Back to basics – 5 tips for graduate job advert content

If you’ve read the About page then you’ll know that I work for Graduate Prospects, a student and graduate careers website. Occasionally I see job ads (on our site and on many others) with adverts that must be under performing due to some basic mistakes being made. So I thought I’d write a short list of tips. They may seem obvious at first glance, but you would be surprised how many adverts fail to follow all of these guidelines.

1. Job title

Clearly name the position available and avoid using generic terms such as ‘Graduate opportunities’. If unsure, search online for similar jobs for inspiration. Also use the first paragraph of your advert to back up the job title, e.g. “Are you a Creative Designer with a Difference? Then we have a fantastic opportunity at an award-winning Digital Agency who are based in Central London and have major clients from across the globe”.

2. Salary

Ideally you should put a figure as opposed to ‘Competitive’ or ‘Negotiable’. Job seekers do not have the time or patience in their job search to seek out what they think is an appropriate salary for the job advertised. Even if the salary is below industry standards, your advert will still receive a greater number of responses where a salary is quoted. If using a salary bracket, try to make it as narrow as possible to give job applicants a realistic view of what they are applying for. For sales opportunities state the basic salary in addition to the on-target earnings (OTE). If you post ‘Up to £X’, consider that most applicants will expect no less than 85-90% of the figure quoted.

3. Location

Try to avoid ‘Nationwide’, this is too generic. If you genuinely have nationwide opportunities then you should run separate adverts for each region of the country. This will improve your response levels and help you to ascertain your brand presence in each region.

4. Company info vs. role info

Company information should be short and concise, use a link to your company website to provide further information. Use the majority of your advert copy to promote the job on offer – that is what the job seeker cares about the most. Generate interest in the opportunity with enthused content and be sure to include keywords from the desired person specification throughout. This will ensure that your advert appears at the top of relevant searches. Elements that will increase the number of applications include:

  • Career progression opportunities
  • Health package/gym membership
  • Flexible working hours
  • Performance related bonuses or perks
  • Company car or parking space

When posting your advert, ensure that you only select the job categories that are relevant. Although you may feel you will receive a better response by selecting every category, you will in fact just receive a higher number of irrelevant applications.

5. Clear call to action

Ensure that closing date, method of application and an outline of the application stages are all supplied. Be absolutely clear as to whether potential applicants need to apply online, submit a CV or complete an application form.

There are obviously more guidelines to add to this list, but next time you’re conducting a job search notice how many ads still fail to cover the basics. Add comments (naming and shaming isn’t encouraged but won’t be deleted) below:


2 thoughts on “Back to basics – 5 tips for graduate job advert content

  1. Really great tips and advice on writing job ads, agree will all your points Andy. I would suggest they are applicable for any level of job ad to be honest.

    It can sometimes be forgotten that the content needs to be targeted and attractive to the prospective audience, ie; suitable applicants, rather than written with what the recruiter / employer thinks is important, or just regurgitating a job description document.

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