McClatchy May 23, 2023 4:04:00 PM

How to Use Keywords in Your Job Posting to Get More Applicants


The people working at a company are the most important asset any organization can have, and attracting the right kind of employees is a critical part of business success. Of course, online job postings are essential to getting applicants nowadays and ultimately winning over top talent to your brand. 

One of the best ways to optimize your job postings is to strategically incorporate keywords in your descriptions. Let's discuss the purpose of keywords, how you can develop a keyword list for your next posting, and how to use keywords to make your descriptions more appealing to candidates. 


The Purpose of Keywords in Job Postings 

Keywords play an essential role in effective job postings. Online job boards function under many rules that apply to general search engines like Google. In other words – when a job seeker is searching for a particular type of posting, the returned results depend largely on the keywords included in the posting's title and description. 

For example, if someone is looking for work-from-home opportunities, postings that include keywords like "remote," "fully remote," "hybrid," or "WFH" are most likely to show up as top results. Therefore, it's important to use the right keywords in your postings so that they'll get in front of the best candidates. 

Tips to Develop a Keyword List 

What are some best practices to keep in mind while exploring which keywords to use? Here are some points to consider: 

  • Conduct keyword research ahead of time.You want to know which keywords are most popular among job seekers, especially regarding your specific industry. It may also help to see which keywords your competitors are using and which ones may be easier to rank for. That research will help you figure out which keywords to frame your job posting around. 
  • Select keywords based on clarity.While you want to rank high for specific search queries, it's also vital that you clearly communicate to applicants what the job requires. For that reason, pick keywords that best fit the role you're trying to fill. Never sacrifice clarity to achieve a higher ranking since this will almost certainly backfire in the long run. 
  • Include industry or brand-specific terms. Including industry- or brand-specific keywords is often useful, especially if you're looking for candidates with a specialized skill set. For example, many tech roles may require knowledge of particular programming languages or platforms, such as C#, ASP.NET, JavaScript, Microsoft Visual Studio, etc. While you don't want your job description to dive too deep into jargon, you also want to attract applicants familiar with the tools and technologies associated with the open position. 

Weave in Keywords to Appeal to Applicants 

Besides technical keywords, it's also important to include words and phrases that make your job posting as appealing as possible to potential applicants. After all, you want your company to stand out as an attractive environment in which to work — and if it does, you can expect a higher number of well-qualified candidates to apply for your open roles. 

Some examples of appealing keywords that you may be able to weave into your title and description (depending on the specific parameters of the role) include: 

  • "Collaborative workplace" 
  • "Flexible schedule" 
  • "Competitive pay" 
  • "Exceptional benefits package" 
  • "Make your own schedule"  
  • "Supportive culture" 

You'll need to find a balance between optimizing your postings and conveying the specifics of the role and its value. Remember that you don't want your job posting to be too long. A three-page treatise on the position will likely scare away a large proportion of your audience. In contrast, a job posting that's only a few paragraphs long — and is both appealing and specific — will be much more effective in grabbing candidates' interest. 

Partner with McClatchy to Optimize Your Keywords in Job Postings 

Choosing the right keywords to include in your job postings is vital in attracting top talent to your company. By making your keywords pertain to the most relevant search queries, you can use them to clarify the requirements of each role. That ensures they are as appealing as possible and gain the most attention from well-qualified candidates who can positively impact your company. 

Of course, all this is easier said than done. Many business owners and managers have found that partnering with an experienced recruitment marketing agency is the best option for winning over top-tier talent. If you'd like to explore this option in more detail, contact our team of friendly experts at McClatchy today.  

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