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How to Write a Job Opening Advertisement


It all depends on what kind of company is advertising for a job opening. If the ad is for a Fortune 500 company, it will generally be circumspect and embrace formality, to produce the kind of thing that can at once be published in the Wall Street Journal and be proudly featured on leading online job sites. But in many other instances today—especially at media and Internet firms—all bets are off.

Reflecting the Corporate Culture

For companies in the business of making the news, it’s a good thing to also sometimes be able to make the news. In the spring of 2011, an editor for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune got tremendous ink for his tongue-in-cheek job posting. But he wasn’t just trying to be funny; he was trying to also represent a shoot-from-the-hip corporate culture, so that he would avoid attracting any stuffy types.

“Our ideal candidate has also cursed out an editor, had spokespeople hang up on them in anger and threatened to resign at least once because some fool wanted to screw around with their perfect lede,” the job ad begins. Later on, editor Matthew Doig sells the state of Florida as place any would-be newshound would want to consider because “we have all kinds of corruption, violence, and scumbaggery.”

Catering to the Electronic Age

Doig found a very original way to cover all the basic information of a good job ad such as job title, job description, requirements, and qualifications.(2) Because so much of today’s job searches are carried out via the Internet, the job title today carries an additional keyword significance. The proper, exact job title language should be used so that those searching for this level of opening can quickly and accurately find the information.

Similarly, many job postings now end with a large block of comma-delimited keywords, so that people searching by specific term will be more likely to land on the posted page.



(1) Mother Jones – “The Best Journalism-Job Want Ad Ever-Ever”, March 23, 2011, Retrieved June 5, 2011 from

(2) Recruiters Network – Writing an Effective Internet Job Posting, Retrieved June 5, 2011 from

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