Dear companies / organisations everywhere – why not make it easier for people to find your jobs? A little bit ranty :)

Executive Summary

A. Add a job vacancies page to your site and point jobs to it
– if everyone does this then all job seekers will know where they can find an organisation’s job information. See (1) below for more information.

If you don’t offer new jobs frequently enough to warrant a dedicated page please see (2) below.

Don’t force job seekers to log in to see your jobs. Ideally have a page listing all your jobs so visitors don’t have to search by location or by keyword. See (4) for more information.

B. Let visitors subscribe to your jobs page updates with an RSS feed
This also lets you push your information out automatically to Twitter and other places, as well as to people’s own RSS readers (eg Google reader). See (3) below for more info. Google likes pages that get refreshed.

C. For each new job ad consider if it could be done by two part-time people
If yes, or no, say so. This saves people having to ask you if you’d consider a part-time employee and saves you from having to answer. See (5) below for more.


Jo’s job-related wishes for 2012 – the short version
1. All organisations point “” to wherever their job vacancies page is
2. All organisations have an RSS feed for their jobs page

UPDATE: I’m keeping a list of organisations that are doing the first part of this (/jobs) here

The long version…
Most of the posts on this blog are aimed at people looking for a job but I am now appealing to anyone who has control of the jobs section of an organisation’s website. Hopefully anyone else reading this will send it to organisations and say “ooh isn’t this a good idea.”

1. OK where have you hidden your job vacancies this time?
Each website has its own site layout and one organisation might prefer to put its job vacancies under ‘About Us’ (I think that’s a great place!) and others might prefer to put it somewhere else (I’d really rather you didn’t but it’s your site).

Jobs are not just known as jobs though. Your organisation might refer to all matter relating to ‘jobs’ by other terms such as employment, recruitment, work with us, work for us, vacancies, job vacancies, opportunities etc. If your search algorithm doesn’t know to point these terms to wherever your vacancies are this makes it a bit harder to find them.

(The term ’employment’ (particularly on a medical charity site) might be aimed at people with a health condition who might experience discrimination in the job market.)

I keep a list of vacancies pages for organisations that look like they’ll employ science communicators of one form or another. Whenever I trawl through it to post jobs to this blog invariably a few of the pages will be ‘not found’.

It’s entirely up to you if you want to keep moving your jobs pages around when you’ve had a website facelift but why not set up a redirect so that anyone typing /jobs after your main website (domain) name will easily find jobs.

Lots of people are currently looking for jobs, let’s see if we can make it a bit easier for them to find them by persuading all organisations to add a redirect to or
– even if your jobs page is somewhere else on your site I’m pretty sure you can create a bespoke URL to point to it (someone tell me if I’m wrong).

Perhaps all the organisations that do this can add a badge to their site saying “we’ve made it easier for people to find jobs” 😀

Can we make this a meme-type ‘thing’ on the internet? How do we do that then? Should I print banners and rustle up a hashtag? I’m only half-joking.

2. We don’t have a vacancies page on our site – we’re a small organisation with low staff turnover
Fine, up to you, but why not bung a vacancies page on there anyway and only update it when you do have a job? That way people can bookmark it.

If you feel a static page is going to wreck your standing in Google (I’ve no idea if it really does but fair enough it might) why not cheat and say “we’ve got no jobs at present but here’s this interesting News feed RSS thingy we’ve got which updates content on this page at a delightful rate”, or if you have a Twitter account ping a widget on and feed in your tweets (or your favourited tweets).

You could even ask staff to answer some questions about “why it’s great to work here” and show off your talent. Or have information there about the organisational hierarchy and include some information about some of the roles you have (even if they’re not available).

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a page that just says “Sorry there are no vacancies at present” but you could decorate the page with other interesting information / content if you like.

And of course, wherever you position your page on your site remember to redirect /jobs to it point at it 🙂

3. Ha! We have a job vacancies page so there
Hooray. Lots of larger organisations do have these anyway because they naturally have a higher turnover of staff (or just more jobs) and so there are jobs appearing more regularly but unless my reasoning in point 2 is wrong I still think having such a page should be the ‘industry standard’.

