Optimise your job ads for search

A great job advertisement stands in between a pool of quality candidates or a pool of bad ones.

Your aim is for the right candidates to find your ad. That ad must then grab their attention, create interest and persuade them to apply.

It is straightforward to say but challenging to achieve. In the era of digital job search, competition for high visibility (or ranking) is fierce and freshness rules. So on free-to-post sites like Jora, advertisers are sometimes tempted to repost every few days or to post several ads for the same position to try to overcome the pitfalls of a poorly written, poorly optimised job ad. It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that more is better.

So, what is an optimised job ad is and how you can successfully post one?

An optimised ad is copy written with your ideal candidate in mind and taking into account the rules of the delivery channel and platform. Our job at Jora is to list the most relevant ads for the candidate search. Authoritative ads, ads containing information valued by the candidates, have higher chances of ranking at the top of search results.

Here are 5 basic rules to help you optimise your job ad for search on Jora:

1. Explore Candidate Intent

Put yourself in your candidate’s shoes and examine their intent - think about how your ideal candidate searches for jobs - most jobseekers use keywords to run searches. Keywords can be skills, competencies, roles, work conditions and preferences.

Make a list of candidate skills, abilities and experience matching your position description; the list should be made of words your candidate would use. Those are your keywords.

Employees currently holding the position you will be advertising may prove to be of great help to create the keyword list.

2. Do Competitive Keyword Research

Run searches at Jora for the role you are advertising using those keywords and study the ads in the search result page. Then, look at what ads rank first. They will help you uncover the reasons for attaining high visibility. If the ads coming up on search results are not descriptive of the type of role you are advertising, change your keyword and start again.

Make a note of new keywords you might have missed. Pay attention to the overall message of the example ads you find.

3. Think About the Abstract When Writing Your Ad

The abstract, that little snippet of text in search results, is key to gaining candidate clicks to read the whole job description. That click will take your ideal candidate a step closer to apply.

The abstract is 150-157 characters long, the equivalent to a line and a half of text. It is automatically built taking into account the most salient features of the ad. So make it count.

Write a mix of eye-catching and keyword rich ad copy. Your sentences should be short. Include attention-grabbing words and a persuasive call-to-action. Stay away from clickbait, empty promises or exaggerations. Your ad should have:

4. Language Matters

The tone and words you choose to write the ad in are deal makers or breakers. Sell your vacancy as you sell a product or service. Speak directly to your candidate (e.g. using ‘you will’, ‘we will’), empathise with them. Use humour if it defines your organisation or better still, tell a story.

Use appropriate terms whether you advertise managerial or labourer positions. Stay away from jargon and cliche expressions like ‘thought leader’ or ‘social innovation’. They have no real meaning and create communication barriers.

And use your keywords!

You can always test and change the copy once it is published by using the link we send you in the confirmation email.

5. Master the Job Ad Title

As we pointed out in our article Posting a Job for Free on Jora, ‘job title(s) have the highest priority in returning search results’.

Choosing your job ad title should be your last step. It should always, but not necessarily only, include the name of the advertised position.

Use descriptive words over vague ones, even if they are not part of the formal position title. Place the most important keywords at the beginning of the sentence.

Always keep job titles under 52 characters long, or you risk it being automatically truncated. Be mindful not to use abbreviations for the sake of brevity as your ad may lose relevance and end up at the bottom of search results.

Use vertical bars (|), hyphens (-) or dashes (/) as term separators as they attract visual interest and help with title structure. But do not overuse them - they can easily transform a clean, catchy title into a convoluted one.

Just note that if you cannot keep your title within the character length, we still consider all of it for the purposes of ranking and listing job ads.

Use of keywords and variations will help this job appear in relevant searches.

Finally, don’t try to trick the search algorithm. Your ad(s) will run the risk of falling into our spam list and fail to make it into the search results altogether. At Jora we take quality seriously.

Optimising a job ad is a work of art. It takes time and practice but the effort pays off. Always.

We will revisit tips to optimise your job ads in future articles. Stay tuned.