Do very few people respond to your job ads? Then you might wonder if the job you’re offering is interesting enough. Often, though, it has nothing to do with the job offered. It’s the readability that’s a problem. Many job ads are written at a language level that is too difficult for most people to understand. That’s a real problem. Because if people don’t understand something, they won’t continue to read it. And, as a result, they don’t apply.
This is especially crucial now that diversity and inclusion are becoming more and more important. Do you want to attract a diverse group of qualified candidates for a job? Then you need job ads that everyone can understand. Job ads that are written at language level B1. Because that is the language level that the majority of the population (60%) can understand.
The various language levels
The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) distinguishes six different language levels:
- A1 and A2: the basic user
- A1: The language is very simple. The sentences are often separated by breaks.
- A2: The language is simple. The words are highly frequent, known from one’s own language or belong to international vocabulary. The sentences are often separated by breaks.
- B1 and B2: the independent user
- B1: This involves straightforward standard language that is within one’s own area of expertise or interest.
- B2: The use of language is more complex.
- C1 and C2: the expert user
- C1: Vocabulary and grammatical construction are complex. Idioms and implicit meanings are used.
- C2: The language is complex. Idioms and unclear sentence structures without explicit signal words are used.
Language level C2 is the most difficult to understand, and A1 is the easiest to understand. The language level that the majority are able to read and understand is B1. Do you want to improve the readability of your job ads? Then you need to write them at a B1 level.
How to write a language level B1
Writing at language level B1 is important for the readability of your job ads. But how do you make sure that your job ads aren’t too difficult to understand? You can make use of:
- lists (particularly using bullet points, like we do here);
- short paragraphs (three to five sentences);
- easy-to-scan subtitles;
- short sentences; and
- readable fonts.
And then there are tools you can use to clarify your content. Like the website synonym.com and our own Textmetrics platform. Textmetrics has a readability module that you can use to identify the language level of your job ad. And it gives you real-time suggestions on how to reach the desired B1 language level. Perhaps you’ll need to spell out certain words. Or cut back a number of sentences. The platform guides you through the steps to end up with job ads written at language level B1. It’s the language level that Google understands best as well. So, it will also make your job ad easier to find online.
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