July  2004      Vol. 13, No. 7  REAP HOME PAGE  A publication of the Center for Rural Affairs    
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Want the Best Employees? Write the Best Ads!

As many small business owners and managers know, poorly written job advertisements can a) swamp you with the wrong applicants, b) attract no one, and c) potentially get you in trouble with the law! So drafting an accurate, effective, and legal job advertisement is important.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when you write your ad:

  1. Specific is better than general. The more specific you are about the skills necessary for the job and the nature of the position, the more likely you are to attract qualified candidates.
  2. When writing the ad, include the following: title of position; a brief description of duties; work hours (days, evenings, weekends, and full- or part-time); qualifications sought; salary and benefits, if applicable; application deadline; method to apply (where to send resume, for example); and a statement that the employer is an Equal Opportunity Employer (an acronym at the end of the ad such as “EOE” is fine).
  3. Other information you may want to add: the company’s work atmosphere (fast-paced, casual, corporate, etc.), and whether the position has significant job growth potential.
  4. Definitely include positive attributes of the company, such as the fact it’s near public transportation.
  5. Don’t forget to include contact information, such as a telephone number, address, fax number, or e-mail address in the ad. Identifying your company by name is optional. It’s probably wise to discourage applicants from making in-person or telephone inquiries. These can be a big time-waster for you. You may want to consider having applicants respond to a post office box, so that you can avoid interruptions to your business.

Source: National Institute of Small Business, Sbweek, January 30, 2001. Contact: Jeff Reynolds, REAP Program Director, jeffr@alltel.net 
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