How to write an effective graduate job advert.

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Sit down with a pen and paper and write a job advertisement. Tricky, isn't it. Writing a good job advert is both an art and a science. We've seen over 250,000 graduate jobs posted since we started in 2000, so we have a pretty good idea of what works and we have some reliable data which backs up our recommendations.

If you're an SME that occasionally hires graduates, or completely new to graduate recruitment or a seasoned pro who might just want a sounding board this is our guide to creating an effective job advert.

What do we mean by 'effective'
We measure effectiveness by analysis of the view to application ratio and we want to see a strong application performance over a sustained period of time. We appreciate that application performance is influenced by factors that are unrelated to the job advert content such as salary (e.g. a £60k starting salary will receive more applications than an £18k starting salary) and company brand (e.g. Tesla will probably receive more applications than Dacia for a similar role). However, well written job adverts can transcend these factors and give your organisation the best chance of generating an excellent hire.

Great examples of effective graduate job adverts
These are the most effective jobs that have been advertised on in the past 12 months:

Assistant Director - Nationwide - Explore Learning

Reward Analyst Graduate Programme (Global Financial Services team), London

Graduate Management Trainee - Nationwide - August 2019

These jobs adverts aren't particularly global household brands nor do they offer above UK average graduate salaries, yet they work to generate high quality applications for their recruitment managers.

Analysis: What do these adverts have in common?

The seven key ingredients to creating "lightning in a bottle".

  • Descriptive Sections - the adverts include a description of some or all of the following:
    (a). The Role / Activities - some explanation of the tasks of the day-to-day responsibilities of the role which emphasis on "getting stuck in" and demonstrating and rewarding effort.
    (b). Type of person / Core competencies - describe the qualities of the individual which will help them succeeded n the job, for example, “taking a collaborative approach”, “ability to build technical knowledge” Passion, Communication, Receptiveness, Leadership, Resilience, Initiative and show how these are demonstrated in the role
    (c). Training / Support - describe any classroom, on the job rotational and mentoring included in the role “After a classroom-based orientation session, you'll be based in one of our branches, gaining hands-on experience of our operation and learning the many valuable skills you'll need to manage a business.”
    (d). The Positive Future - these examples have a positive tone and acknowledge a graduates bright future and their role in an ambitious organisation going forward.
  • Format - the adverts rely on an obvious use of section headings, bullet points and in some cases images and video. Easy to digest sections rather than large detailed paragraphs of text.
  • Length - keep to the point, adverts probably need be no more than 580 words.
    (a). 574 words - Assistant Director - Nationwide - Explore Learning
    (b). 357 words - Graduate Management Trainee - Nationwide - August 2019
    (c). 563 words - Reward Analyst Graduate Programme (Global Financial Services team), London
  • Title - Try and use a snappy title that might resonate with someone who may not have a full understanding of a specific industry. Keep it simple but informative. Will "Account Manager B2B Waste Management Services" resonate with a student as much as "Trainee Graduate Recycling & Sustainability Consultant".
  • Salary - include a salary (or range if you can't commit to an exact salary £23,500 - £25,000). We have created a real-time UK graduate salary analysis report to help you set a suitable graduate salary for your industry. Jobs with stated salaries perform better than those with descriptions such as "competitive".
  • Clear call to action - this means clear call to action. "Apply now" is a clear call to action. “Find out more”, “Visit our website”, “Read our latest blog” is not a clear call to action so it's best to leave them out.
  • Images and Video - these are optional. Add images and video if they enhance your role. If you have some general images or video of the's probably best to leave them out.

Stick to this format and ("structurally" at least) you'll create and advert which will have the best chance of attracting a suitable candidate. Obviously the content itself is up to you, we can only guide you in the right direction.

If you would like to advertise your graduate scheme on we'd love to chat about your requirements and help you hire someone who makes a positive impact on your business. Why not give us a call +44 (0)207 609 5400

Launched in 2000 has signed up over 1 million students. We believe in UK graduates.