Job Posting Tips Recruiting

7 Steps to Write a Better Job Posting

6 seconds. That’s approximately how long most recruiters will spend reviewing an applicant’s resume. Why only 6 seconds? Because you’re busy! Even using niche job boards like, you have hundreds of resumes to review and you need to identify the best candidates quickly so you know where to focus your efforts. But you know who else is busy? Passive candidates. They’re busy exceeding sales quotas and making money for their current employers.

But even passive candidates are curious about the job market. According to a recent survey, half of our members are currently employed in medical sales jobs. They receive job alerts on their mobile devices, and if a headline is enticing enough, they will click through to scan the details. But how long do you think they’ll spend reviewing your posting? 6 seconds? Sure, that sounds about right.

At we dispense a lot of advice to job seekers about how to write a resume that will get your attention in those first 6 seconds. But occasionally, job posters need to be reminded of how to get a candidate’s attention too. Because if you want to attract the type of candidates who deserve more than 6 seconds of your time, your job posting is going to have to earn more than 6 seconds of theirs.

We’ve put together these 7 tips to make sure your job posting is worthy of top candidates’ attention:

  1. Make the Headline “Sing.” So you’re no Don Draper, but you know what will grab a candidate’s attention, right? Don’t get creative with the job title itself (you want to be clear about what type of position it is), but do think of a way to stand out with the headline. What distinguishes this position from the thousands of other sales rep jobs that came up in their search? The target market? The compensation package? Your brand? Highlight it in the headline.
  2. Introduce Yourself. Before you jump into the details of the job, briefly introduce your company. Use a strong statement about your brand to make them want to know the details of your job. If possible, fill out a company profile to attach to each of your postings. After reading it, candidates should be lining up to join your organization.
  3. Use Keywords. Do you know what terms candidates are using to search for jobs like yours? Be sure to use those terms – all of them – in your job posting. You may be advertising for a pharma rep, but if your candidate is doing a keyword search for drug rep jobs, your posting may not come up. Be sure to include all applicable terms in the posting.
  4. Be Brief. Those long blocks of text that make it difficult for you to scan a resume? Well, they make it difficult for a busy candidate to scan a job posting too. A job posting does not need to be a complete job description listing every duty and potential task. Assume your audience knows the basic duties of a sales rep, and highlight the job’s distinguishing features and requirements.
  5. Be Nice. Of course you don’t want resumes from unqualified applicants. But if your job posting is written primarily to dissuade unqualified applicants, you may be putting off the qualified ones too. Don’t be so focused on deterring the wrong candidates that you forget to “woo” the right ones.
  6. Include a Must List. Do include bullet points of absolute prerequisites for the position. Yes, there will be candidates who ignore this section, EVEN IF YOU USE ALL CAPS, but this is the place to discourage unqualified applicants.
  7. Make it Easy to Apply. Easy for the candidate that is. It may be easier for you to send them to your career site, but the candidates you want are busy, so don’t make them jump through hoops to apply. If you don’t want to use the one-click application feature, give them your direct email address and ask them to send you a resume. If you never read cover letters, tell them not to bother sending one.

It’s easy to forget that the job posting is essentially a marketing tool, and should be crafted in a way that appeals to your target audience and incites them to apply. Top candidates don’t have an unlimited amount of time to peruse job postings, so be concise as you highlight what makes your job appealing. If you don’t “wow” them in those first 6 seconds, it’s unlikely you’ll get the opportunity to be “wowed” by them.

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