Are your job advertisements doing the job?

image of newspaper clip for a job advertisement

Job Adverts Written to Anyone

Writing a job advertisement seems like it should be a straightforward project, right? Your business needs extra help, you know what you want them to do, so you write a job advertisement for a job board. Viola! You’re interviewing in no time!

While those seem like logical steps, clicking through Indeed and LinkedIn is telling me otherwise. We need to talk, folks. Your job adverts kind of stink now let’s talk about why.

A job ad should be hyper-focused on explaining what the role encompasses and be directly written for the individual you are looking to hire. Again, this seems straightforward, but it isn’t. Most of the jobs that I review are written from a boilerplate template (straight from the job board) and give very little information about the company, role, or who you’re looking for.

What to include

The Basics of Good Job Advertising

What we need is a solid list of information that your business needs to advertise. This is marketing after all, and you want to put your best foot forward. It’s also an exercise in sales. You are selling your company to potential employees to attract their talent. Their talent adds to your business capabilities.

The list first needs basic outlined, think of it as what, why, and where of your business. Then we discuss the who and how.

  1. What does your business do as a whole?
  2. Why does your business need help?
  3. Where will the employee be working?

Let’s start breaking these three points down.  

First, you need to explain in a paragraph the business section you’re hiring for. This provides context to potential employees and hopefully will spark their interest to apply. It also provides a bit more background about the job role that we’ll be getting to. Nothing in this section should be found on your website, the point is to outline the department and the function of that space.

Second, why does your business need the help? Providing a little bit of information helps a potential candidate weigh the role further while rounding out the context for the hire. This is the part where you’re discussing the longevity of the role. Will you be hiring a permanent employee, contract, or temporary? It’s also good to discuss if you’re open to independent contractors.

Third, you’ll need to discuss where a person will be working. Is the role a remote position or in an office?

While almost every job posting lists What, why, and whereas a single word bullet point, you can strive to write better descriptions. Remember, this is an advertisement, the entire point is to market your business and advertise it! Providing a little more detail, in the beginning, is going to save you time down the road.

Yes, You Need to List the Compensation

This brings me to the next part. This is where you lead with how you plan to compensate someone for the role. Compensation is imperative to a job advertisement. I’m not sure why people don’t put details on the ads. And don’t give me “because anyone will apply”. People will apply for jobs if they think they have a shot at getting them. You’re missing the mark if you are not spelling out compensation, including the base payment of salary information. I can tell you that I skipped these job listings routinely because I knew companies that did not list their salaries were out to lowball people.  

Everyone expects the basic compensation package to include medical, dental, and vision. If you’re looking to hire, you need to step up your game and provide a base salary, how much PTO/Sick Time, and the extras you plan to give people. Lay it all out on the line and explain it.  

Totally as a side note, I’ll just tell you to know, that if you give a salary range, everyone will ask for the top of the range. Here’s another freebie for you too, if the compensation you provided is too low, you’d better reevaluate the role.  

The Meat and Potatoes of Job Advertisements

Crack your knuckles cause we’re about to dig into the good stuff. Next, we need to discuss the how what, and who of the job advertising. 

This is the heavily detailed section of information that explains what the job is and who you want doing it.

I guess I need to talk about something that is continuously overlooked in job advertisements. When you write a blanket explanation that anyone can do, then expect anyone to apply. This means you are not advertising to your target audience. Which is a giant waste of time and money.

Breaking this down to basics:

  1. What responsibilities and authorities does the role encompass?
  2. How will a person be completing the role?  
  3. What tools does a person need to know to complete the job functions?
  4. How competent must they be to correctly do the job?
  5. Who is the ideal candidate that you are writing to?

I’d like to point out that while number five on the list is last, this is the theme for the entire job advertisement. “Who is your ideal candidate?” is the reason you’re advertising and that is your target audience. 

Throughout this blog post, I’ve asked you to consider this advertising and sales. This means that the writing you are doing is both technical in nature and persuasive.  

Who you are writing to needs to be considered. Moving forward, you need to provide a detailed outline of their responsibilities and the authority they’ll have in carrying out the role. This means that there’s an expectation for an experience level as a guide with additional competencies that also need to be examined.  

Lastly, how a person is expected to complete the work must be explained. What tools does your company possess? This means providing details for software, hardware, equipment, etc. 

Bringing this information to the forefront narrows the pool of individuals that will feel competent to apply.

To Advertise or To Hope, that is the Question

Ideally, you are looking for a single person in a sea of candidates. How do you want to spend your time? 

Do you want to write a detailed job advertisement and candidate description? Or do you prefer interviewing the applicants to a generic job ad that might get you the right fit? Which is more valuable to you? Should you spend time fleshing out the ideal candidate on paper? Or bringing in multiple candidates for interviews? I know which I’d pick.

If you need help writing job advertisements the right way, feel free to reach out to me. I’ve spent a lot of years as a hiring manager and building competent teams. You can reach me at info@atomicdumpling.com

Anna Pilette

Anna Pilette

Owner & Project Director, Atomic Dumpling LLC.

