Every word in your job ad counts. But your job postings often have complex words or phrases you don’t need  — they sound more like legalese than a job advertisement. 

Replace or cut these complex words/phrases and your job ad’s apply rate can see a major boost.

You’ll also often see an increase in good candidates. That’s because the best candidates are busy and appreciate you writing your advert in Plain English.

For more tips on writing job descriptions, check out How to Write a Job Description — Best Practices & Examples.

Here are 5 examples of complex words and phrases to avoid and their recommended synonyms (in parentheses):

1) Words with too Many Syllables in Job Ads

Some job descriptions are chock full of words that are too long. A good rule of thumb is:

The fewer syllables a word has, the more effective it is.

Some examples:

  • Additional (“more” or “extra” is better)
  • Peruse (“read” is better)
  • Numerous (“many” is better)
  • Advise (“tell” is better)
  • Terminate (“end” or “finish” is better)

2) Redundant Words in Job Ads

Some people use 2 words in a row that have the same meaning. Examples:

  • Honest truth (use just “truth”)
  • First began (use just “began”)
  • Past history (use just “history”)

3) Adverbs You Don’t Need in Job Ads

Job descriptions include many adverbs you don’t need.


  • Negatively affect (“negatively” is long and not needed. just use “hurt” or “harm”)
  • Highly intelligent (isn’t “intelligent” enough?)
  • Primarily responsible (you can lose “primarily”)
  • Effectively manage (just go with “manage”)

4) Phrases with Too Many Words in Job Ads

Many other phrases are too wordy. Examples:

  • Because of the fact that (just “Because” is better)
  • Consensus of option (just “Consensus” is better)
  • Excessive number of (“too many” is better)

5) Prepositional Phrases in Job Ads

Some of us use prepositional phrases too often. Here are some examples with alternatives in parentheses:

  • In accordance with (try “by” or “under” instead)
  • In order to (try “to” instead)
  • In regard to (“try “about” instead)
  • In the event that (try “if” instead)
  • A large number of (try “many” instead)

If you enjoyed this article, you might also want to read 5 Reasons to Use a Text Analyzer for All Your Job Descriptions.

Why I wrote this?
Ongig’s mission is to multiply your quality candidates through the best job ads in the world. We do this through our Ongig Job Content Marketing Cloud. Ongig’s Text Analyzer feature finds complex words and phrases and gives you better synonyms. Text Analyzer also finds unconscious bias and optimizes your job ads in other ways.

by in Writing Job Descriptions