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A lot of my contacts work in HR, so I get to see a lot of online job ads. As with any kind of advertising, there is an art to writing them, and if you have to do it in a weird language like English, it occurred to me that a bit of help might be useful.

Less is More

Every word you write for work should have some value, and this counts double in an ad. Instead of wasting your first line on hyped-up cliches like “great opportunity”, grab your prey’s attention with a simple “We are hiring!”, or more specifically, “We need engineers /sales staff / open-minded people”. Location is the next big filter, so you should then specify that the work is “in Bilbao” (etc.), or that the job is “full-time WFH (Working from Home)”.

Selling the Post

Some recommend stopping there and forcing the reader to click for more information on your company website, but it might be better to add a bit more bait to the hook. One obvious question to answer is what successful candidates will “work on” or “work to do”, but people are interested in people, and it’s often helpful to add a little about WHO they’re going to “work with”. A phrase like “We need accountants to work on payrolls with small-business owners” gives a lot of interesting information before the reader even knows they’re reading.

Next Steps

Being highly-qualified professionals doesn’t stop us from being stupid, so once you have your victim’s attention, you need to tell them how to proceed. You can ask them to “Click on this link” (or “…on the link below”) to “fill in an application (form)”, or they can “Send an email (with a CV attached) to hrdept@acme.com”.

If you’re not worried about a CV, you mightprefer the email to come “with details of when we can call you”. If there are any other types of business writing that are hard for you in English, message me via LinkedIn or through https://secondlanguage.net/ and I’ll see what I can do!

In my next blog, I’ll be highlighting a useful trick you can do with comparatives to produce lean, punchy sentences like “The sooner you send it, the sooner we all get paid”, which you have to agree sounds cooler than asking for it “ASAP”…

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