About a million years ago, I was in the Navy. After, I worked for a bunch of companies and eventually realized that their business practices left a lot to be desired. Today, I’m helping small businesses and freelancers avoid mistakes and build their own brands.  You can follow me on TikTok or where.  You can also reach out for help info@atomicdumpling.com

How To Write An Applicant Tracking System Resume

african American woman sitting at a computer working on her resume

Would you be gobsmacked if I told you that you can apply online without retyping your resume 50 times?

Yes, that is correct.  It is possible to apply online one time.  I bet you’re wondering how.  Well pull up a chair and let me delight and amaze you.

First, and foremost, it needs to be laid out what the problem is that you’re running into with online application.  Now, I’m talking about the type of online application that requires you upload your resume, then fill in multiple pages of information.  Not the once and done upload.

Applicant Tracking Systems

It’s soul-crushing to upload a resume online, only to see that it does it incorrectly or leaves everything blank.  There’s a reason this is happening to you.  They system they are using is called an Applicant Tracking System.  Now I talked about this in my TikTok videos and included instructions on how to approach online applications.  Here’s where I’m going to lay out for you the process and reasoning.

Firstly, you need to know what these systems are.  Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are Human Resource (HR) software suites that allow business to automate their hiring process, track candidates, and match candidate profiles to job openings.

Next, you need to understand how it works.  Now there are several ways these ATS systems work so here’s the simplest explanation.  Basically, these software systems allow business to source candidates, post vacancies on job boards, publish vacancies to social sites, etc.  The ATS also creates a candidate pipeline, by tracking incoming resumes, allowing background screening, and providing tools for HR for the hiring process.

Lastly, it also automates the hiring process by creating everything from offer letters to streamlining the onboarding process.  This is supposed to be a means for making recruiting easier for corporate entities and create a process for hiring that is mostly automated.

Does it work for business?  It sure does.

Does it work for you?  Probably not all that well if you’re reading this.

How To Create A Resume For An ATS

I referenced an article a hot second ago What’s an ATS-Friendly Resume? And How to Write One, that the author, Amanda Augustine, does a great job with the information, but leaves out a few details I think are important.  So let’s dive into how I write the resumes to get everything to jive together.

Creating A Magical Resume

Let me also make the following statement that will probably hurt someone’s eyes.  The original document is a text (*.txt) file.  This is how I begin composing a resume.  If you’re on PC a great free tool for this is Notepad++.  For Mac, I use Text Edit or Google Docs.  Is it basic as hell?  Yup, it’s basic and it works for what you’re about to read.

Text Document Setup

This is pretty straight forward.  You’ll need the font set to either Time New Roman or Ariel.  The font point to be 12.  That’s it!

Now we also need to set some conditions about this document.  You’re very limited to what can go into this document.  That includes character types.  You’ll want to stick with simple commas, periods, and hyphens.  Do not use the following:

  • Symbols
  • Equations
  • Characters other than , or .
  • Tabs

You’ll also want to restrict the document to 2 pages between 750 to 1000 words.  This is important because you’re text is restricted for entry into the ATS.

The ATS Resume Layout

At the top of the document, you’ll want your contact information:

  • Name:
  • Phone:
  • Address:
  • Email:
  • Webpage:
  • Portfolio:

Use the lead and colon.  This will tell the software what is going into each slot.  No, it will not add those words to your information online. So here is what it should look like.

Name: Jane Roe

Phone: 123-456-7890

Address: 123 Write Way, Portland, Oregon, 97201

Email: jane.roe@gmail.com

Webpage: https://awesome.org

Portfolio: https://my.stuff.com

Since you’re using a text file, there’s not going to be a header or footer, which makes this much easier to remember.  You also are not going to have any graphics, charts, or tables in your text file by default.

Importing information into an ATS works on text parsing.  If you haven’t guessed the ATS is looking for specific information in an explicit order.  Therefore, we need to lay out the next section with specific orders as well.  Those are:

  • Summary
  • Work Experience
  • Education
  • Skills

You’ll be writing the sections the same way you did for your contact information.  However, you’ll need to skip a line as follows:

SUMMARY:

Hire me because I’m cool and I know stuff…

WORK HISTORY:

Company Name, Month Year
Position
Description of company

  • Bullet points – do not put punctuation at the end

EDUCATION:

School, City, State, ______________ of ___________ (BA, BS, MA, MS, etc.) Degree (must be fully spelled out without punctuation), Discipline, Month Year – Month Year

SKILLS:

Comma-delimited, must be annotated in work history, and know this section is actually an option for the ATS, so you probably will not need it.

Get the template for free here!

The Big Conclusion

Here are some important points to note when you are laying out your ATS version of your resume.  Do not expect that this is going to look cool like your finalized PDF.  That’s not the point of this version of your resume.  It’s designed to get your information into a text parsing format and get it into the boxes correctly.

You’ll use your longer version that’s prettier for upload at the end when you can add additional documents.  It’s important to remember you’ll be scored and matched based on the content of the ATS version, so make sure you get the details in where they count.

Need help with building your resume?  Contact me at info@atomicdumpling.com

Anna Pilette

Anna Pilette

Owner & Project Director, Atomic Dumpling LLC.

About a million years ago, I was in the Navy. After, I worked for a bunch of companies and eventually realized that their business practices left a lot to be desired. Today, I’m helping small businesses and freelancers avoid mistakes and build their own brands.  You can follow me on TikTok or where.  You can also reach out for help info@atomicdumpling.com