job description peanutsHere’s the bad news: 99% of job descriptions are painfully long and boring.

Here’s the good news: 99% of job descriptions are painfully long and boring.

Since so few companies invest in job descriptions, there is so much room to stand out. All candidates – whether passive or active – will read your job description at some point in the hiring process. Why not use it strategically to grab and keep the attention of the candidate you’re really after?

We’re all for experimenting with new formats to bring your job descriptions to life. But sometimes all you have at your disposal is the keyboard in front of you.

Here are three text-only descriptions in the 1% and why we love them:

1. GitHub

 click on the image to see a lager version

Job descriptions GitHub

2. Meetup 

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Job descriptions for Meetup

3. EverythingMe 

 click on the image to see a larger version

Job description everythingme

 

What do these job descriptions have in common? They are all:

Short.

You don’t see big blocks of text or endless lists of jargon – all the more important as candidates are increasingly reading on their phones. Long and boring is easy; brief and punchy takes work. Here’s how to shorten your job description:

        1. Cut the long paragraph about your company.

That’s why you have a careers site and LinkedIn Company and Career Pages. Candidates will learn about you elsewhere, so keep your company overview to about two sentences.

        2. Ruthlessly delete buzzwords.

Write simple sentences. Just like this. Use bullets. If you have legal requirements, set them apart at the end.

Conversational.

Whether your culture is serious or laid back, the person on the other end of your description is just that – a person. So write as if you were speaking to him. Here’s how to lighten up your job description:

        3. Replace ‘the ideal candidate’ with ‘you.’

Be direct and personal so that your top candidate thinks, “Yes! That’s me.” Read it out loud: if you wouldn’t say the words, don’t use them.

        4. Change the sub-headings.  

Eyes glaze over standard job description headings such as “Skill requirements” and “Job Qualifications.” Breathe some life into them so candidates stay on the page. It can be as simple as, “You’re good at:”

Packed with personality.

You get a good sense of what it’s like to work for the companies above and the kinds of people who fit in. Remember, your goal is for the right talent to apply and the wrong talent to pass. Here’s how to add character to your job description:

        5. Describe a day in the life.

Paint a vivid picture of the nitty-gritty and you’ll help candidates self-select, saving time for all. Get input from the hiring manager, but also from those who’ve held and worked with the position.

        6. Talk problems and projects.

Great candidates want to make an impact, and they don’t shy away from challenges. The more specific you can be, the better. Don’t sugarcoat the not-so-fun parts of the job.

Still stuck? For more inspiration, download our free ebook: 7 Tricks for an Irresistible Job Description.  If you just need a break from it all, check out the U.S. President’s job description and count your lucky stars that you don’t have that job.

Photo credit: Peanuts comic strip by Charles Schulz

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Job description tricks