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What makes a great graduate job ad? Insights from a student perspective.

Prosple Team

A bad first impression can ruin your chances of attracting top talent to your organisation. To remedy this, you have to master the job advert - put simply, if you don’t put your best foot forward here, you will turn away so many great candidates. So we’ve made this step-by-step guide to help you write a fantastic job ad.

Before you begin writing your job ad it is vital that you know who and what you’re looking for. 

Because if you don’t know what you’re looking for then you’re not going to get what you’re looking for. A vague job ad will get vaguely relevant applicants. 

Instead, just clarify:

  1. What are the responsibilities of the role and your expectations as an employer.
  2. What your culture is and what the ideal candidate looks like given that culture

Doing this is a win-win. You get the right candidate for the role and the applicant gets to understand what working for your company means.

It’s important to know that for graduate students, there are three categories: jobs they don’t want at all, jobs they kinda want, and jobs they would love to have.

Which category do you think has the most passionate, hard-working, and committed graduates?

You want to get as close to the latter category as possible, and you’ll only get there with specific, targeted job ads.

Step 1: Title

Titles should be simple and sweet, there are only two things to cover; what the position and who is it for.

For example:

  • Graduate Risk Analyst
  • Software Developer Internship
Opportunity title

As long as you are simple and direct here, you will be fine.

Step 2: Selling points

The title draws the eyes, the selling points drive the click. This is your chance to draw top talent in.

I, like many students, browse job boards, these give the impression that there is an endless list of employers looking to hire. So, if the first few sentences I read from an employer don’t catch my eye, I move on without a second thought.

That is why you must highlight the most attractive parts of the position. Think: If I were the perfect person for this job, what would make me immediately engaged?

Selling points

This is a great job description. It’s brimming with life because of buoyant copywriting with words like “passion” and “abundance”. It includes what the position is, what kind of person they’re looking for, and why it is so exciting. 

Step 3: The role, primary responsibilities, and examples of tasks

Describe the position in detail and flesh out what the candidate will be doing. 

I see a lot of ads where people describe their company first and then talk about the job. Don’t do this.

Looking at a job ad where the company talks about how awesome it is before anything else is like hanging out with someone who only talks about themselves. People want to hear information that is relevant to them. Students do not care about your company culture if they won’t be able to work there. Only after they see that the job is right for them does your company become relevant.

So, tell them about the role. Make it accurate and attractive. 

Think about including what the candidate stands to gain from the position as well. With graduates especially, being able to learn and grow in a company is a major benefit. Highlighting this shows that you have empathy and is likely to land you a much more committed and long-time employee.

I can say from experience that it’s a breath of fresh air and a major standout factor to hear from a company that seems to genuinely care about my personal and professional development.

Step 4: Essential skills and required experience

List what is required for the job you are posting.

Most graduates will not have been in the workforce for long, so instead of asking for 5 years of experience try filtering for grade averages or specific degrees.

It’s a great idea here to talk a bit about what the ideal person for the position would be like in terms of their mindset and long-term goals. I appreciate seeing a company do this because it lets me evaluate whether I will fit in the company’s culture as well. 

Essential skills and required experience

This is a sample of a fantastic job description. A psychological tool they have used here is beginning with positive and specific character traits, reading this makes me feel appreciated and understood by the employer. This builds a level of connection that hardly any companies make an effort to create. They then detail the requirements in clear terms. I now know exactly who and what they are looking for; better yet, I am motivated to apply and put my best self forward.

If you are open to less conventional graduate pathways as well, be sure to state that. It will make your company stand out if you mention that you are less concerned with high distinction averages and care more about someone’s volunteer experience or how their teamwork abilities.

Step 5: Information about the company and its culture

After you have described the position and what kind of person you are looking for, then you speak about your company culture.

Communicate your mission, what the lifestyle is like, and the special parts of your community that don’t exist anywhere else.

Copywriting is important to nail here. If you say your company is a fun place to work, then let that shine throughout your copy.

Also, graduates love hearing from other graduates. Graduate stories and Day-in-the-life articles have some of the highest engagement rates across all of our sites.

Research chartFindings

Want to know how to add these to your job listing? Get in touch with us here.

Step 6: Attractive benefits

Think of this as the runway to the ‘Apply now’ button. If the graduate has gotten to this part of your job ad, they are definitely interested in the position and are likely right on the edge of applying, use this section to affirm their desire and get them over the line. 

Restate the best reasons to work for your company. Remember to think like the applicant: what is important to them?

Do you have a stunning location? An in-house barista? A standout mentorship program? Remember to keep your messaging in line with the tone of the rest of your ad and do not feel the need to deliver a hard-sell here. Simply reiterate the core benefits of your organisation and any bonuses that come along with the position.

Step 7: Clear instructions about how to apply and what to expect afterward

This part is seriously underrated and almost everyone gets it wrong.

Have an obvious call to action button and let the applicant know what happens after they apply. 

That last part is rarely done and I have no idea why. Most graduates are riddled with uncertainty; providing them with a simple follow-up email to tell them if they did or did not get the job goes a long way in building rapport, trust, and confidence with the graduate. 

This doesn’t have to be an elaborate account of the interview process, just write something like “We will be in touch via email to confirm the outcome of your application.”

Follow these steps and we are sure that you’ll have a great job ad that will stand out and engage graduates you are wanting to attract.

Looking to get your job ad seen by a huge percent of the graduate student market? Get in touch with us today.

Interested in attracting the
right graduate talent? Get in touch with us.