How to Give Your Job Announcements Legs

I run a small, free, opengov jobs list with about 700 participants. On the public-facing side, it’s a Google group that anyone can join to learn about or post jobs. On the back-end, I monitor 50+ organizational websites to alert me when a new job is posted. Most organizations are truly awful in how they post their job announcements.

Here are some tips to help people find your announcement:

  • Include an RSS feed for your job announcements. This shouldn’t be a feed for your entire site, but one just for your jobs page. Make sure it includes basic info about the job. (When you don’t, usually I will try to scrape your site and build an RSS feed, using feed43, which is time consuming and doesn’t always work right. Most people won’t bother.)
  • Add email alerts. Yes, email is old school (… to millennials), but unless you are Google, people won’t be checking your site every day for a job announcement. Having an alert go out to potential employees is good practice.
  • Have a stand-alone jobs page. The best approach? Publish jobs at Yourorg.com/jobs. That makes it really easy to find. Please include a link on your front page with the word jobs. People will go to your site and hit control+f and look for the word jobs. Make it easy. (Please don’t make it an image as a link to the jobs page — use the word “jobs” that shows up when people type control+f in their browser.) Keep the page up even when you have any announcements — that way we know that it’s a live page and it doesn’t break our alert tools. (You could post “no announcements” if you wish.”)
  • Don’t put other other stuff on the jobs page. I know people like to play around in the footers, or have cute update bars that show the latest organizational news on every page. Please don’t do that on the jobs page. For one, I monitor the page to see if anything changes, using changedetection.com. I see every single time you muck around with that webpage. Keep it clean.
  • Use separate links (and a separate URL) for each job. It makes it much easier to link to that specific job. This will help me share the information. Please don’t recycle URLs. (You can increment them, or use the date, or whatever.)
  • Include the date you posted the job. Some people list their jobs in the order that they were posted — whether chronological or reverse chronological. I can’t tell which is which, and I don’t really want to. Other websites seem to have no logical order. I don’t know what’s fresh and what’s old. Publish the date it is posted alongside (or inside) the announcement. If you’re re-posting the job, that’s okay, just add the re-post date. It’s probably best to include the newest job at the top of the list.
  • Publish the job announcement as HTML, not (just) a PDF. If I want to copy and paste the text of your announcement to send to a friend (or a list), a PDF is a nightmare to use. Have a text version of the announcement. Don’t make me download something. PDFs are hard to monitor.
  • Include all the info an applicant needs. This is less an issue for me, but make sure you include everything an applicant needs to apply. When does the announcement close? What materials must be submitted in an application? Who does it go to? What your organization’s name? What’s the salary range? Etc.

Each of these recommendations are easy to implement and will give your job announcements greater reach. Nowadays, it’s very common for special listservs (like mine) to share job announcements. Many lists have formed around groups that are underrepresented in certain fields or otherwise lack a central touchstone. Make it easy for us to help you find the employee you’re looking for — and for them to find you.

I should add, as a plug: if you’re trying to hire someone to perform open government work, whether you’re working for (international, federal, state, or local) government, a civil society organization, a technology organization, or something else, please join my opengov jobs list and send along any announcements.

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