Help Center

How to write a great opportunity

Well-written opportunities will attract better qualified and more informed applicants. The following tips will help you write clear, descriptive and successful opportunity announcements.

Keep opportunities small and simple

If you have a big project, consider dividing it into smaller tasks and make each task a separate opportunity. You can post several opportunities at the same time, rather than sequentially, to make sure your entire project gets done.

For example

To create the “Federal Crowdsource Mobile Testing Program”, the Mobile team posted an opportunity asking for 20% time to help plan and create the program. Once the program was up and running, the team created two additional opportunities: one to manage the program and a second to run individual test cycles. The team posted multiple test cycles as opportunities at the same time.

Drop the jargon

  • Write your opportunities in plain language—use simple words and phrases.
  • Use full office names instead of acronyms, and avoid using office-specific slang.
  • Include links to relevant resources that will help participants understand what they will be doing.

Speak to the participant

  • Use pronouns to personalize the content and experience (i.e. use “you”, “your”).
  • Take the participant’s perspective—what do they need to know about this opportunity?
  • Only include content that the participant needs.
  • Define exactly what needs to be done and what deliverables you expect. Include links or examples of documents that the participant will need to work on or will better explain the tasks.
  • Read the opportunity as if you’re new to the government – does it make sense?

Organize the content logically

  • Place the most important information at the top of each section in the opportunity announcement.
  • Use bulleted lists to break out separate duties and qualifications.

Double check your work

Once you’re written your opportunity, ask yourself these key questions:

  • Does the content make sense when you read it out loud?
  • Did you put the right content in the right sections?
  • Is any of the content repetitive?

Creating the Opportunity

We’ve created a template to help you create an opportunity announcement. Follow these tips as you fill out the template:

Title

Write a catchy and descriptive title

The title is the first thing an opportunity seeker will see in their search results.

  • Make sure it’s easy to understand and descriptive of what the opportunity is.
  • Use keywords that will catch the seeker’s interest and make it easier to search for.
  • Focus on skills—not just a job title.

If you’re posting a detail opportunity, make sure to include the word “Detail” in the title.

Example

“Looking for someone with strong data analysis skills in Excel” is better than “Looking for a Research Assistant”.

Introduction

Include the most important information first

  • Use the introduction to summarize the opportunity, including who the opportunity is with.
  • Make sure the first three sentences include the most important information about your opportunity, because this will appear under the title in the search results.
  • Be descriptive enough to get the participant’s attention without being long-winded—think of this as your sales pitch.

What you’ll do

Be specific about the work

We will analyze the content you enter in this section to recommend skills for your opportunity.

  • Describe exactly what needs to be done and what deliverables you expect.
  • Be concise, but offer enough details so the participant knows what’s involved.
  • Include information on how their work will be used—this helps participants understand their work is part of a greater effort.

What you’ll learn

Tell the participants what’s in it for them

We will analyze the content you enter in this section to recommend skills for your opportunity.

The goal of Open Opportunities is to help participants learn and network.

  • List the types of skills they will gain.
  • Describe who they will connect with and other networking benefits.
  • Include any other benefits.

Example

The DigitalGov usability team asked for help with writing usability case studies. They clearly stated that using WordPress was part of the task, but they would accept a participant who was willing to learn WordPress basics.

Who we are

Describe your team, department, or agency.

  • Briefly describe what makes your organization unique.
  • Include who the participant will work with on a regular basis.

Requirements

List required certifications, training, or qualifications

This section only appears if you’re creating a Detail opportunity. We will analyze the content you enter in this section to recommend skills for your opportunity.

Include all requirements a person must have to participate in the opportunity.

Skills

Add skills to your opportunity

We use Skills Engine ™ to analyze your opportunity and recommend the most relevant skills your participants will need. To get the best results, make sure you complete the What you’ll do, What you’ll learn and Requirements (for detail opportunities only) sections. Adding skills to your opportunity will let participants know what you’re looking for and help your opportunity show up in search results.

Market your opportunity

Spread the word about Open Opportunities and your need. Are there communities of practice (CoP) that might be interested in your opportunity? Use our marketing email template (1 page, 14 kb, MS Word .docx) to craft a message.

Want to target an individual (or six?) Use the Share link in your opportunity to send a form email.