Many recruiters think they need to use long sentences and archaic words in order to sound ‘professional’, or ‘corporate’, or to appeal to ‘senior people’.

This writing crime is often committed by younger recruiters who imagine that older people prefer a more formal style of communication. (I’m older. And I can tell you that we don’t).

Overly formal writing results in dense prose and convoluted paragraphs which are difficult for readers of any age to understand.

If you think about it, you’ll realise that senior professionals in corporates are probably even busier than the rest of us. They are even more appreciative of simple language that communicates clearly and respects their time.

It means you should use simple language in your job ads.

Note that the correct (‘professional’) writing style for marketing and advertising has always been more informal than it is for academic writing. For example, in advertising and marketing copy, it’s almost compulsory to start a sentence with ‘And’ or ‘But’.

We’re not saying it’s OK to make grammatical mistakes. But we are giving you permission to break some of the more archaic rules of grammar in your job ads.

Here’s how.

Imagine you are talking to a candidate about the role and write down exactly what you would say to them, in the way you would say it. Or, rather than typing, try talking about the role to a colleague who writes down what you say. Or dictate your ad into the Notes app on your phone and email it to yourself to edit.

This approach will result in conversational copy that’s easier to read and an ad that is more likely to be effective.

Just write as you speak.

That is, when you’re out and about on your best behaviour. At a conference maybe. Or meeting your prospective parents-in-law. Not when you’re falling drunkenly out of the pub on a Friday night.


Hiding your own insecurities behind overly formal language.

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