This post was updated in June 2018. 

Have you stumbled upon a job description that checked all the boxes for being concise, explanatory and compelling? Great job descriptions are direct response marketing materials in their own right. Their purpose is to attract quality hires and sell the opportunity with your organization. And the first step in attracting quality hires is making sure that people can find your job among a sea of others.

Search engines like Indeed work by scanning job titles and descriptions to show the most relevant match to a job seeker’s query. By writing effective job titles and detailed job descriptions, Indeed can make the best possible match with people’s search terms. This results in more qualified candidates clicking on and applying to your jobs. We put together our best tips for writing standout job descriptions to help your job postings get found and drive more qualified applications to your jobs.

Rank higher in search results with accurate job titles

Most people search by job title. To improve your placement in search results, keep the following in mind:

  • Keep the job title concise, between 5 and 80 characters, and avoid all caps. If your title is too long or too short, it will not rank well. Also it’s important to not include special characters in your title. This makes it easier to read and more likely to match the search queries from job seekers.
  • Describe the job title in normal terms. If you are hiring a “Javascript Developer,” call it that. Avoid words like “Ninja” and “Jedi” that people are less likely to search for.
  • Avoid internal titles that don’t accurately describe the job. Job seekers may misunderstand abbreviations or acronyms. “Senior Web Designer” is much clearer to applicants than “Web Designer II.”
  • Use the job title to describe the main aspects of the job. For example, “Events and Sponsorships Manager” is much more effective than just “Marketing.”

Attract the right applicants with specific and interesting job descriptions

The key to writing effective job descriptions is to strike a balance between being concise and providing just enough detail so that job seekers can self-qualify. Job postings with descriptions between 700 to 2000 characters get up to 30% more applicants than other job postings. To attract qualified candidates,

  • Open with a strong, attention-grabbing paragraph. Your ideal candidates are busy and if you don’t pique their interest in the beginning, there is a higher risk of them moving on to the next job. Take this time to show the job seeker what makes your company a special place to work and why this job is a great opportunity.
  • Be honest. Do not exaggerate or underplay the responsibilities of the role. If it's a marketing manager role that requires 80% time to be spent in social media, describe the role as being primarily social media focused so that you reach candidates who are skilled in this area.
  • Talk about what the day-to-day would be like. If the position requires 20% travel or calls for 50% writing, tell them that. This will ensure you’re hiring candidates who enjoy their day-to-day responsibilities.
  • Cite specific educational/certification requirements. If some skills are required and others are just nice to have, say that. If candidates think they are under qualified, they won’t want to waste their time applying.
  • Ask that candidates only apply if they meet your requirements. This should deter unqualified applicants from "taking a chance" on your job posting.
  • Specify desired years of experience.
  • Indicate how the job functions within the organization or who the job reports to. Candidates want to know how their role will impact an organization.
  • Provide the specific job location and your company name. Broad locations like “national” or “U.S.” will likely not show up in searches.
  • Give job seekers a sense of your organization’s style and culture. This may also include an overview of employee benefits, salary, schedule and other perks.
  • Finally, break up paragraphs with empty lines to make your description easy to read.

After creating a compelling job title and description, keep going. Test variations of job titles and descriptions to determine which ones draw quality applicants. Indeed Analytics provides detailed performance metrics to measure the effectiveness of different job titles and descriptions, so you can track which ones receive the highest traffic and produce the highest quality candidates.

Like all marketing activities, job titles and descriptions tailored to your target audience result in higher conversion rates. Clear titles and detailed job descriptions allow the right talent to find your jobs. For more tips on writing a compelling job description, visit our job description resource page.

[Related: Browse sample job descriptions for hundreds of job titles]