When writing a job ad, pretend you’re a stand up comedian.

One of the subtleties about recruitment advertising that a lot of recruiters miss is the idea that when writing a job ad (or an email or Inmail) their first objective should be to get people to want to read it.

Basically, that means doing one of two things:

1. Write an opening sentence that explicitly relates to a key benefit that’s most likely to resonate with the target candidate.

2. Write an opening sentence that implicitly relates to a key benefit that’s most likely to resonate with the target candidate.

The 2nd one is more difficult (as it requires a level of creativity) but no less effective, when done well. It’s called a ‘pattern disruptor’; in other words, something the reader isn’t expecting to read and so will keep reading, if only out of curiosity.

Then, once you’ve caught their attention, what they read next needs to be more detail on that opening benefit, plus information on a few other benefits. And by “benefits”, I mean those things that are more likely to motivate someone to want to quit their job and do this one. Or at least want to find out more about it.

So, if your job ad is 350-400 words long, the first 120-150 need to convince the reader that your job vacancy is worth finding out more about.

If you’ve ever been to an open-mic night to see up-and-coming stand-up comedians, you’ll see a similar dynamic at play.

They don’t save their best material till the end because they know their audience may have turned off by then, or worse, gone to the bar.

So, they always open with what they think are their best jokes, because they know the sooner they get people to start laughing, the more likely they’ll stay for the full 5 minutes.

It’s the same with a job ad.

If you can’t get your target candidates to read beyond the opening few sentences, chances are they’ll get bored and just skim read the rest, or worse, click away.

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