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Writing Job Descriptions: Part 2 – Formatting

8 mins read

This article is written to provide you with details on job description formatting and why it would be beneficial to have a consistent standard for your business.

In our fast-paced society, we are rapidly inundated with copious amounts of information, which has tailored our brains to receive and learn quicker. As our minds continue to adapt to this way of learning, we continue to generally look to attain knowledge and understanding quickly, in order to make a fast decision.

Have you ever found yourself critiquing a job posting because the description document was cluttered? Or you found it hard to understand the content because there was just too much visual stimulation? If you have, chances are others have too.

When searching for new job opportunities, applicants generally want to understand the position quickly, which it why we recommend writing your job descriptions in a consistent “easy to read” format which aligns to your company’s brand.

What does “easy to read” formatting mean? Simply put, you want to format the job description so that it is quick to read and easy on the eyes. When there is too much visual stimulation happening, applicants can become distracted with what they are seeing instead of spending time focused on the written content where the details are to be read.

An effective job description should take generally maximum 2 minutes to read, which may not be accomplished if applicants are overloaded by visual stimulants. Which is why we recommend creating a job description that is clean, clutter-free, and with limited formats.

Have you ever considered that the job descriptions posted online are another way for your company to market itself to the public? Remember, you are not only advertising for a vacant role, you are also marketing your company’s brand. We want your business to attract the right talent and one of the best methods to capture the eyes of the public is to have an effective job description that reflects your company’s professional image.

Standardize the Job Description’s Template Format

When creating your template, think of it as a marketing tool for your company, ensure to use your organizations branding initiatives by using the primary logo, font, colour, stock photo, motto, etc.

Header and Footer

For the templates Header, have your company’s logo and a title such as “Careers with Company XYZ”, as this reminds applicants what company’s job description they are reading. If you have a company stock photo that you would like to use as a banner, add it in! Just keep in mind that you may need to adjust the photo’s dimensions so the image fits across the page clearly.

For an added marketing opportunity, include the company’s motto, tagline, or vision summary in the Footer of the template.

Preferred Margin Layout

We suggest using document margins that allow you to use up as much white (retail) space as possible, just make sure the written content does not run off or is too close to the edge the page. Margins are adjusted under Page Setup, Margins.

    • Top: 2.65” or 6.73cm
    • Bottom: 0.85” or 2.16cm
    • Left and Right: 0.75” or 1.91cm
    • Gutter: 0” or 0cm

Preferred Paragraph Spacing

Since you want to use up as much retail space as possible (and look visually appealing), you will want to align your written content to the margins parameters instead of having staggered ends to written content… which can look messy. Adjustments are done under Paragraph Setup, Indents and Spacing.

    • Alignment: Justified
    • Spacing Before: 0pt
    • Spacing After: 6pt
    • Line Spacing: Multiple at 1.08

There is a disclaimer box that reads “Don’t add space between the paragraphs of the same style”, make sure to check this box.

Branding Formats

Colours

If your company uses multiple colours in its pallet, we recommend sticking to the company’s primary colour to limit visual over stimulation. Just note that some colours are difficult on the eyes to read such as yellow or fluorescent green, blue, etc.

Font

We recommend using font styles such as Arial, Helvetica (my personal favourite), Calibri, or Times New Roman, since our eyes are accustomed to reading material based on these fonts.

Headers are used to break the job descriptions into clearly defined sections such as Roles, Qualifications, Responsibilities, Working Conditions, etc. You want the headers to stand out from the rest of the written content by using your company’s primary colour for the font and using a larger font size such as 12pt, it’s not too big and not too small.

Written Content relates to the words that are being read and should explain the positions roles, responsibilities, and expectations. We suggest using font colour black and size 10.5pt. By using this format, the written content format is visually separate from the headers and the readers are not bombarded with large print.

Pro Tip: We recommend using bullet points to summarize the positions qualifications, responsibilities, working conditions, etc. It can be visually exhausting and intimidating to applicants to read if everything is written in block paragraphs, try to only use paragraphs when introducing the role and company details.

Now that you understand why it is important to consider formatting when writing your job descriptions and have the suggested template and branding formats, please stay tuned for part 3 of this article series, Standard Job Description Information, where we discuss what information should be included when writing an effective job description.

Remember Recruitment Marketing 101, keep your job descriptions clear and clutter-free, as our minds can be easily distracted from the written content when our eyes are exposed to various visual stimulants.

Download the Job Description Writing – Package.

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Visit our Resource Library for all available downloads.

If you require assistance with any of the guides, forms or templates, please contact a BIG representative.

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