Where to advertise?
All vacancies for university support and academic-related posts should normally be advertised on the University’s jobs and vacancies website. Unless the vacancy is restricted to internal applicants only, all those at grades 4 and above will also be automatically placed on the jobs.ac.uk website. For many vacancies this will be sufficient advertising to ensure a wide selection of appropriately qualified candidates. Increasingly, departments are advertising only on the University’s web pages and jobs.ac.uk. These sites are inexpensive and effective methods of advertising, and many successful candidates are attracted to vacancies via these routes.
If it is necessary to advertise vacancies more widely, thought should be given to which methods are most appropriate. This may include placing the advertisement on other relevant web sites, circularising institutions, organisations or networks employing potentially eligible candidates, or placing an advertisement in print media, for which TMP advertising agency should be used. TMP can advise on appropriate media for different roles, and will provide circulation figures and cost estimates.
1. Web advertising
Internet copy usually costs significantly less and can be published more quickly than press copy. However, web adverts should still be concise and well structured. People read very differently online, partly because the screen is tiring on the eye, and partly because of the way people interact with websites – scanning and scrolling down the screen. Web copy should be written and formatted for the scanning reader. Paragraphs should be short - half as long as they would be in a press advert. It is far more engaging for jobseekers to scroll down, scanning headers and digesting short paragraphs as they go.
Before you start writing an advert for the web, explore the site you are going to use and look at adverts for roles that are similar to the one you want to advertise, to enable you to get a feel for what works. Key information should be placed at the top of the advert, as only 2-3 lines of text are shown initially when adverts are searched.
Most jobsite search engines use keywords to help jobseekers narrow their searches so you will need to decide on the ones you want to use. These might be related to the job title, sector, key aspects of the role, core competencies, or qualifications. Keywords tend to be factual and specific, such as ‘higher education”, “postdoctoral”, or “research”, not subjective words like “dynamic”, “proactive” or “challenging”.
The importance of the job title
It is particularly important in an online advert to use a job title that is familiar to the external world as this is more likely to attract the right people to apply for your role. The job title is likely to feature in keyword searches so it is important that it accurately describes the role, bearing in mind the prescribed job titles outlined in the Code of Practice for the Employment and Career Development of Research Staff. In some cases you may wish to use a more generic job title for the external advertisement and a more specific title in the further particulars which would be more appropriate in a university context.
Clear introductory information
The first 20 to 30 words in an online advert are crucial as these often appear in the summary directly below the job title, before the reader has to click for further information. You should ensure that your first one or two sentences are informative and compelling.
2. Directional ('signpost') advertising
Directional advertising in the print media can be used to guide people to the vacancy website where full information is provided about the job and the employer. These can be useful where an online only advert may not reach a broad audience. The advert copy should be short (typically 50 words or fewer) and focused on the key aspects of the post and any essential selection criteria (filters).