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Published: Apr 19, 2024 10 min read

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In today’s competitive job market, employers are scrambling to fill vacant job openings with qualified candidates.

Over 3 million employers use ZipRecruiter, one of the largest and best job sites for employers, to find these candidates. But posting your open position isn’t the same as just casting a fishing line. To hook good candidates, you need to write a clear and detailed job posting.

We’ve boiled down the process of how to write a job posting to nine simple steps — from defining the job duties to selling your employer brand — so you can attract the top talent for your company.

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9 steps to create a job posting

Like every worthwhile business effort, writing an effective job posting takes some upfront work. Although you’ll eventually need to learn how to hire employees, the first step is creating a job advertisement that entices the right candidates.

Writing a great job posting is, ideally, a collaborative process between your talent acquisition staff, your compensation and benefits managers and the hiring manager for the position.

We’ve teamed up with ZipRecruiter to bring you an insider’s guide to writing the best job posting. If you are looking for more information on the topic, ZipRecruiter also offers a wide range of articles.

Step 1: Define the position you want to fill

Job candidates want to know what they’re getting into right off the bat. Providing a brief, clear description of the position you want to fill — a couple of sentences is ideal — at the very beginning of your job listing allows candidates to see immediately whether they might be a good fit for your open position. Many won’t read beyond the headline of your listing, so be sure your headline is transparent and to the point.

Avoid using unnecessary words in the opening sentences of your listing. Don’t say “seasoned marketing professional,” for example, when you could say “marketing manager” and still get your main point across.

Step 2: Keep the job post brief and easy to read

A study by LinkedIn found that candidates will spend an average of just 14 seconds reading a job post. The professional networking site also learned that shorter job posts — under 300 words — inspire the greatest number of responses.

Here are three tips for writing an effective job post:

  • Keep sentences as short as possible - This helps job seekers skim.
  • Get to the verb quickly - Focus on the action verb and cut the distance between the subject and the verb.
  • Use bullet points - List duties, requirements and qualifications so seekers can scan them.

Step 3: Use the right job title

The right job title for your position isn’t necessarily the one that will appear on the business card of your new hire.

Aim for a job title that communicates the level of expertise required, the basic function of the job and, if possible, one of your organization’s strategic goals. For example, the difference between a “Product Development Lead” and a “Director of Product Innovation” is that the latter will be tasked with coming up with new product ideas or product executions.

Step 4: Sell your company

Many “ICU nurse” positions include the same job responsibilities. The same is true of “sales manager,” “software engineer” and jobs across every industry. But candidates don’t just care about what they’ll be doing, they care about the company they’ll be working for.

So it makes sense to include text in your job listing that highlights the uniqueness of your workplace, such as the company’s mission, recognition it has received, position and reputation in your industry and other details that distinguish it from competitors.

If you can demonstrate your company’s outstanding growth, do it. This information suggests that employees will have opportunities to advance in their careers. If you’ve made a list of Top Places to Work, mention it. Such details as “woman-owned company” or “certified green company” can help you connect with candidates’ values. According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), company culture is the number one factor candidates consider when choosing an employer. In fact, it’s more important than salary.

Step 5: Include salary and benefits information

Job candidates may not mention it explicitly in their cover letters, but earning a good salary is a goal for virtually every employee. Higher salaries correlate with greater job satisfaction, in part because they make employees feel valued by their employers.

But even if you’re not offering top wages for your position, giving job candidates a salary range and key benefits information in your job posting works in your favor. Candidates scanning job listings are specifically seeking compensation information. Many will skip past all that talk about company culture and job responsibilities to find it — and, unfortunately, abandon your job ad if you don’t provide it.

Step 6: Explain the responsibilities of the position

The job you post may have many duties assigned to it. Your task in describing the job responsibilities is to prioritize the most important ones. Use bullet points so job seekers can scan them quickly.

Keep in mind that, if your job title is clear, it may automatically telegraph certain responsibilities to candidates with relevant work experience or those already on a career path toward the position you’re advertising. So you may want to keep your list of assumed responsibilities short and focus on the unique requirements of the role.

Step 7: List the required skills and qualifications

Don’t create an exhaustive list — just mention the must-haves. Do you need a candidate who’s fluent in a foreign language? Is an MBA or another degree or certification required?

Be careful not to repeat or rephrase what you’ve already covered in the Responsibilities section. Both sections will benefit from using bullet points instead of writing in paragraphs. That way, you’ll keep your listing brief and scannable.

Step 8: Provide additional information about the hiring process

The more transparent you are about your hiring process, the more candidates are likely to trust you out of the gate. Use the conclusion to offer details of how the hiring process will proceed after candidates apply.

Your company may get hundreds of inquiries from qualified candidates for your open job position, but your talent acquisition team can easily automate the process of responding to even those thumbs-down candidates. It’s the polite thing to do. And candidates would rather hear something from you than nothing at all.

Step 9: Choose a job posting site and share the job post

Choosing the right job board for your listing is key to smooth and speedy hiring. No matter if you’re a small business on the rise or a large corporation seeking competitive advantages, look for job posting sites for employers that have a wide reach and actively recruit qualified candidates for you.

You might be tempted to post your listing on a site that specializes in your industry — and that can’t hurt if you’re posting your position multiple places — but candidates in every industry tend to turn first to the leading job search sites.

When you evaluate job posting sites, think about how easy the service is to set geographic parameters for a job search. More job applicants are searching for remote work, so be sure the site provides an easy way to search for remote employees. Find out how much time and trouble it takes for a candidate to apply for a job. The best sites make it easy to complete the application process and upload cover letters and other supporting documents.

In addition to posting your open position on one or more job boards, make use of your social media pages to promote your listing and entice people to share it in their own networks. Candidates who follow your company on Facebook or X (formerly Twitter), for example, have already expressed an interest in your company. They may be waiting for an opportunity to join your team.

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Summary of Money’s Guide on How to Write a Job Posting

  • Create a post that’s short, direct and scannable.
  • Think carefully when you choose a job title for your post.
  • Distinguish your position by talking about your company culture.
  • Focus on the most important responsibilities, skills and qualifications, not just the obvious ones.
  • Provide a salary range, benefits information and any unique perks that come with the job. More candidates will take the time to read your entire listing if you do.
  • Include information on your recruitment process so candidates know what to expect.
  • Pick job boards that make applying for a position easy and efficient and actively recruit the most qualified candidates for you. ZipRecruiter sends jobs to 100+ job boards with one click.
  • Highlight your open position on your social media pages and make your post easily shareable across platforms and messaging media.

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