7 Crucial Tactics for Writing a Wildly Successful Job Description

Lauren Holliday
Oct 24, 2016 · 5 min read

49.7 seconds.

According to the Ladders, that’s the amount of time job seekers spend assessing a job description before dismissing it as a poor fit.

Most people I see pump out these horrible job descriptions that are meatier than their blog posts (that’s not a good thing). There’s a laundry list of unorganized requirements, descriptions, duties and required skills — sometimes as bullet points, but most of the time, as long, run-on paragraphs.

In this post, I’ll share my seven tactics for crafting a wildly successful job description for writers.

Done right, these tactics will quickly land you higher caliber content marketers.

Who am I to teach you about writing job descriptions?

Well, for starters, I’m a full-stack marketer. My writing has appeared in places like, Business Insider, The Economist and Fortune, to name a few.

And before starting my own highly curated marketplace of freelance content marketers, I was the career director at HubSpot’s Inbound.org, where I increased the number of job applications by 15 percent MoM — by helping employers craft better job descriptions. In my best month, I increased the number of job applications by 76 percent.

Now that you hopefully trust me, I’ll give you the seven tactics for crafting wildly successful job descriptions for writers.

1. A job description should have a simple job title.

According to the study mentioned above, the job title is the first thing that candidate’s scan to see if the job is a good fit for them. Since we’re talking about writers, your job title should include one of the following words: writer, ghostwriter, blogger or editor.

In addition to the above, you should have a word or two that describes the type of writer you’re looking for. For instance, if I was hiring a writer for WordPress blog, I’d write a title, like “WordPress Writer” or “WordPress Blogger.”

Remember, keep it simple, stupid (KISS).

2. A job description should tell me about the person I’ll be working with.

The next thing job seekers review on a job description is about the company hiring. If your company isn’t a big deal yet, then lure in writers with information (a link would be great) about the internal stakeholder the writer will work with during their time with you.

I also highly recommend including a non-gmail email address that applicants can apply to. It’s scary to spend a lot of time applying to a job, only to never know whether the company received your application or not. So give them an email they can reach out to follow up with and apply to in the first place.

Want an expert to write your job description for you?, Check out my offering here.

3. A job description should include a budget range.

This is the single most complained about issue from job seekers that I hear. They want to know if the job is worth their time applying to, and most of them will just leave your job description, when it gives them zero insight into the job’s pay.

You might be worried that your budget isn’t high enough for high caliber writers or maybe you’re afraid that listing your range will hurt your bargaining power. Whatever the case, I recommend reframing your thinking.

Your budget is your budget. You get what you pay for. There’s no way around this. You’re not going to lure in high caliber writers by not providing a range because they either know why you’re not providing a range, and/or they’re going to apply and waste your time once you tell them your budget anyway.

By providing a budget range, you’ll receive a lot more high quality applications.

If you’re not sure what to pay, check out Contently’s freelance rates’ database.

4. A job description should be short and sweet.

According to the same Ladders study, even when subjects determined that an opening was appropriate for them, reviewing the actual requirements for the job appeared to be a low priority — results showed they spent only 14.6 seconds, on average, in that section.

So lose the requirements. Job seekers don’t care about them anyway.

Candidates spent the longest time (25.9 seconds) reading the job description itself. This tells me to strategically format my description in either a short bullet point format or in a few sentences — each as its own paragraph.

5. A job description should not focus on requirements.

As I just mentioned, job seekers don’t care about the requirements, and you shouldn’t have a laundry list of requirements anyway.

Writers are trained to write about any and all topics so don’t require your applicants to have published work on the topic of astrophysics or some other super niche topic. You won’t win this way.

The most important things writers need to know is: the type of writing you like, what your business does and what the goal of each article is.

6. A job description should have an easy application process.

Job seekers often skip the bottom section of job descriptions entirely so don’t waste your time on it.

All I ask for from potential writers is a link to their portfolio. That’s all I need to see in order to make a decision, and it’s all you need to make a decision.

It isn’t fair to ask writers to go through a 12-step application process before you’ve even connected with them personally.

Ask for a portfolio link. Have them send it to your email address. Then give them a PAID test assignment to complete for you.

It’s as easy as that.

7. A job description should be tantalizing.

Last and certainly most important, your job description should be so tantalizing that even the most overworked writers can’t help but shoot you an email, begging to write for you.

Make people laugh. Utilize your quirky humor. Or don’t — if that’s not what you’re like. Just keep it real, and you’ll attract the right writers for you. Remember, no one wants to work for a robot.

Joseph Terach, CEO of Resume Deli, hits this point home in Business News Daily.

“Write in a tone that reflects your organization’s brand. If you’re looking for someone who’s creative, just writing ‘seeking a creative individual’ [is] meaningless unless your job description is creative. Especially in smaller organizations, if you don’t walk the walk, the best candidates will recognize that your organization is not creative, just really good at inserting random keywords in their job descriptions.”

What’s holding you back from writing a good description?

I’m always fascinated to read hirers’ pushbacks to my tips.

Why won’t you try one — or all — of my seven tips listed above?

Tell me in the comments below. There’s nothing I love more than a good pushback.

Lauren Holliday is the founder of Freelanship and Full-Stack Marketer. If you need help writing your job description, check out her gig offering here.

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