Checklist for writing an appealing job advertisement

This checklist contains tips for writing an appealing job advertisement. 


  1. Introduction

    • Add a short and engaging introduction to the beginning of the job advertisement. This will either be provided by Recruitment or it will be improved when the text is edited, but your own input is always welcome.
    • Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes. What will they really want to know about the position? What do you feel is important?
    • Don’t ask too many questions in the job advertisement. An applicant would prefer to have details about the vacancy rather than ask themselves questions.
  2. Job title checklist

    1. Don’t forget to use the right search terms. Take advantage of the space that you have by possibly including an alternative job title.
    2. Check which search terms a candidate would use if they were searching for an interesting job in their own discipline.
    3. Double-check to see whether these are in-house terms that Radboud University would use, or if they really are the terms that a candidate would use in their own search. Use tools such as Google Trends or Indeed to conduct these checks.
    4. Incorporate similar market-based terms into your job title, and preferably use them at the beginning of the advertisement as much as you can.
    5. The job title should be clear but not too specific. Include an area of expertise (e.g., Functional Application Manager) but don’t narrow it down too far (e.g., Upgrades Department of the ICT Service Centre).
    6. Avoid using text in brackets in the job title.
    7. The job title should be short and simple and should not contain any information about the scale or the FTE or any abbreviations.
  3. Ideal candidate checklist (job description)

    1. It is advisable that you provide an accurate overview of the position in no more than three paragraphs (of no more than six lines, but ideally less than this).
    2. This overview does not need to be exhaustive or include all of the different tasks. What’s important here is that you give an idea of what matters most when it comes to the position and what the candidate can expect.
    3. Be specific where possible. For example, give answers to questions such as: What are the core tasks? What are the most challenging aspects of the job? With whom will the candidate be working?
    4. Any information that you were not able to fit into the job title can be included here.
    5. Structure the information. There is often information that can more appropriately be included in the details about the job requirements or the department.
    6. Remove any repetitions. Choose the specific section where the information should be included.
    7. If the text is still too long, you could alternatively use a list of tasks in bullet points, which should preferably include no more than six tasks (‘Your tasks will include ...’ in running text). This summary provides scope for any tasks that were not described in the preceding paragraphs. If everything has already been covered, you can dispense with this summary.
    8. Don’t start sentences with ‘you’ as this tends to make the text monotonous. A list of job requirements should preferably be included for readability.
    9. Avoid using self-contained, stand-alone sentences between blank lines.
  4. Job requirements checklist (profile)

    1. Start by listing job requirements in bullet points in complete sentences (list no more than eight requirements and restrict each requirement to two lines). 
    2. Make sure to include everything in the list (i.e., the list should not be preceded by a separate paragraph).
    3. It is advisable to start each sentence with ‘you’ or ‘your’ (you have, you are, you possess, you are able to use, etc. for readability) and end each one with a full stop.
    4. Start by mentioning hard criteria (level, education, experience), then move onto soft criteria (competences), and list these from most important to less important.
    5. When specifying the first requirement, don’t just say that you are looking for someone who has a higher vocational- or university-level education as your job advertisement won’t grab anyone’s attention.
    6. Where possible, try to provide specific content for a job requirement. For example: ‘You have good networking skills and know how to use the right contacts at the right time’ rather than just ‘You have a talent for networking’.
  5. ‘About us’ checklist (workplace)

    1. In a few short paragraphs, describe the department or division where the person will immediately start working (in no more than 1,500 characters, and preferably within one or two paragraphs of more than six lines, but ideally less than this).
    2. This description need not be exhaustive; what’s important here is that you give a good idea of what the candidate can expect. What are the major developments within the department? What has the highest priority? Who does the department work with? How many people work in the department and what are their job titles?
    3. Think from the candidate’s point of view. Which information will be of interest to them? What the candidate doesn’t need is a detailed account of how the department developed, which will ultimately result in an excessively long description.
    4. Make good use of online links and existing descriptions of organisational units.