How to Write Miraculous Ads
Austin-based ad firm seeks gopher for odd jobs and small projects. Mail room work. Some lifting required. Must be reliable and have own car. $1,500/mo.
What’s this ad really saying? To the prospective employee, it speaks of limited opportunity and meaningless work. It firmly necessitates that the prospect be nothing more than an uncreative widget mover without ambition; a dolt. In all probability; the ad will attract those who are suitable only for odd jobs and small projects. Is that the employee you’re looking for? Or would you rather have this one? Entry Level Opportunity of a Lifetime.
Have a look at this one below:
Are you dependable and resourceful? Do you have lots of energy, intuition, and initiative? Do you dress well, have computer skills? Are you willing to pick up clients at the airport, wash dishes, vacuum carpets, conduct telephone surveys, run errands, and do all the other things we don’t have time to do? We are an advertising firm with clients nationwide and we need a super-gopher. No whiners. No lazy people. Nobody with too many “personal commitments.” South Austin. $1,500/mo.
Now, what is this ad really saying? To me, it said everything. A week out of college, I saw my future in this ad. Though the ad clearly denoted the grunt work involved in the job, it did so in the form of a challenging question: Can you handle it, punk? Hell, yes, I said. Especially if it meant I could be energetic and intuitive and use my initiative at the entry-level opportunity of a lifetime working for an advertising firm.
I’m no whiner, I’m not lazy, I said. I couldn’t wait to call. I was, most certainly, their man. As it turns out, more than 220 other applicants thought I was wrong. But I beat’em all!
Writing Classified Ads for Employment
Rule 1) The ad should be about the employee, not the job. Right now, someone is perusing the classifieds who is perfect for the position you hope to fill. If only you could figure out how to motivate him. Like you and me; this person has aspirations, interests, and strengths. So how do you make your ad more compelling than the others? What is the magic ingredient that will make your ad irresistible? You need only describe the person you hope to find! Speak to his aspirations, interests, and strengths.
Your dream employee will probably not know of your business. He will not recognize the job you detail. You can, however, be confident that he will recognize himself when that is who you describe. He will see himself in the words you choose, the actions you prescribe, and the admirable traits you require. “That’s me!” he will cry. “What a perfect fit! Honey, where’s the phone? ‘Cause today is the start of the rest of my life!”
Rule 2) Questions are the answer. There’s nothing more irresistible than a question. Have you ever tried to ignore one? Have you ever read a question that was aimed at you and completely escaped thinking about the answer? I doubt it. If, in your classified ads; you are willing to ask for exactly what you want, you will probably get it. By raising the bar and challenging a prospect to answer your questions, you will weed out the losers and energize the winners.
- “Do you believe the best is yet to come?”
- “Are you willing to take risks?”
- “Can you make a difference in our company?”
However, when your future employee reads a description of herself in your ad, she will feel like she’s looking into a mirror. “Wow!” she will think. “What serendipity! This is the position I was born to fill!”
Rule 3) You get what you pay for. You already know that the cheapest option is rarely the best. In fact, life has probably taught you that when something really matters, the best thing to do is to spend a little extra. This is certainly true for classified ads. Stingy, short, choppy ads communicate a lack of respect for the position. They give the impression that you really don’t care. They effectively say, “Take it or leave it.” Most will leave it.
Nonetheless, classifieds ads are no different than ads that sell a product or service. If you want a classified ad to be boring, write about the job. If you want it to work miracles, write about the person you hope to find, and don’t be stingy with your words.
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