February 2011  
UpWrite Press Writing eTips

Writing the Job Ad/Description

Want Ads from Newspaper

The job description and the job ad are similar: Both break down a particular position into its parts, describing the work and the qualifications necessary to do the work. But the ad and the description are also different in certain ways, and if you must write either, you should be aware of those differences.

The job ad is meant to attract possible candidates for the position and is short and to the point, succinctly describing the job and the necessary qualifications. Ads most commonly appear in newspapers or trade journals, but the Internet, with its many employment Web sites, has widened the field for ad placement considerably. If you are writing the ad, remember to include these three things:

  • Duties of the position
  • Requirements or special skills needed—education, experience, etc.
  • Contact information—how and where to apply

The job description, on the other hand, is meant for the person who already has the job. It includes the job's specific requirements, tasks, and benefits in full detail. Consider the job description as a map that helps an employee navigate and meet the requirements of a position—learning exactly what is expected of him or her as well as what can be expected of the employer. If you are writing such a description, be specific. It helps to use bullet points and section headings to display the information clearly.

The most important aspects of both the job ad and the job description are clarity and precision. Be as specific as possible within the required space, and provide a way for the applicant to get feedback.

For professional business writing tips, see Write for Business: A Compact Guide to Writing and Communicating in the Workplace—just one of the handy business-writing materials from UpWrite Press.

Teacher Tips

When planning a training session, answer the following two questions for the best results:

  1. What does my audience already know? Spending time and money to teach something the participants already know is wasteful. Always provide new, useful information.
  2. What do they need to know? Likewise, sharing information that does not directly apply to the participants' jobs is also wasteful. Make sure your trainers understand what workers need to know.

That Little Extra

As security measures in airports change, travel is becoming more and more of a challenge. Use your time in the security line to get ready so you can breeze through. Take off your jacket and shoes and have your computer ready to slip out of its case. Have your ID and boarding pass in your hand, ready to show, so you don't have to go digging for them when asked. Mentally tick off anything that might set off the beeper—belt buckle, watch, metal plate in your hip—and be ready to put the items in a bin or declare them. Finally, if you are one of the "lucky" ones pulled out of line, don't grumble; just remember that nicer people get quicker (and gentler) pat-downs.


February Writers' Forum Topic

Here's your chance to tell us how your work environment operates. Send us your responses to the forum question below, and we'll print the most interesting in our eTips Mid-Month Mini.

This month we talked about job descriptions, either as a "help wanted" ad or an employee information packet. Share with us something you wish you had known beforehand—something that was missing from a job ad you followed up on. Or, share something you do in your job that does not appear in its description.

E-mail your response to writersforum@upwritepress.com. Write "February Writers' Forum" in the subject line, and you could see your reply in the eTips Mid-Month Mini.

We Want to Hear from You

This is your chance to be part of the UpWrite Press newsletters and blogs. What writing topics do you want to hear about? Have you any favorite communications tips you'd like to share? What words do you constantly mix up? Send us your ideas and you could see your name in Writing eTips or the Mid-Month Mini.

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Posts for January include…

Staff Articles

Using Punctuation

Constructing Sentences


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