The Anatomy of Internet Job Posting Content

In Part I of this series we created WOW by improving our job titles. We emphasized the importance of have an informative, thorough, eye catching job title to intrigue the candidate to click through to your job announcement. Once they have clicked through to the ad, you now want to WOW them with the opportunity… WOE: “I post to sites that give me statistics on the number of times my job was viewed and the number of responses to my ads. My response to job views ratio is really low. People are reading my ads but they aren’t submitting their resumes.” WOW: Thorough, informative Job Posting Content is the key to motivating candidates to submit their resumes. Unlike print advertising, you are not paying by the line for your Job advertisements. This gives you the opportunity to provide much more information on the job and your company than is reasonable in a print ad. While most job boards have some limit to the amount of content you are allowed to put in a job ad, there is sufficient space to outline enough information for the candidate to draw a picture of the specific job content and the company. I tested the limits on several sites and a few of them allowed me to post over 1,600 words. As a point of reference, this is equivalent to about 2 full pages of single spaced 10-point text. While 1,600 words are much too long for an ad, about 400-500 words can present a solid story for the candidate. If written correctly, by the time the candidate is done reading the ad, they should know exactly what skills are required, what the working environment is like, company benefits, and a general view of the company goals and direction. It should be thorough, yet to the point. You can include a sufficient amount of valuable information without being too wordy. Outlined below is a template that we find very useful in writing Internet job postings: Paragraph 1:

Job Description: Discuss the content of the actual job. First and foremost, candidates want to know what they will be doing on the job. Include the following:

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  • Brief description of the company and the product or service it provides.
  • General scope of work.
  • Will they be planning and developing something new or improving on something already in existence?
  • What is their “end product” and who is the recipient – external clients, retail customers, or co-workers and other internal clients?
  • Will they be part of a team, managing a team, or working independently?

When the candidate is done reading this paragraph they will have a mental picture of the type of work they will be doing. Paragraph 2: Required Skills: Outline skills required for consideration for this position. Be sure to delineate between the actual required skills and the “nice to have” skills. For technical positions, are there specific software packages, platforms, databases, and other tools with which the must have experience?

  • Should they have primarily functional or technical experience?
  • Are there any certifications required? CPA, CFA, MCSE, CNE…?
  • Are there a minimum number of years they need to have using these skills?
  • Are they required to have the legal authorization to work in the United States or will you provide the necessary sponsorships?

Hint: Using an outline format rather than paragraph format will help the candidate read the required skills more easily. If you do this, be sure to use – dashes – , not bullet points because bullet points don’t convert well to some of the posting site’s formats. Paragraph 3: Other Qualifications: Include any soft skills, communications skills, ability to interact with clients, organization skills, willingness to travel, flexibility etc. Paragraph 4: Educational Requirements: If there is something specific required, spell it out here- CPA, MBA, Masters in Engineering, BA in journalism, etc. Paragraph 5: Work Environment: What is the company/department like? Is it casual, team-centered, highly competitive? Do you offer unique working conditions or special benefits like day care, telecommuting, health club, flex hours? Paragraph 6: Closing: Include an e-mail address, fax number and snail mail address (if you still use one) to send in a resume. Always include your Web page address so they can learn more about the company. If possible, create a link to your web page directly in the ad. If you have a well-developed career section of your web page, then create a link directly to this section of your site. Candidates want to learn about opportunity first, then they want to learn more about the company. You should make it as easy as possible for them to do this. Always include your company’s standard EEO statement. Key Words: Develop a list of key words that pertain to the position and skills required/desired. Include all the synonyms to the key words as well. For instance, GUI developer, visual basic programmer, VB, front end programmer, and user interface developer all mean the same thing. While you might not have all of these words in the body of the job ad, if you have them listed at the end of the ad, your job will appear in the results if any of these key words are entered into the candidate’s query. This will help reach qualified candidates that may describe their skills with synonyms to those used in your ad content. Developing the Job Ad Content: Now that you have a template for the “perfect” Internet job ad, where are you going to get all this information? Many companies rely on “formal” job descriptions to create their job ads. Often times these were written years ago, are very broad, and cover several jobs that may fit under one general skill set. For example, a company may have a job description for a Senior Electrical Engineer. This job description could be generic enough to cover all senior electrical engineering positions while in reality one job may include electrical engineering design, one may focus on analysis, and another on verification and validation. Highlighting the unique differences between jobs requiring similar skills and education is critical to attracting “right fit” candidates. To do this you must talk to the hiring managers to find out the specifics of each job. Walk them through the template as a guide to uncover the essential information. Job ads are like any product advertisement. In order to attract “buyers,” they need to feature a product description, unique features and benefits, and a strong selling proposition. Developing a detailed job ad will accomplish this and help you turn those Internet recruiting WOES into WOWs.

Karen Osofsky ( is a co-founder of, an e-recruiting consulting firm that provides outsourced recruiting solutions to rapidly growing companies and new ventures. The firm provides a broad range of recruiting consulting, sourcing, screening, and strategy development services to help companies manage the front-end recruiting process. Tiburon Group is a Certified AIRS Solutions Partner.


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