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How to Write Job Descriptions Optimized for Job Boards and Internet Search, Tip 1

It can be challenging to write a thorough and compliant job description that will satisfy your human resources and legal departments, while at the same time making it…dare I say…sexy enough to cause potential applicants to click through for more information or to apply for your job. After all, most job seekers won’t just know that your company is hiring and think to go directly to your applicant tracking software careers page; in fact, many will see your job listing for the first time on external job boards or previewed in Google SERPs (search engine results pages). You hope they see your job listings there, that is.

If you use the right techniques to write effective, search-friendly job descriptions, then your target audience of applicants will notice your job listings on search engines and job boards like Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, etc. This blog is the first in a series I’m writing about how to find the happy medium between including must-have job content and optimizing your job listings for search. In this post, we’ll begin to cover the strategy behind the actual words you use in your job descriptions, as well as the order in which you place them.

Reorder Your Job Listing Content

Depending on the size of your organization, the frequency of hiring and/or the brand association with your company name, you may regularly include an “about us” or company overview paragraph in each of your job descriptions. This can be especially true of companies that are a little smaller or less well-known, and is often an area used to showcase the basic info about the product or service of the organization, as well as some commentary about the company culture. Here’s an example:
 Job Description with Company Overview
So while this overview section is often placed at the beginning of a job description, that placement might actually be hampering this job listing’s click-through rate (CTR) from certain sets of search results. For example, search engines will display the first 160 or so characters of a page’s body text (unless a specific meta description has been designated by your webmaster for that page). In the case of the above job description, we see in the Google search results highlighted below that the text displayed is the company overview section – because it was at the beginning of the job description.
 Company Overview Section - Google SERPs
For some of your applicants this may not be a big deal, but others will move on to the next search result for a different job that better describes the actual position in the first few lines – this may especially be the case for highly competitive job titles that return many pages of search results.

Examine Search Results Within External Job Boards

So how do the results for this example job listing appear in different job boards?

CareerBuilder Corporate Recruiter Results
Indeed Corporate Recruiter results
As you can see, results vary from one board to the next. For example, on CareerBuilder the company overview header is squished ahead of part of the body text. On Indeed, the first few lines of the “Position Overview” section of the job listing are displayed. While this is actually the best scenario because that section should have all the meat, I’m not sure that the most compelling information to attract candidates is the fact that the applicant would be supporting a certain office.

So, why take a gamble on what information will appear in search results for your job listings? Instead, keep the company overview section – but put it at the end of your job listing. Then, write an engaging first sentence that restates your job title and includes relevant keywords to grab the attention of potential applicants as they scan through hundreds of similarly named job title search results. Stay tuned for future blogs in this series discussing keyword use and job titles.

Interested in learning how ExactHire’s applicant tracking software can help optimize your job listings for search? Contact us today to schedule a live demo.

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