Writing an effective job advertisement

An advertisement should be a collaborative effort between the area and local or central HR practitioners.

Developing a good job advertisement is similar to other forms of advertising in that the readers of the advertisement are your potential customers. A good advertisement is easy to read and uses simple language.


The aim of the job advertisement is to:

  • attract interest
  • communicate quickly and clearly the essential(appealing and relevant) points
  • provide a clear response process.

Try to avoid:

  • excessive details about the job or area
  • too many words, keep it simple
  • uninspiring, boring descriptions of roles and ideal candidates
  • too much emphasis on the job and not enough on the person
  • too much emphasis on what you want, and not enough of what can be offered.

The AIDA Principle

The AIDA principle may assist you in drafting your job advertisement. The AIDA principle is an acronym for:

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action


The ad must attract job seekers' attention. A strong,interesting and relevant headline is essential.

It may be as simple as the job title itself or perhaps a catchy benefit based promise that sets the position or opportunity apart. Take the time to consider your target audience and what would appeal to them before writing the ad.

Attention examples:

"A great opportunity to work on this exciting project which will identify ways to reduce the carbon footprint of ICT and IT's environmental impact"

"Join us at University House, the elegant hotel venue on campus at the Australian National University. Come and work in one of Canberra's iconic & leading venues"


The first paragraphs must grab the reader's attention and want them to read on and find out more.

Include information about the job, its purpose, responsibilities and the team. Make sure it is interesting and relevant.

Interest examples:

"In this position you will play a leading role in all College activities, including coursework design and delivery, research projects and outreach activities such as seminars."

"ANU has an excellent opportunity to lead and manage an energetic, vibrant and dynamic Remuneration & Benefits team and ensure the efficient management of the fortnightly payroll processing"

"The School has an enviable reputation for its commitment to research and enjoys continuing success in winning competitive grants, including ARC Linkage and Discovery grants"

"You will be joining a dynamic team of academics with a focus on achieving excellence in research and teaching"


The way to create desire for the position is to sell the benefits of the job.

You want the reader to think "This sounds good. This is perfect for me. I want to learn more about this position".

  • Include information about the rewards and benefits of doing the job well and the quality of the team
  • Instead of simply listing the skills, abilities and knowledge you are seeking, describe them in terms of opportunities for potential applicants to use these capabilities
  • Place more emphasis on benefits rather than features. Features describe the job, benefits outline what's in it for them

Desire examples:

"The university offers a great range of benefits including discounted health care, three childcare centres,salary sacrificing and study support."

"We offer a flexible and supportive work environment and are willing to assist in developing your skills and abilities to further your career opportunities."

"This position offers the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise in a wide range of complex statistical techniques, including SEM approaches, regression modelling and multiple imputations to analyse survey data."

"Using your well developed communication and interpersonal skills you will work with our friendly and dedicated team to provide a professional support service to staff and students."


Action is the last step which encourages the candidate to apply.

A successful ad will result in quality job seekers hitting the 'Apply Now' button. Ensure your words are engaging and urge the job seeker to action.

Action examples:

"Apply now to be part of this innovative team..."

"For further information on this terrific opportunity contact..."

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