10 Ways to Improve Your Job Postings on Your ATS

As a talent acquisition leader, my relationship with a job posting is complicated. It’s the document I loathe and love at the same time. I use it in determining a candidate fit as part of our interview and selection process as well as the job posting process using job boards. The job posting always changes, just like a hiring manager’s must haves or candidate requirements for the job. However, the job posting is the single most important part of the hiring and recruitment process. It’s the foundation and yet we, including myself, don’t give it the time, attention or respect that it deserves.

What is a Job Posting?

A job posting is a combination of a marketing asset and a sales document that helps explain, market, and provide insight into the job we, as recruiters or hiring managers, are hiring for.  It is the central point at which the hiring and selection process is built and provides the first and most important look into your job opening, the hiring process and the company.

It’s a document where we often go off script and because of that, doesn’t quite do the job. The job role changes, it expands or is not what it first was painted to be. That job posting has to be updated in order to explain to all parties what the job responsibilities, company culture and work environment are expected to be.

A job posting is different from a job advertisement or job description. A job ad is a highway billboard sign while your job posting is a 30 second commercial. Both have the ultimate goal of converting a candidate into an applicant, however, the job posting provides more specific and in-depth information to help the candidate make a purchasing decision: applying to work at your company. I consider a job ad to be a Twitter Job Card. It’s a short billboard advertisement that is designed to draw the candidate in and direct them to a more long form job posting.

Job descriptions on the other hand were built out of the need for job responsibilities and descriptions in order to be in compliance with employment laws and regulations including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Job Posting Do’s

Like any marketing asset, especially online, today’s job posting will be read quickly and even skimmed. It’s important when writing and developing job postings to put yourself in the candidate’s shoes.

  • Have a catchy job title or subject line that is optimized for candidate search. Don’t use company acronyms or internal job titles. Keep it short but descriptive using words and phrases that your candidates would likely search in order to find the job.
  • Postings should be 300-500 words in length. That 2 sentence job posting is not search optimized or candidate friendly. You want to have a mix of employment and culture content along with information about the job, team and role.
  • Include bullets and headlines that make it easier to read. Bullets are easier for internet search bots as well as humans to read and skim.
  • Accurately depict the job and its responsibilities. Be engaging, relating to and compelling a very specific and targeted candidate to apply for a corresponding job opening.
  • Use proper grammar and spelling. Do not include things like multiple exclamation points in your posting. Small things like this can impact SEO optimization among job boards and aggregator feeds.
  • Leverage SEO. SEO is short for search engine optimization. Include commonly searched for terms, keywords and abbreviations to improve search.

Advanced Job Posting Tips and Tactics

  • Include media. Adding video or graphics to your job posting whether on a job board or your company career site, is a great way to set yourself apart from the competition. It’s one of the reasons I love job posting infographics.
  • Redirect old posting links. One of the reasons that job postings have horrible SEO aside from the same text is published on multiple website hurting their search engine search rankings, is the shelf life of a job posting. Once a job is filled, the job posting page link should be redirected to a new page. I suggest you redirect to an evergreen posting, talent community or job landing page.
  • Use cookies. Cookies are a great way to track where web links, including job postings, get the most traction. You can create individual cookies for each recruiter by posting to determine which recruiter is most social or has the best network that leads to the most hires versus the number of clicks.
  • Customize every single job posting. In order to maximize your search and SEO juice, create a custom job posting for every single listing versus copying and pasting. This includes posting the same job posting on multiple job boards and for every single posting. You will need to get create in your text, word placement and SEO keywords you select. Customization takes time, but it’s worth the effort.


Each year there are 107 million job postings in the United States for all occupations. This number has increased 9.7 percent over the last year and 20.5 percent over the last two years.  The competition level and numbers are only increasing making your job posting a linchpin of your recruitment strategy.

How to Create Job Posting Consistency

Job postings are as unique as the recruiters who work tirelessly to fill a company’s open roles. I’ve seen companies train recruiters on writing and publishing individual job postings or identify a single team member within TA who is responsible for writing, editing and publishing every single job posting. The latter allows for unification and a single voice as part of your outward facing employment brand. Whatever approach you decide to take, it’s important to first create a job posting template and style guide to ensure consistency. For those who are unfamiliar, a style guide is common in marketing to make sure that fonts, colors and suggest branding verbiage as well as approved graphics for members of the marketing and PR teams. A job posting style guide does the same thing.

Most importantly, we need to be experimenting, measuring and constantly evaluating our job posting efforts in order to reach and engage the best candidates for our openings.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

Reader Interactions


  1. Adam Seabrook says

    Well done, For most people, the terms “job posting” and “job description” are used interchangeably. But really, they’re two completely different things.

    Job ads are definitely an art.


    • Jessica Miller-Merrell says

      Thanks, Adam. One of the biggest misconceptions. I am deep in the job posting weeds right now currently re-evaluating our efforts and programs. The beginning of the hiring funnel is so important and I think one we often forget.



  1. […] You’ve probably heard the saying that content is king. When it comes to the digital and the internet, content drives traffic, makes your website sticky and increases brand recognition, loyalty and sales. With the recruiting function looking more and more like marketing everyday, it’s no wonder that what works for the marketing pros very well could work for our industry too. Content makes sense in marketing and there’s no doubt that it can also help us drive qualified candidates to your company career site, engage them and increase the likelihood that they’ll ultimately apply to apply for a job posting. […]


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