A Job Description is Not a Job Advert

Written by: Lucy Walters
Published on: 24 Feb 2021

For pharma recruiters, one of the easiest mistakes to make when advertising a job vacancy is to simply copy and paste the information from your job description, into the copy of your job advert. 

Whilst both are important to the recruitment process, job adverts and descriptions shouldn’t be identical copies of the same information, presented in the same way. To help you decide how to differentiate your job adverts from your job descriptions, we’ve outlined some of the key differences between the two, including those in their purposes, audiences, content and formatting. 


As we discussed in our recent article talking about job posting quick wins, a job advert acts as a mini marketing and sales tool for your company; created with the purpose of making a job with you as enticing as possible to potential candidates, with the aim of attracting the best talent.

Rather than aiming to sell your company to potential candidates, the purpose of a job description is to inform them of the expectations of the role with detailed information on day-to-day responsibilities, long and short-term goals and person specifications.  

So, with job adverts focusing on selling and job descriptions focusing on telling, it’s vital that the content of each is tailored toward these goals. 


Job adverts should highlight the key benefits of the role and should make it clear why candidates would want to work for you as opposed to another employer within the Life Sciences industry. When creating your job advert, put yourself in the shoes of a jobseeker and think about which aspects of the role are the most desirable, and which opportunities given by the role are the most unique.

In terms of job descriptions, it’s likely that the individual reading it will have already been pulled in by an advert or referral, so although giving more details about the benefits listed in the job advert is a good idea, you don’t need to focus as much on selling them to potential candidates. Instead, use your description as a way to give candidates as much information about the role as possible to help them clearly decide whether or not they are qualified for it, and whether or not they are interested in applying.

Job Title

If the role you’re advertising has a niche or wordy title that’s very specific to your company, simplify it as best you can in your advert to make it easily recognisable. This will help your advert be found on both search engines and job boards and should generate a higher click through rate for potential candidates.

The full job title can be included in the job description, where more context about the role can be found amongst the detailed information of its responsibilities and how it fits in with the rest of the company’s operations. 


Most candidates won’t have the time to read every single job advert they see from top to bottom. So, instead of overloading them with reams of information about your role, only include those aspects of it that will make them want to take further action. Keep it short, punchy and selective to increase your engagement.

Your job description is the place for the more detailed responsibilities of the role, as well as those aspects of it that aren’t going to be huge selling points. If you’ve kept to a short and punchy job advert, make sure to expand on the key points you mentioned in your job description and make them easy to find.

Internal Jargon

Although industry-specific jargon will be important in helping a candidate decide whether-or-not they’re qualified for a role, including too much internal jargon in your job advert is an easy way to put candidates off. To deliver the main benefits of your role, you need to do so in a way that’s easy to understand, so find a balance between being specific about the role without overcomplicating things in your advert.

Whilst jargon is more appropriate for job descriptions, it’s still good practice to make sure the expectations of the role are delivered as clearly as possible, only using specialist terminology where necessary.

Company Culture

As your company culture could act as a big selling point for your role, you should let this shine through in your job advert rather than your description. Especially if you have a way of working that’s unique in the Life Sciences industry, make this is clear as possible in your advert.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

When writing a job advert, it’s important to think about how your advert is going to be found by potential candidates online. Using keywords throughout your advert is a good way to get your job found on both search engines and job boards.

For job descriptions, it’s likely that the document will be read in the format of a saved document such as a PDF, and so using things like keywords aren’t as important, although they will remind candidates throughout your description of the nature of the role. 


With job adverts, you need to consider how jobseekers are going to be reading your advert and optimising it for mobile use, as it’s likely to be information uploaded onto a webpage or job board rather than a separate document. As mentioned above, this is less of a concern with job descriptions as file formats such as PDFs are easily adaptable to different devices.

However, one thing you could consider is making sure that the content in your job description is broken down into shorter paragraphs with bullet point lists rather than long sentences to make sure it’s easy to digest for candidates on the go. 


Taking the time to plan your job advert instead of copy and pasting from your job description will pay off in the long run and is definitely worth the extra effort. The key thing to remember is that a job advert is intended to engage candidates, whilst a job description should inform them, so consider this when deciding which piece of information to put where, and how you want to present it. 

Visit PharmiWeb.Jobs for more advice on pharma and Life Sciences recruitment.