How to Optimize Your IT Job Description

Remember that you’re searching for humans who are looking for ways to connect and be relevant.

You are likely expecting this to be all about search engine optimization. Blah blah blah keywords, and all that SEO black magic. Okay, we’ll zoom through all that in a single paragraph so we can get to what’s really important.

Use all variations of a job title. Abbreviations are acceptable, because remember that you’re talking to people who use them. Don’t forget to include the location of the job posting, keeping in mind that it’s helpful to include a geographic identifier in case applicants aren’t familiar with where you are. Use social media to amplify your reach. And finally, be mobile friendly. Your best candidates are probably using their smartphones to search for new opportunities. If they’re searching at all.

Now, on to the most important optimization tip.

For the time being, you’re still looking for humans—not robots. You have to appeal to humans. There’s no mystery in coming up with effective job titles that do the heavy lifting of letting candidates know what this job is all about. Cloud Migration Project Manager.

Check. Gotcha. Candidates will want details, but right away they know what’s going on with this opportunity. Do you think the same thing might happen if you used Cloud Migration Project Manager Level IV?

One of the biggest mistakes hiring managers make is communicating their needs to the outside using their own internal language. Let’s be honest. Adding the label of Level Anything after a job title speaks volumes—and probably not in a way you want to be heard. It says, “Hey, come and play in our corporate labyrinth. Everybody here gets sliced up into hierarchical levels. Putting you in your place is so important to us that it’s the first thing we want you to know about our company, so we put it in the job descriptions.”

Move past being chastised if your ears are ringing because this what you do. You’ve got some important positions to fill with high-quality talent.

So, getting back to appealing to humans.

Our favorite question is—and will always be— “why?” The best “because” answers are explanatory stories. That’s because our languages have evolved from storytelling. We learned to communicate in order to explain things.

You shouldn’t have to explain the technical aspects of the job. Viable candidates will already be intimately familiar with that, and they should speak the lexicon. Move that assumption aside. It’s not part of the story you need to tell.


Your job description must answer that “why” question. You’re not going to explain why you need a cloud migration project manager if it gives away information about organizational strategy. Move away from that, too.

Focus, instead, on why an outside human who just happens to be a project management expert in cloud computing would want to join the collection of humans who make up the company. The lazy way is to include a link to the “About Us” page on the company website.

Consider what this communicates. “Hey, we’re too busy to take the time to distill our value proposition and include it in this job posting so you’ll have a compelling reason to want to be our new cloud migration project manager.”

Decision chains

We already know that there’s a fast-shrinking pool of available IT talent. We already know the really awesome people in this field are off the market. If they’re seeking, it’s passively. Consider what ads for car tires are like for you when you’re not in the market for car tires. They’re invisible.

You need a top-level cloud migration project manager. Unless there’s something really and truly out different about this position—say, the installation is in a monastery so speaking out loud will be prohibited—your pool of candidates already gets the picture of what’s expected. Besides, those details are best discussed in person with your top selections.

So, what you need more than the cloud migration project manager is a way to differentiate why top IT talent should consider your open position instead of the countless others out there just like it. You need a story that appeals to the human being who possesses all that cloud migration project management expertise.

Optimize your IT job description using SEO so it gets in front of the right talent. That’s just the first step—and it is important. What’s more important, however, is connecting at a human level. Use the description to tell a compelling story. Explain why.

Robots don’t care. But you need humans. They need a connection that puts your organization into their worldview.

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