In this inspiration article, we share ten tips for writing the perfect vacancy ad!
But a good vacancy that actually converts is of course more than that. Content and tone should exactly match the volunteer you have in mind. That's why I'm sharing ten practical tips to help you become the best job writer ever.
It's obvious, but every good copywriter has his target group in mind while writing. Is this target group made up of older or younger people? Are they mainly men or women? Do they come from the neighbourhood or from all over the country? And what are their interests? Such questions are best answered before writing a job ad. By translating the target group into the ideal volunteer, who you can even give a name and face, you can create a very personalised text with a tone and content that will immediately appeal to the real volunteers.
Who can best tell what a function within your organisation entails? The existing volunteers of course! Approach one or more volunteers who have the same function as the position for which the vacancy is open. Interview them briefly about what their activities amount to in practice and also let them tell you what skills or characteristics they need to do their job well. Are there no volunteers with the same job? Then ask volunteers whose work is somewhat similar or the person who supervises the volunteers.
This is such an important point that I already mentioned it in my previous blog. I would like to repeat it: choose an appealing job title that immediately gives clarity to what is expected from the volunteer. Titles like 'volunteer' or 'help wanted' usually don't result in much conversion. Instead, go for a concrete job title that also says something about the environment or the people the volunteer will be in contact with. Administrative wizard for homeless centre' or 'Communication talent with a heart for the oceans' are clear descriptions with a positive tone. Because the name of the organisation is mentioned directly under the job title in our job board (and also in most other job boards), you do not need to include it in the title.
Unfortunately, your vacancy is not the only one in a job board. Also, the attention span of potential volunteers is sometimes short. Therefore, get straight to the point in two to three sentences at the most: what kind of vacancy is it and who can best fill it? You can give more information after the introduction. Think about the frequency of volunteering, possible job requirements, examples of activities and information about the organisation.
It is better not to write from the point of view of the organisation, but from the point of view of the interested volunteer. Do not write: 'we find it important that the volunteer is caring', but: 'you are a caring type'. Why? 'We' and 'us' can sound vague, especially if the volunteer does not know your organisation at all. By using 'you' or 'you' it is easier for the volunteer to put him/herself in the position and assess whether it suits him/her. You' is also an option, but only recommended if the target group is middle-aged or senior.
Just like when defining a job title, it is important to be concrete in the rest of the vacancy text as well. Fluffy or officious descriptions such as 'the volunteer must be able to work together with the coordinator within the context of organising overall events' raise more questions than they clarify. Use the input you have received from existing volunteers about their activities and job requirements and use this to write sentences such as 'you can work well with others' and 'you are not afraid of organising large events'.
Talking about job requirements: make sure your vacancy text is not full of them. That puts off people who in practice could have been very suitable volunteers. Choose the three most important requirements (again, you can do this in consultation with existing volunteers) and write them down.
This is a tricky one, because even the best copywriters sometimes fall for clichés. Phrases such as 'we are a young and dynamic organisation' are so common that they quickly rise to the surface when you are drafting a text. Try to think a little further and use less common descriptions. In this case, "energetic" or "empowered" would be good alternatives. Proverbs and sayings should also be avoided as they can make a text look old-fashioned and not everyone knows them.
It will not surprise you that more than half of 18-30 year olds use their smartphones when looking for a job. I assume that this target group also uses their phone when looking for volunteer work. Therefore, keep your job ads short and use more rather than fewer paragraphs - it looks better on a small screen.
Journalists have an editor-in-chief. Copywriters have clients who read critically. Texts improve as a result, so why should you do without feedback? Have your vacancy text read by the volunteers you interviewed and/or by a coordinator. We bet that they will notice spelling mistakes or have additions to make. Afterwards, also ask the new volunteer who joined the organisation via your job ad for feedback. He or she can judge perfectly well after the start whether the text was good in tone and content. The volunteer can also indicate what might need to be changed in the text to better reflect reality.