How to Write an Academic Job Advert that Gets Applications

2 min read · By Academic Positions · Published 2 months ago

Writing a good job advert is the basis for successful recruitment. Your job advert is like a door to new possibilities. You want to convince qualified candidates to open it up and come through. Although you can share the advert widely, if it’s not appealing and poorly written, potential candidates will pass by without another thought. 

You may have the most amazing job opening, with world class researchers and award-winning facilities, but if you can’t entice candidates to apply, it won’t matter. Writing an appealing job advert is the first step to finding the most qualified candidates. 

Here are a few tips to help you write a compelling and appealing job advert that will get you top applicants. 

Take The Time to Craft a Good Title

The title of your open position is arguably the most important part of your job advert. Just as you might keep walking past a shop with nothing interesting or relevant in the window, a misleading or overly-vague title won’t get potential candidates to click through to learn more. 

Your job title should clearly state the position (“PhD in engineering” is better than “PhD student”) but not try to do too much more. Anything too creative can be confusing. Keep it SEO friendly by limiting yourself to 70 characters and avoid cramming in unnecessary keywords. 

Explain the Job Accurately

Once you get people to click through to read the job description, make sure you’ve taken the time to write a descriptive yet concise advert. If you find you’re getting applicants with mismatched skills or experience, carefully review how the job description is written. You may need to revise by changing or adding more specifics about the expectations of the position or your preferred skills and experiences.

There is a delicate balance between brevity and description. You want to include just the right amount of information about the job. Sometimes this line might not be clear until you start to receive a few CVs. Aim to be descriptive but realistic about what the job entails and your ideal candidate. 

Remove Gendered Language

Ensuring you are reaching the most qualified group of candidates means trying to eliminate any kind of bias or gendered language. Gender language isn’t just about using inclusive pronouns. Universities should be cognizant of the adjectives they use in job adverts as studies have shown certain adjectives (like decisive and determined) to be more masculine than others, and therefore less inclusive.

To further appeal to a diverse pool of candidates, consider including a few unique benefits your university provides. Whether it’s scientific freedom, funding, professional development opportunities, or work/life benefits, think about the big draws for marginalized groups. 

Express Commitment to Diversity 

Explicitly stating your university’s commitment to diversity is another powerful way to appeal to a broad range of candidates. Although it may seem obvious, reassuring job seekers with a clear and definitive statement will show candidates you’re serious.

Many younger academics especially, are looking for universities that value diversity and a sense of social responsibility. They want to work for an institution that understands people of all backgrounds and identities make for a richer, more robust community. 

Don’t rely on a standard template

It can be tempting to simply replace one PhD position with another but taking the time to write a fresh job advert can make a big difference in attracting the best fit. Searching job boards can be monotonous. A carefully written advert allows you to really think about how to target the exact skills and experiences you’re looking for. 

Ditch the standard templates in favor of an original advert to find your ideal match. 

Think of your job advert as the first impression for academics. The more appealing your advert is, the more qualified candidates you’ll have from which to choose. 

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Download your free academic job advertising checklist!

The recruitment process months before the job advertisement is published. To have the best chance at finding the perfect match, use our comprehensive checklist to make sure you don't miss any vital steps before, during, or after the application period.

Download

Download your free academic job advertising checklist!

The recruitment process months before the job advertisement is published. To have the best chance at finding the perfect match, use our comprehensive checklist to make sure you don't miss any vital steps before, during, or after the application period.

Download
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