How to Optimize Your Job Posting

How to optimize a job posting simply hasn’t been top-of-mind for many businesses, mainly because it hasn’t needed to be.

Optimize your job listing

For years, employers had the technological advantage in the hiring process. Applicant tracking systems let companies fly through piles of resumes, electronically weeding out ones that didn’t meet keyword criteria.

These days, though, job seekers optimize their resumes and weed out companies. Why scan pages of ads when you can narrow the search based on location, type of employment, salary range, and more.

Companies that want to make sure they make the cut can use a combination of smart keywords, savvy SEO, and solid writing to optimize job postings, drawing more attention and more of the right attention. Here’s how.

Use Keywords to Optimize Job Postings

Some keywords for a job posting are obvious: job title and location, for example. Others require a little research.

Begin by investigating competitors’ job postings. Copy four or five into a word-cloud generator such as Wordle to literally see common keywords. Next, do the same with a few ads at a local online jobs site.

There also are a number of free services such as Google AdWords that can help you find job postings keywords.

By the way, when it comes to job title keywords, follow the herd. Your company might call it the Department of Career Services, but if the rest of the world knows it as Human Resources, use the common term.

Focus on Job Listing SEO

Once you’ve settled on keywords, make sure you put them in the right places. Include them in your copy, of course, but don’t overdo it. Search engines frown on keyword stuffing, and you won’t show up as high in search results if you do it. Five or six mentions will suffice.

If you’re posting on a company website, make sure the keywords appear in the meta data: the page title, meta description, and title tags. This under-the-hood work is intuitive if you’re familiar with search engine optimization. If you’re not, get with your online guru and make sure these technical points are handled.

Pay attention to formatting, too. Headlines and bold copy not only make for great visuals, but subheads properly coded with h1 and h2 tags also boost SEO.

Writing an Effective Job Posting

You have 300 to 500 words to get the applicant to nibble. Make the most of them with compelling writing and pertinent details.

Those details include required skills, but not so many that you’re going to drive off otherwise qualified applicants. Consider what’s essential for the position. Does it have to be a college degree, or will five years’ experience do? Do you need a graphic artist who does print and digital or will one or the other work?

Avoid trendy buzzwords such as rock star, unless you really are hiring a lead singer. They’re meaningless filler that fails to tell applicants what you really want.

Be sure you list what type of work: part time, full time, or telecommute. Address the issue of pay, but avoid the stock “we offer a competitive salary” line. Listing a salary range is the best move.

Talk up benefits, but be specific. It’s the difference between saying “family-friendly policies” and “on-site day care.”

Where and When to Post Jobs

Most of us get the “when” part wrong. A 12-month analysis of nearly a half-million job postings by Workopolis discovered job seekers are most active on Mondays. Most postings, however, go up on Thursday. By the time Monday rolls around, your job is at the bottom of the stack.

The same goes for sharing posts on social media. On Facebook, traffic peaks on weekend afternoons, according to a HubSpot analysis. On LinkedIn, the best times are Tuesdays through Thursdays.

When posting to a job site, do it only once. Duplicate postings put you at risk of being blocked as a spammer. Even if you avoid that fate, job seekers’ eyes will begin to glaze over because they’re pretty sure the next posting from your company is identical to the previous six they just read.

You should also post to a careers landing page on your own site. Use it to highlight new hires or keep hard-to-fill positions on display if there are no current openings.

Optimizing a job posting might seem awkward at first. Between gathering keywords, practicing solid SEO, and posting at optimal times, there’s a lot to think about. In no time, though, the new workflow will become second nature.

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