How to Write a Job Description

There are several tips on how to write a job description to ensure that when a potential candidate reads the description, he or she will have a clear understanding of what the job entails. Creating a well-written job description is essential in helping a company or business attract candidates who are well qualified for the position.

Several things to consider when drafting the initial job description include:

  • It should clearly describe the skills, experience, and competencies necessary for the person who will be performing the job functions.
  • The job description should outline where the job and the employee fit within the hierarchy of the company.
  • A potential candidate should understand what the priorities are for the job outlined in the job description.
  • The job description is the basis upon which an employment contract is written.
  • For employers, the job description can be used as a management tool.
  • Should employers be faced with job disputes or disciplinary issues with an employee, the job description is a valid and vital reference.
  • Job descriptions are the first step in marketing your business or company for future job vacancies.
  • The average length of a good job description is between 700 and 1,100 words.

What Is the Best Way to Write an Effective Job Description?

Writing an effective job description requires the person creating the description to find the balance between providing clear details while keeping the description concise and to the point. By doing so, when the candidate reads the job description, he or she will understand the job and what their role within the company will be.

The first step in the process of writing a job description is creating a clear-cut title. The title should:

  • Define the nature of the job and its duties.
  • Reflect the job's ranking within the company.
  • Not show bias by exaggerating the importance of the job position.
  • Contain no age or gender implications.
  • Be basic enough in its description that it can be easily compared to similar job positions.
  • Be self-explanatory so that it's easily found in online searches.
  • Be specific and targeted to be effective. To achieve this, include key phrases that describe the job role.
  • Include verbiage that won't confuse the person searching for a job.
  • Use terms that most people will use and look for during an online job search.
  • Focus on describing the job position and responsibility level. 

What Is the Best Way to Write a Job Description Summary?

The goal of the summary is to hook potential candidates into reading the job description from start to finish. The hook should be strong and attention-grabbing, providing a positive overview of the company and outline the job expectations for the position.

A good job summary will contain the following:

  • The descriptive summary should contain between one and three paragraphs.
  • The main points of the job's functions, duties, and responsibilities.
  • Contains information about the company and why it's a great place to work.
  • Lists requirements such as education, experience, scheduling, and travel time.

How to Write the Duties and Responsibilities of a Job

The duties and responsibilities section of the job description is the core foundation and should be clear regarding the scope, complexity, and responsibilities of the job. When creating a job description, focus on three key elements:

Key Accountabilities – This area typically has 3 – 5 job accountability job titles such as Event Coordinator, Budget Management, or Executive Support.

Duty Statements -  This information outlines the job duties associated with the key accountability tasks. An example would be: Analyze expenditures for the Budget Management position. Also, include information on relevant experience, such as SEO expert or social media expertise, activities that take place within the company on a day-to-day basis, and include the person and their position that the new hire will be reporting to.  

Percentage of Time -  Clear information about the percentage of time the position is estimated to take, such as data entry 50 percent, filing 25 percent, and so on. The description should be short and supply an outcome, action, and purpose. An example: 'compiles monthly sales reports.'

A performance section associated with each key accountability outlining the expectations for the specific area of responsibility. Examples include:

  • Minor supervision.
  • Ability to set priorities.
  • Must be able to multitask.
  • Teamwork.
  • Knowledge of any computer software.

What Information Should Be Included in the Skills and Competencies Section:

List these two sections separately as they cover two different areas.

The skills section covers the candidate's performance level. These are the hard skills a candidate brings to the interview based on their qualifications, certificates, and licenses they've obtained as well as their experience. Examples of soft skills would be problem solving and communication.

The competency section includes the traits and/or attributes a candidate is expected to display in their job position. These traits are generally innate and come naturally to an employee. These may include leadership, initiative, teamwork, flexibility, and communication. 

What Are the Do's and Don'ts When Creating a Job Description?

Do's

  • Write the description clearly, concisely, and factually.
  • Use an impersonal style/tone when writing.
  • Be clear about what the position entails regarding the job's long-term objectives and the company/department needs.
  • Begin each duty or task using an action verb.
  • Be precise while keeping the sentence structure simple.
  • Be consistent with terms such as "occasionally" and "may" and refer to job titles versus a person's name.

Don'ts

  • Don't write in narrative form.
  • Don't write the job description as a guide.
  • Don't focus the content on skills, capabilities, and interests of potential candidates.
  • Don't include unnecessary tasks.

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