Writing the Advertisement
The following guide provides the key elements to writing an effective U of A position advertisement.
Writing effective advertisements is the best way to market the job and will ultimately bring in the highest caliber candidates. The following are a few items to think about when writing the ad.
- Sell the Job. To the extent that it's feasible, appropriate and cost-effective, craft the language to sell the department and the University. Consider what features of the job, the department, or the University that would especially appeal to the candidates you want to attract. Often the department's web site highlights interesting facts or information that may be useful in selling the job.
- Sell the Benefits. Benefits are often a great way to sell a job or the advantages of working at the University of Arizona. Pick and choose from what the University offers, from the standard benefits, to the tuition waiver, ticket discounts, access to UA facilities, museums, events, flexible schedules, etc. If ad space is at a premium, sometimes a brief statement will help generate interest: Salary: $33K + outstanding UA benefits!
- Format. Research the format of the targeted publication or web site. Create an outline of the information, both required and desired, to be included in the ad. Note word count restrictions and the use of certain conventions, such as the use of ampersands (&) and other abbreviations to reduce ad size.
- Style. Each publication has a distinct style. For instance, ad copy for the Chronicle of Higher Education would be less likely to feature the abbreviations and incomplete sentences often used in newspaper advertising.
- Match the posting. Base the ad copy on the information and language used on the official posting. This will ensure that advertised information does not conflict with the information stated on the posting.
- Make it easy to read. Make the ad visually attractive and easy on the eye by breaking text into small paragraphs and skipping lines in between. The white space between paragraphs helps to rest the reader's eye and serves to highlight the information contained in each paragraph.
- Emphasize. Use all caps or bold for emphasis, especially in titles. (Note that some publications will charge a higher bold rate for the whole ad, even if only one line is in bold type, but the increased visibility may be worth it.)
- Combine. If the department is advertising two or more positions in the same newspaper, combining both jobs in the same ad is an excellent way to increase visibility and, in most cases, save money. (Note that generally only newspapers accept combination classified ads; journals and other publications will only accept multiple positions in display advertising.)
The official name of the institution is The University of Arizona (small case "the" is acceptable within a sentence; capitalize "The" when used in titles).
The Arizona Daily Star and the Arizona Republic have the University logo on file and will include it on in-column classified ads. Many other publications will accept the UA logo in display ads only. The standard classified logo reads "The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona."
Applicants rely on accurate job titles in order to locate postings in person and on the web, and when submitting applications. For this reason, the entire job title should be written out as it appears on the official posting: Examples:
- Research Technician
- General Maintenance Mechanic
- University Attorney
- Secretary, Administrative (but never "Administrative Secretary")
- Systems Programmer, Senior ("Senior" may be abbreviated to "Sr.")
A complete listing of classified staff job titles is available on the Classified Staff Job Descriptions web page.
A working title that highlights an important aspect of the job may be used to attract readers, as long as the entire job title is used in the text of the ad. Example:
Department X invites applications for an Applications
Systems Analyst, Principal to develop and maintain
Several research databases.
In general, write out the department name. Examples:
- Facilities Management
- Steward Observatory
- Near Eastern Studies
Department names need not appear in the advertising title, though it is recommended. If not used in the ad title, the department name should appear in the text of the ad, preferably in the first line.
Using the official job posting as a guide, describe the position in one or two lines of text. Keep in mind that the ad text should highlight the position enough to stimulate the interest of potential applicants, and should not be intended to be an in-depth description of the job.
Avoid stating information in the ad text that is already provided in the ad title. For instance, if the ad title already states the position name and department, it should not be necessary to repeat this information in the first line of the ad.
Use action words to start sentences. Examples:
For clarity, avoid mixing qualifications into the text of the job description. Qualifications should be stated in separate sentences.
As a public institution, the University tends to be conservative in its approach to advertising. Avoid the temptation to use snappy, irrelevant wording that is sometimes seen in ads for private sector positions: "Top performers needed NOW for a fast-paced, rock 'n' roll environment!"
Qualifications stated in advertising must match the qualifications stated on the official job posting.
State qualifications clearly.
Avoid mixing minimum and preferred qualifications in the same sentence.
Applicants should easily recognize that minimums are mandatory, preferred are not.
Stating minimum qualifications are recommended because they help applicants to screen themselves.
If a minimum qualification is stated, however, that qualification must be stated in its entirety. Example:
Required: Bachelor's degree in a field appropriate to area of assignment AND two years of administrative/coordinative program experience; OR, six years of progressively responsible administrative/coordinative program experience.
Bachelor's degree required.
However, this ad could be shortened using some widely accepted abbreviations. Example:
Required: Bachelor's in appropriate field AND 2 yrs admin/coordinative program exp; OR, 6 yrs progressively responsible admin/coordinative program exp.
If all minimum qualifications are not stated in the ad, at least one method for obtaining full position details must be included. In most cases, the inclusion of the Human Resources web site is sufficient; otherwise applicants may be directed to the address where application materials are to be sent.
