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How to place an advert

Top Ten Copy Writing Tips

The people you need, when you need them.

Keep it brief - an advert is just a snapshot of a company and the role.  Don't try to pack in everything.  Concentrate on the essential criteria and key points that will influence people to apply.  Avoid long, elaborate sentences - read your copy out loud.  If it sounds long winded it probably is.

Don't state the obvious - all finance directors will be "highly numerate".  If it goes without saying, don't say it.

Structure the advert - company, job, candidate is a good formula for ensuring you have included all the essential information.

Unique selling point - What makes this post special?  What makes it stand out from all the others?  Career progression, flexible working hours, suitable for returners to work...?

Clear Job Titles - does the job title or headline clearly define the audience you are addressing?  Always think about it from the candidates' point of view.  Does it convey what the job entails; would someone from outside Local Government know what it means?  The person you seek may ignore the advert because the job title falls outside their search criteria.

Speak to your ideal applicant - imagine you are speaking to the applicant one-to-one.  Use "you" and "we" rather than "the successful applicant".  Start building a rapport.  Try to write in language that will appeal to that type of individual.  Avoid jargon that may not be understood or may confuse potential applicants.  Imagine you are describing the job to a friend in the pub.

Identify the purpose of the role - do not just regurgitate the job description and person specification.  Focus on the overall purpose of this role and any interesting features; do not get bogged down in the minutiae.  What has this job got to offer that others do not?  Pick out points of difference.

Substantiate claims - avoid superlatives and flowery adjectives.  "Invested heavily in training" becomes "we invested £2m on staff development last year".  "Fast growing service" or "exceptional prospects" are much more meaningful when supported by facts.  In general, try to avoid recruitment hype.

Illustrate candidate criteria - many adverts state "good communication and interpersonal skills required", have you met anyone who will admit to being bad at these things?  Try to demonstrate why such qualities are necessary; relate it to the job role.  For example; "Your effective negotiating and interpersonal skills will enable you to build successful relationships with suppliers".

Include salary, benefits and location details - the absence of this information will invariably lead to candidates not applying.

If you are unable to find what you are looking for in these pages please email firstop@devon.gov.uk or call on 01392 383000.

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