But returning to the title of this post – why not make it easier for people to find your jobs – by creating an RSS feed.

An RSS feed saves someone clicking on your jobs page to see if it’s been updated with a new job. When you update your site the RSS that you’ve put in place sends a message to anyone who’s subscribed to tell them. It really is a marvellous invention.

Of course you can set up the RSS to point to your Twitter account, there are a variety of ways to do this. Everything I email to this blog is published as a post and pinged out to the @ScicommJobs twitter feed automatically by the Posterous software but there are things like Twitterfeed and If This Then That ( which can do the same.

Tony Hirst (@psychemedia)
helped me find some of the RSS feeds already available on organisations’ vacancies pages – look out for the orange RSS icons on the list of vacancies pages.

4. You do have a jobs page but people have to log in to read it
If you have a jobs board where you advertise other organisations’ jobs and make this available as a membership perk, fine. If you’re also hiding your own jobs… all I can say is that I have my disappointed face on.

5. You’ve advertised a full-time post but would you accept two part-time people?
If ‘yes’ then do please say so explicitly. Some organisations are great at this and have a little addendum saying “we would also consider two people applying part-time” or something to that effect. Some organisations don’t want to split their jobs into two, some are enthusiastic but those who are “OK” with it might need a bit of encouragement to make this more known. There are lots of good reasons why great people might prefer to work part-time. If your organisation has a checklist to go through when people bid for a new job, or when advertising a job after someone leaves, does it have anything about encouraging part-time workers? Diversity doesn’t just have to mean gender or ethnicity and people who do other things when they’re not working with you might bring something new ideas – invite them, don’t wait for them to ask if they can apply as a part-time person 🙂

Thanks for reading, and please share.


As if to prove that I really am a stuck record on this, here’s a suspiciously similar post I blogged in December. You will even see a reference in this post to an earlier bleat on the same topic 😉

Thoughts on job vacancies pages part two
Saturday, 24 December 2011

I have a new plan. I am going to try and persuade all organisations to add a page – /jobs – to their website and for it to be the official page on which their jobs are posted. For some organisations new jobs will appear infrequently (some orgs are small and have a low turnover of staff) in which case it might say for several months in the year “there are no vacancies at present”.

Not all organisations have a page like this, which would look something like or, presumably because they think it’s pointless having a non-regularly updated page that doesn’t have much on it.

I disagree.

1. If all organisations have such a page in existence (and we all agree to accept that some will be updated at slower rates than others) then it makes it an order of magnitude easier to find where that org keeps its jobs. Imagine if this was an industry standard. I’ve written about this before, sort of, in part one.

Also it would be very helpful if you could set your website search engine to point job, jobs, vacancy, vacancies, “work with us”, “work for us”, opportunities, recruitment, employment and any other synonyms you can think of to point to this /jobs page.

2. This adds an extra page to your website. By all means link it back to other pages in your site and do something clever with it for search engine optimisation.

3. You can add content about people you have working for you and what they do, thereby demonstrating that your organisation is a great place to work in.

4. Call me crazy but why not have some information about your jobs such as a few job descriptions, typical salaries and organisational structure, as well as copies of your application form and guidance on filling these in. I appreciate that job descriptions are very variable (as is organisational structure) but surely we can all agree that we won’t hold it against you if you put this information there. Feel free to put a disclaimer. 

5. If it’s an organisation that is likely to employ science communicators then I’ll list it on my great big list (two and a half years old and getting bigger) of ‘places where science communicators might work’.

So, please add a page to your site and make it easier for people to bookmark / link to / look at when they want to come and work for you.

Thank you 🙂

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3 Responses to Dear companies / organisations everywhere – why not make it easier for people to find your jobs? A little bit ranty :)

  1. Anonymous says:

    A good example of a page that can sit there quietly for months until a job becomes available is at Coeliac UK – they have a separate page, linked from this one, which has their current vacancies on it.

  2. Stephen De Gabrielle says:

    hear hear! just in case any webmaster & HR managers out there thinks Jo’s suggestion is a little to radical, do a google search for ‘’ or ‘site:com/jobs’. You would have to be mad not to follow Jo’s suggestion.

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