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How to write a job description that will attract the best graduates

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Graduate recruitment starts with attracting the best candidates to your business. To do this, you need to write an attractive job description.

A job description is usually the very first thing a potential candidate reads about your company – and just like the first time you review a graduate CV, first impressions count.

With thousands of companies looking to recruit staff, writing a great job description is crucial if you want to stand out.

The key to making your business stand out is to ensure that your job description is both accurate (to target the type of candidate you are looking for, and to avoid receiving hundreds of inappropriate applications), and engaging (to make the right candidates want to apply).

When they’re reading a job description, graduates will be looking for certain things.

What the role involves, what skills, requirements, and experience they need, and how your company can benefit them.

And the more succinct and clear your job description, the better these points will translate. Read on to learn how to write an exciting job posting and attract the best talent.

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What is a job description?

A job description is a clear summary of the main responsibilities, requirements, and benefits of a role.

The purpose of a job description is to advertise a vacant role to potential hires, and act as the first point of contact for candidates.

When you write a job description, you should be writting for the candidate. 

Job descriptions can be found on a company’s ‘work for us’ page, platforms such as Google and LinkedIn, recruitment websites, and online job boards.

Traditional media is also used to display job adverts. For instance, a local business that is recruiting sales people may place a job advert in the local newspaper.

On the other end of the scale, a FTSE 100 company may advertise the vacancy of a senior position in publications like The Economist magazine.

Please note: the phrases ‘job description’, ‘job specification’, and ‘job advertisement’ (and their respective shortened versions, like ‘job spec’) are often used interchangeably.

Why is a job description important?

Job descriptions are designed to not only advertise and inform, but to enable candidates to picture themselves in a job.

It is important to recognise that job descriptions are essential for SEO purposes – the higher the specification ranks on Google, the higher the number of applications.

By outlining details about the company, the key responsibilities of the role, the requirements of the job and the benefits, candidates are able to gain a clear picture of the role and discern whether it is suitable for them.

In this sense, a good job advert will reach the right candidates, not just the most candidates.

What is included in a job description?

Writing a job description that resonates starts with writing a good job title.

Job descriptions that stand out are titled effectively.

It is important that your sales job title is targeted, concise, and includes keywords that accrue a high amount of searches.

You need to be clear straight away what the role is and what it entails.

In a recent survey, we learnt that graduates care most about ‘job responsibilities’ and ‘job requirements’ when reading job specs.

People want to know what a job really is, and whether they can really do it. Don’t be vague: mention day-to-day activties and progression opportunities.

Often people get too preoccupied with what to write in a job description, when the style of writing is as important. An inviting tone of voice is crucial when it comes to job advert wording.

Appear both friendly and interesting, and you’ll write a job description that attracts the right candidate

In terms of content, a good job description will include:

  • A comprehensive company profile
  • A detailed outlining of responsibilities
  • A specification of job requirements
  • A salary and benefits section

  • Most job specifications start with a company profile that contains the most important information about your business.

    When considering how to start a job description, this is usually a logical point.

    Importantly, your company profile should be detailed enough to show off your business and entice candidates to join your team.

    But equally not too extensive. Candidates will often do their own research about a company, so priortise information about the role.


    Consider the following talking points:

    • What is there to like about your company or be impressed by?
    • What exciting clients do you work with?
    • What has spurred on your recent expansion?
    • What is your work environment like?


    Information to include:

    • Company type (SME, startup, global etc.)
    • Industry/sector
    • Years in operation
    • Your USP (unique selling point)
    • Example clients
    • Recent accomplishments
  • Your job description and responsibilities section should provide candidates with a snapshot of what their day-to-day tasks will involve.

    As we’ve dicussed, this is crucial, and absolutely the priority for most jobseekers.

    An attractive graduate job description enables a candidate to picture themselves in the role and provides them with an understanding of whether they would be a good fit or not.

    It’s a good idea to display the key responsibilities in bullet points, making sure they are as detailed as possible so that you provide a clear picture of the role.

    Make sure not to deceive or mislead candidates in terms of the tasks they’ll have to carry out, even if they are tricky.

