding of appropriate language for the job.
As ever, it’s good practice to not rely exclusively on what the AI puts out. Have someone cast a critical eye over what the tool gives you! Experiment with different prompts and see what results you get.
Spell Checking and Proofreading
We’ve recommended Grammarly before, and we’ll probably recommend it many more times in the future, but its usefulness cannot really be overstated. Having a robust spellchecker ready for use at a glance is supremely valuable.
Grammarly is more useful than the spell checkers that can be found bundled in within software like Google docs or Word, because it has a strong grasp of grammar as well as spelling. It’s easy to use, robust, and offers a great deal of clarity in terms of getting your writing up to a strong standard.
Thesaurus’ have their uses. Proofreading is hard, and sometimes the eye can skip over repeated words. But being overly-repetitive may stand out to potential candidates and weakens the punch of the description.
Remember: your job descriptions need to be clear and succinct- you don’t have the words to waste on repetition that makes the whole thing feel weaker. You don’t need to use a different word in every situation, but enough
The problem with thesaurus’ is when one uses it for every word, or it gives you a word in an incorrect context. Visuwords helps with this by providing a bubble of conceptually linked words based on what you search for. It provides definitions and context. You can click on the spawned nodes to draw out more concepts and get the exact words you need.
This is great for people who prefer visual feedback, and is a little more robust than the synonym button found in most word processors
Textio and Hemingway are great editing tools, but Grammarly and Visuwords are simple and self-explanatory, and powerful in their own right.
The humble job description has to wear many hats. It’s an ad for the role, and for your company, a way of conveying essential information about the job, a reference point during the hiring process for both you and for the candidate. So use the tools available to you to make the most impact with each one that you can!