How to write perfect job ads – introduction

When I started writing for MYOB several years ago, the first topic I covered was recruitment advertising (job ads). I did this because job ads are my forte. I’ve written thousands of the buggers, and can count on one hand those that didn’t work.

Anyway, I wrote two parts of what was to be a ten-part series, but never got round to the other eight. Despite this, the first two parts attracted many readers and much interest.

It’s time to complete the series for those who started reading it (and to introduce it to those who didn’t). We won’t run all ten pieces on the trot. Rather, we’ll intersperse them with other blog posts so you get plenty of variety along the way.

Okay, let’s rock!

People power

Finding and keeping the right people is one of the main dramas of running a business.

Without a good team, you can neither function properly nor grow.

If you plan to advertise for people, you have one chance to get it right.

By describing what I’ve learned over the past 25 years, I plan to solve your recruitment and retention dramas.


The power of perfection

Two things comprise a job ad: information (the story) and presentation (how you tell it). Get both right and your ad will:

  • Reduce administration by delivering only appropriate candidates.
  • Save money by ensuring you use less media and advertise only once.
  • Deliver the right person, who loves the job and does it well.
  • Make you and your organisation look good.

Job ads have two functions. As well as filling vacancies, they’re branding opportunities. Every ad either builds or erodes your ‘employer brand’.

The organisation with the best brand wins the ‘war for talent’.

Are you with me?

Recipe for success

From job ads to billboards to radio spots, all good ads follow the advertising code known as AIDA:

  • Attention.  Make people notice you for the right reason.
  • Interest.  Describe something they want to know about.
  • Desire.  Make them want what you’re offering.
  • Action.  Inspire them to apply.

Amazingly, job ads with all four parts of AIDA are rare. That’s why you often see brand-killing phrases like ‘readvertised’ or ‘previous applicants need not apply’.

The following steps will make AIDA work for your job ads. In the next ten articles, I’ll explain each of these elements in detail:

  1. Briefing
  2. Audience
  3. Structure
  4. Headlines
  5. Benefits
  6. Language
  7. Filters
  8. Call to action
  9. Formatting and pictures
  10. Follow up

Over to you

Meanwhile, I’d love to hear how your staffing situation is (or isn’t).

If I know what’s happening in your world, I can skew future articles to suit.

Does any of these problems sound familiar?

  • You have a vacancy, but the pay is crap, so no-one wants the job.
  • You need to write an ad, but the page (and your mind) are a complete blank.
  • Your job ads are answered by:
    • Too many people
    • The wrong people
    • No people
  • People you hire never turn out as good as they seemed on paper and at interview.
  • Just as you get a new hire up to speed with your business, they leave.

Perhaps you’re suffering some other drama.

Maybe you’re too scared to hire in the current climate.

Whatever your problem, you can halve it by sharing it with us.

So apply yourself now!

READ: How to write perfect job ads – Part 2: Audience

  • Congratulations on the beautiful fresh clean look –
    And love your rebirth starting with unfinished business :)

  • I must say I’m impressed by this swish new layout. Nice and clean (and not in your face with branding). Hats off to your IT boffins, MYOB! :)

  • Terrific blog re-brand! I’ve followed Paul’s advice and training on writing recruitment ads, and it sure does work.

  • Thanks to you all for your lovely comments! We’re really happy with the new site – it’s about time that we gave the wonderful Paul a nice clean new layout to display his wonderful words in!

  • Thank you, Linda. If only someone would give me a similar kick in the hoojar with my damn novel!

    Onya, Ad! :)