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How to Write a Help Wanted Ad for Employees

by Oubria Tronshaw, studioD

Balance is key to writing an effective help wanted ad. Some employers focus too much on the technical requirements of the job, attracting candidates that aren't a good match for the team, while other employers focus too much on attracting the right personality type, winding up with charismatic candidates that lack the required skills. You need to create an ad that clearly details both the personal and professional characteristics you require to attract an all-around good fit for the job.

Begin your ad with an interesting lead that will draw in applicants, such as a powerful job title, a pertinent question or a compelling scenario. For example, your ad might begin, "Can You Design Ads That Make People Take Notice? Graphic Designer Opportunity at Graystone Advertising.

Create a brief, but compelling and informative description of your business, so potential employees get a good idea of what your company does, its climate -- and what working for you might be like. Include information about the position such as perks, salary, benefits and schedule. For example, your ad might include, “We are a fast-growing, online advertising agency that's young, fun and driven. We are proud of our products, confident in our abilities and believe consistency and creativity are the keys to achieving our goals. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9 to 3, and every other Saturday, 12 to 7. Competitive salary and complete benefits package. Bonuses based on performance. We eat lunch away from our desks, no exceptions. We believe that genius springs from relaxed minds.”

Indicate all the technical skills and education requirements your new employee must have. To keep from turning off potential candidates with an exhaustive list of specialized skills, decide which skills are must-haves from the starting gate and which skills you’re willing to let your employee learn as she goes along. For example, your ad might state, “Sales experience and knowledge of accounting software required. Master’s degree in accounting preferred.”

Include a list of the qualities you want your employee to have. In addition to having the required skills and education to perform the job, you also want to attract an employee with whom you’ll enjoy working. Your quality list might read, “We're looking for an optimistic self-starter, independent thinker, and creative problem-solver who loves to smile.”

End your ad by telling potential candidates how to apply. You should specify if you want them to email their resumes with a cover a letter, as well as what to put in the subject line. For example, your ad might read, "Please indicate 'Graphic Designer' in the subject line when you submit your resume." If you do not want candidates calling, state, "No phone calls."

About the Author

Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.

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