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Language, not Salary, King as Perfect Job Ad Revealed to Be Just 140 Words

Language, not Salary, King as Perfect Job Ad Revealed to Be Just 140 Words finds & lsquo;must’, & lsquo;knowledge’ and & lsquo;responsibilities’ turn off jobseekers

Salary and company info shown not to generate additional applications

Least popular ads 55 per cent longer, at 217 words

 & lsquo;position’, & lsquo;service’ and & lsquo;opportunity’ used most frequently for popular ads

With the hunt for jobs becoming more competitive than ever, a leading job board today revealed that language, not salary information, was key to attracting the most job applications to a vacancy., which operates the UK’s largest network of regional job boards, used findings from the most popular job ads by sector, analysis of its own database of more than 220,000 vacancies and insight from top psychologists, finding that word count and language were king when it came to generating the most applications.

Analysis of the most applied-for jobs found that 140 words was the optimum length for a job specification. Conversely, data from the vacancies that garnered the least applications showed they had an average word count 55 per cent higher, at 217 words.

Word choice is paramount to jobseeker interest, revealed, with & lsquo;booster’ words common amongst the most popular ads & lsquo;position’, & lsquo;service’ and & lsquo;opportunity’ were the most frequently used words for these posts (excluding the top word - work), contrasting with & lsquo;must’, responsibilities’ and & lsquo;knowledge’ for the vacancies that generated the least applications.

The job board also revealed that sector-specific language is necessary to drive applications, demonstrating that employers and recruiters need to tailor their job ads accordingly. & lsquo;Campaign’, & lsquo;experience’ and & lsquo;techniques’ were the best words to use for attracting the most candidates to media-related posts, whereas the words & lsquo;support’ & lsquo;people’ and & lsquo;assistance’ generated the highest levels of response for medical vacancies.

Controversially, found that including details of salary would not generate increased applications for a vacancy, neither would including detailed company information. The study of the most and least popular job ads by application had similar percentages in terms of those that contained this information.

The research also revealed that job ads varied greatly in length based on sector. The most popular manufacturing job ads were found to be the most brief, having an average count of just 113 words, with education job specs being the most lengthy at nearly three times that amount (316 words).’s formula for writing the perfect job ad:

140 words optimum (although slight sector-based variations are permissible)

Include the three general booster words of & lsquo;position’, & lsquo;service’ and & lsquo;opportunity’

Three Sector-specific & lsquo;booster’ words (see table below)



Booster words


skills, quality, vehicle


experience, courses, aspire


client, contract, experienced


general, stock, production


campaign, experience, techniques


support, assistance, people


managing, candidate, looking


ambitious, team, organisation

Professor Cary Cooper CBE, Distinguished Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health, Lancaster University Management School, said: “Crafting the perfect job ad is not an easy task, as it’s a difficult balancing act between including all the relevant information to attract the best candidates, but without going into too much detail and boring job seekers. Based on this research, 140 words would be the ideal length.

“Specific words have been shown to drive maximum views and applications amongst key sectors, clearly showing that employers need to linguistically tailor their job ads to the correct sector in order to attract the largest number and highest calibre of candidates.

“In general, writing the perfect job ad is something that requires skill and expertise, but using certain guiding principles, all employers should be able to craft something that is attractive to job seekers and able to generate interest from the best candidates.”

Geraldine Finn, Managing Director of, said: “In a competitive jobs market it’s more important than ever that employers tailor their adverts to attract the best possible candidates.

“Our research findings offer insight and guidance into how to craft a job ad that will appeal to specific sectors, with word count and & lsquo;booster’ words shown to have significant bearing on the levels of response a job ad will generate.

“We believe our findings will enable employers and recruiters to better tailor job ads that attract the most relevant jobseekers from a wide pool of quality candidates.”

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