How to write a job description for next gen talent (and free template you can use)

Write a five-star job description to attract next gen talent to your company.

Attracting emerging talent is more important than ever before. Millennials and Generation Z will be 75 per cent of the workforce by 2025. As demographics change, so do talent needs. Home to North America’s largest co-op/intern program, we analyzed over 37,000 job descriptions posted in the last three years on our recruitment platform, WaterlooWorks. Based on our findings, here’s what you need to know when writing a job description that appeals to emerging talent.

Download the job description template

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Job description essentials and tips (what you need in your postings)

Job descriptions need to have job title, location, summary, responsibilities, skill requirements, compensation and benefits. We recommend you include the following six things in your job description:

1) Job title

What’s the first impression your job title leaves with a candidate? While creative titles can be attractive, they mislead and consume time to find. Job titles such as ‘numbers ninja’ versus ‘accountant’ get lost in keyword searches. Accurate job titles can help you receive more applicants and get the right applicants with an active interest in that field.

2) Location and employment arrangement

To attract the right applicants, it is important for students to understand expectations about where they will be working and the employment arrangement (remote, in-person, hybrid). Be clear in your description and highlight any details about expectations for in-person/on-site work, relocation details, or transportation benefits your company provides.

3) Job summary

Highlight who you are as a company/organization and your impact in the community in your job summary. Purpose and values in the workplace are more than buzz words. Showcase why the role is important and how applicants will make a difference. Start with ‘you’ versus ‘I’.Applicants want to know how the role benefits them. Focus your summary on what applicants bring to the table versus what you want.

4) Job responsibilities

Emerging talent wants to know what they will do in the role. Be transparent in your description. List what the applicant is accountable for and who they will work with. This gives a clear understanding of what to expect and helps them to better prepare for an interview.

5) Skill requirements

Future-ready skills are a hot topic. Be sure to include any hard skills, soft skills and education requirements for this job. List all the core skills the ideal applicant needs to succeed in the role. Highlight skills that would be “nice to have” so applicants know what gives them an edge with your company.

6) Compensation and benefits

Providing salary information (amount, range, etc.) and any other benefits or perks your organization offers (e.g., mentoring programs, professional development opportunities, parking/transit passes), can help students make informed decisions. It can also increase your chances of finding the right student and filling your role.

Four ways to strengthen your job posting

  1. Include themes popular with emerging talent. Increase the number of applications you receive on your job posting. A study conducted by the Work-Learn Institute found that job descriptions that included these themes received a higher number of applications:
    • Company culture
    • Programming languages
    • Food and games
    • Employer values
    • Compensation
    • Career development
  2. These areas increase interest: learning opportunities, making an impact and linking academics to work. A recent study with Gen Z participants, published by our Work-Learn Institute, highlights these three interests that lead to more engagement in preparing for an application.
  3. Inclusion matters. Highlight your diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy as applicants want inclusive workplaces. Ensure your postings’ skills and required experience includes all backgrounds. Are accommodations offered? Did you include your diversity statement? All things to consider.
  4. Show you care. Above all, Gen Z and millennials want an employer that cares about their well-being. This can be shown by highlighting career mobility opportunities, upskilling and reskilling, work-life balance, health and wellness programs and financial incentives. Want to learn more? Check out our Gen Z guide!

High performing job description examples

Our research on high impact job descriptions. See what job descriptions get the most applications.

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Best practices before and after posting a job

We have more for you: four best practices before and after posting a job. These are important in a digital world!

  1. Manage your online reputation. Platforms such as Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn and Facebook have changed the job seeking experience. Employees now provide candid testimonials about their experience. Track and respond to reviews both positive and negative.
  2. Be available. There are about 60 –70 job scams for every legitimate job posting. This makes candidates warier than ever before. Having a business email address on your postings will add legitimacy to your posting.
  3. Remove job postings once filled! Don’t’ leave a bad impression with applicants by having them apply for a job that is no longer available. Remove postings as soon as you have top tiers candidates to choose from.
  4. Track your job posting frequency. A job posted several times may signal that the company or department has a high turnover rate. This often indicates a poor work environment.