In most cases, information needs to be provided that directs readers to a site or location where the official job posting can be viewed. Examples:
- For more info. see hr.arizona.edu
- For full description of duties & qualifications, see posting at address below or hr.arizona.edu
- For full position details, see posting at address below
When providing the HR web address (the URL), the prefix "https://" need not be included. If the URL appears at the end of a sentence, the period may be omitted so that it isn't mistaken for part of the address, or the URL may be encased in angle brackets followed by a period <hr.arizona.edu>.
For some benefits-eligible positions, it may be a good idea to help "sell" the job and the UA by including a statement about the benefits offered. Examples:
We offer health, dental & life insurance, paid vacation, sick leave & holidays, tuition reduction for employee & qualified family, access to UA recreation facilities, state retirement & more.
The University offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes health, dental, life and disability insurance, retirement and pre-tax savings plans, auto and home insurance, child care programs, and tuition reduction for employee and qualified family.
Outstanding benefits include health/dental/life, paid vacation, sick leave & holidays, UA/ASU/NAU tuition reduction for employee & qualified family, state retirement, and more!
Inclusion of required application materials must be included in all position advertising, and must match precisely the materials required on the official job posting.
Because applicants are responsible for submitting the correct materials in order to be considered for the position, avoid language such as "interested applicants should submit..." or "complete applications should include..."
Job numbers must be referenced on all ads for Classified Staff positions in Tucson. Example:
- Please submit a cover letter (citing job #012345), resume, and the names and contact information for three references to...
- Please submit an official UA job specific application, citing job #012345, to ...
Job numbers are required to be included in the ad copy for any classified staff position located at the main UA campus in Tucson, or for any position where application materials are to be collected by Human Resources. This permits Human Resources to accurately reference the correct position when responding to applicant inquiries.
Though not required for positions in which the department collects application materials directly, the use of job numbers in ad text is still recommended.
In ad text, job numbers must appear either within the statement of required application materials, or as part of the job title, or both. Example:
- Please submit an official UA job specific application, citing job #012345, to...
- CUSTODIAN, LEAD (Job #012345)
An address for applicants to send the required application materials must be included in all position advertising, regardless of whether materials are collected by the individual departments or by Human Resources.
The stated address in the ad must be the same address indicated on the official job posting for sending application materials. The official addresses for application materials are:
- Main Campus Human Resources, 888 N. Euclid #114, P.O. Box 210158, Tucson AZ 85721-0158.
- UAHS Human Resources, 1451 North Warren Ave., P.O. Box 245010, Tucson AZ 85724-5010.
Materials collected by the individual department must show the address exactly as it is written on the posting, and should include Department Name, The University of Arizona, street address and/or P. O. Box, City/State/Zip, and contact or search committee name.
E-mail addresses should only be included if application materials can or will be accepted by the addressee, and should be listed after the street/mailing address.
The closing or first review date, as stated on the official posting, must be included in all position advertising. Closing dates should be stated as follows:
- For HR collects: Materials must be received by midnight, month/day/year.
- For Department collects: Materials must be received by month/day/year.
To prevent confusion, if an official UA job specific application is all that is being requested, the word "application" may be substituted in place of "materials." Example:
- Application must be received by midnight, month/day/year.
First review dates for open until filled positions should be stated as follows:
- Review of materials will begin month/day/year, and will continue until position is filled.
In some cases, it may be necessary to advertise an open until filled position after the first review date has passed. In such a case, and only if the publication date is after the posted first review date, the following statement may be used:
- Review of materials is ongoing and will continue until position is filled.
Please Note: If an ad is scheduled to be published following the first review date, then the position must remain open for at least five days following the ad's publication date to give applicants adequate time to respond.
The position announcement should include language strongly expressing the University’s commitment to diversity, specifically describing requirements to meet the diversity commitments of the department. This language sends a powerful message about our commitment to a diverse and inclusive University community and may result in a larger, more diverse candidate pool.
The University is required to provide public notice of its status as an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer on all recruitment materials, including bulletins, announcements, publications, and application forms. In those cases where advertising costs are a critical consideration, position announcements must minimally include the following statement:
Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Women/Vets/Disabled
Because this statement inadequately expresses the University of Arizona’s commitment to creating and sustaining a diverse and inclusive community, the recommended language for position announcements is more comprehensive:
At the University of Arizona, we value our inclusive climate because we know that diversity in experiences and perspectives is vital to advancing innovation, critical thinking, solving complex problems, and creating an inclusive academic community. As an Hispanic-serving institution, we translate these values into action by seeking individuals who have experience and expertise working with diverse students, colleagues, and constituencies. Because we seek a workforce with a wide range of perspectives and experiences, we provide equal employment opportunities to applicants and employees without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. As an Employer of National Service, we also welcome alumni of AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and other national service programs and others who will help us advance our Inclusive Excellence initiative aimed at creating a university that values student, staff and faculty engagement in addressing issues of diversity and inclusiveness.