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As a sales rep at Stack Overflow, one of the most frequent requests I get from clients is to review their tech job listings. Each job listing is different. Small startups often have a larger “About Us” section and less about the position because they are still trying to figure it out. Larger corporations often have a more structured listing broken down to specific sections.

No matter who is posting, one of the first things I look for is their large bullet point list of requirements. Oftentimes, the bullet points stand out as a list of demands for the developer. They see the list and their eyes instantly glaze over and they lose interest in the job listing.

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So why are bullet points bad?

The bullet point requirements are important for an employer to make sure they have a checklist to go through when a candidate applies. But to the developer applying, these bullet points tell them nothing about the position or company. They are essentially a limiting factor for the developer because they feel the need to satisfy every single requirement before applying.

Every time I ask a developer what they look for in a tech job listing, they often respond that they are looking for a “call to action”. This call to action can come in many forms -- it can be the company’s mission statement or the specific project the developer is being brought on to help move forward. Providing this call to action is a great way to hook developers in and give them a reason to apply.

What can you do instead?

Recently, I stumbled across a job listing that epitomizes this call to action. The company decided to forgo the normal format and write an open letter to the developers looking to apply. This letter explains who the company is, why the developer should work there, and what working there is going to be like. They hook the reader into wanting to apply and work at his company.


I’m not saying every listing has to be an impassioned letter, but a good place to start in improving your tech job listings is to get rid of the bullet points and create a call to action. Here at Stack Overflow, we have a simple solution to the bullet point problem -- tech tags. Instead of listing the technologies needed by the applicant, just tag the technologies. This allows the developer to quickly see what technologies will be required and whether their expertise would be a fit. These tech tags also help us target the specific audience on Stack Overflow to show your listing to.

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