  • The job requirements section contains a list of what applicants need in order to be considered for the role.

    It is important that a candidate can discern whether they are qualified or not from the information you provide in the job requirements section.

    If descriptions can be specific enough to include industry-relevant keywords, such as CRM, PPC or Java, this will help with SEO and will get your job description seen by more relevant candidates.


    Consider the following:

    • Degree (e.g. if this is a junior sales role, do they need to have a degree? If so, what subject/grade?)
    • Skills (e.g. if this is a business development role, do they need to have great communication skills?)
    • Experience (e.g. if this is an account manager role, do they need to have a certain amount of experience?)
    • Interest (e.g. if this is a financial sales role, do they need to be able to evidence an interest in a career in finance/the finance industry?)


    Information to include:

    • Qualifications and any specific grades required
    • Degree subject
    • Soft skills
    • Technical skills needed to do the job
    • Previous work experience / number of years exp.
    • Interests – i.e. do they need to be able to evidence an interest in your industry?
    • Any languages needed
  • As the final section of the job description, the benefits of the job segment serves to inform the candidate of the job salary, holiday allowance, and other work perks.

    To make sure the job is attractive, you should aim for at least five bullet points.


    Consider the following:

    • Do you have a commission scheme?
    • Are your offices in a good location?
    • Do you offer private healthcare?
    • Do you have mentorship or training opportunities?
    • Do you hold regular socials or host company away days?
    • Do you offer flexible/remote working options?


    Information to include:

    • Perks of the job, i.e. health insurance, pension, office snacks
    • Salary and any bonuses
    • Commission structure and potential OTE (on target earnings)
    • Rewards to be won
    • Mentorship or training opportunities
    • Company culture & employee social events
    • Progression structure
    • Remote or flexible working options
    • Charity work


    Make sure to list the salary transparently instead of labelling it as ‘competitive’ – displaying the pay in terms of numbers is more appealing to prospective candidates.

    In fact, our recently salary showed that 79% of graduates are more likely to apply to a role that shows a salary.

    All applications are going to be somewhat led by salary, it’s only natural. So, don’t hide it, and let the candidates know what the role will pay them.

    When considering what a job description should include, the salary should be at the very top of your list.

    Great candidates know their worth, so it is important to take some time to research industry standards around salaries, in order to offer a competitive package that will help secure top talent.

    If in doubt, our graduate employment statistics archive holds the average salaries for a range of industries – check it out!

    Not sure how to calculate annual leave days?

    Find out annual leave allowance for part-time and full-time salespeople with our UK holiday entitlement calculator!

How to write a job description –  The basics

1. Define the role 💬

Graduates that you will want to attract to your business will also be popular with others – so how do you stand out from the crowd and get the best graduates for the job to apply?

Show clarity.

As we’ve been through: think of an appropraoite title, detail the day-to-day responsibilities, outline the progression potential, and mention the support or training they’ll receive.

This may seem obvious, but so many job descriptions are unclear and rushed.

And considering how many job specs a jobseeker is reading every day, simplicity is the key to success. 

By being explicit about the tasks that the successful candidate will be doing and the structure of the role, you’ll be more likely to attract the best graduates for the specifications of the job.


2. Be specific about what you’re looking for 👀

If you want to attract the best graduates to your business, you need to clearly define your expectations and the type of candidate you are looking for.

When a graduate reads your job description, they should be able to ascertain whether they are suitable for the role in terms of skills, qualifications, and experience.

Be careful, though, to distinguish between requirements and preferences – if you’re open to fresh graduates but you write “2 years’ commercial experience” as a prerequisite on your job description, some great candidates might be deterred from applying.

Bear in mind that a candidate, particularly in the tech field, might have had a lot of training but very little actual industry experience.

So, if you’re serious about graduate recruitment, think about what you want to include as absolute requirements on your job description.


3. State how the role will benefit them ✅

Salary is a very important part of a job, but is by no means the only aspect of a role that appeals to graduates.

If you’re scratching your head trying to work out how to make a job description more appealing, benefits are the easiest way to turn a boring job spec into an exciting one.

In fact, from one of our surveys, we found that the biggest career concern (46.2%) was going into a dead-end job or having no career progression.

For graduates going into their 1st or 2nd job, opportunities for progression, development, and variation are of huge importance.

So, whether your business is able to offer a high salary or not, clearly state in your job description what the employee will gain from the role aside from their monthly paycheck.

By doing so, you’ll ensure that your job description attracts committed candidates – people who want to take on responsibility, grow, and progress within your business.


4. Make your company stand out ⭐

Amongst thousands of other businesses looking to hire graduates, it’s important to make your company stand out for all the right reasons.

Use the job description to really sell your company and its perks.

You can cite company growth, list high-profile clients you have worked with, or mention any prestigious awards or media attention you’ve received.

The best way to stand out is by writing a job posting that speaks to candidates on their level. Don’t alienate, oversell, undersell, or bore.

Be simple, honest, and get to the most important information (salary, responsibilities, requirements, and unique selling points) – and let those shine!


5. Be accessible 👍

For a job description tailored to graduates, tone is incredibly important.

The key is to find the balance between remaining professional, whilst also ensuring that your company comes across as relatable and personable.

As a general rule, this means avoiding using slang or abbreviations and, equally, refraining from using complex internal terminology or industry jargon that will alienate graduates.

But, most importantly, write in a tone that suits your own company and brand.

Finally, bear in mind that graduates will be reading a lot of job descriptions, and the more they can take from skim-reading yours, the better.

Though it’s vital to include the key pieces of information, try to keep the rest of the job description as succinct and to the point as possible, avoiding using wordy descriptions or long-winded paragraphs.

How to write a good job advert – Job description example

Sales Manager

Looking for Sales Manager jobs in Manchester? Interested in working for a growing PropTech startup? Apply to this Sales Manager role today!


Company Profile

In this Sales Manager role, you will be joining an innovative proptech startup, backed by world-class venture capital investors.

Originally formed as a public scheme to make buildings more eco-friendly, we have since privatised and changed to a SAAS model.

We have been incredibly successful and now work with small to mid size businesses all across the UK.

We’ve recently won 6m in funding and are looking to rapidly expand our team.


Job Description

In this Sales Manager, you will be a vital member of our field-based sales team.

The role will involve a mix of office-based working and travelling to meet with clients across Manchester.

You will strive to have a huge impact on growth through your close and fruitful partnership with clients that you have identified, qualified and onboarded to our platform.

Crucially, you will be able to identify the objectives and challenges specific to each trades business you onboard in order to frame the offering in a way that feels personal and compelling to them.


Key Responsibilities

  • Building a solid and constant pipeline
  • Quickly grasping the tools used to run sales (Hubspot, Looker etc)
  • When qualifying clients, identifying specific situations that you can assist with, and proposing a tailored solution
  • (Over)delivering the monthly numbers required for growth
  • Collaborating with other team members in the business to do what it takes for your engineers to thrive
  • Identifying common objections and potential opportunities to improve the wider sales approach
  • Managing relationships with new and existing clients


Job Requirements

  • A minimum of a 2.1 degree from university
  • 2-3+ years experience in a sales or business development role
  • Motivated and organised – an ability to meet targets
  • Leadership skills – an ability to be assertive with clients
  • A strong work ethic and a proactive approach
  • A valid UK drivers license


Salary & Benefits

  • A great base salary of £30,000 – £35,000 (+ commission)
  • £5000 annual car allowance
  • Quarterly salary reviews
  • Team-based monthly bonuses
  • A lively and sociable start-up environment
  • Regular team dinners and weekly pub trips
  • Access to Headspace & mental health support
  • Discounted gym membership

As the first step in the graduate recruitment process, a job description is your first chance to connect with your potential future hires.

This can make constructing an effective job description a complicated and daunting task.

But, by learning what a job description should include and how to effectively write one, you can attract the best graduates before other businesses get to talk to them.

Looking to hire graduates for your business and need help crafting the perfect job description?

We are the UK’s top graduate recruitment experts – contact us today to find out more about our services.


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