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Writing a job description that works | Part 1: Basic Ingredients

How to write a job description

How to write a job description in two parts

Part 1: The basics

A good job description is one of the most important tools in a successful job placement. It helps employers describe, refine, and sell a role. It allows job candidates to compare their skills and background to the requirements of the position—and to qualify or disqualify themselves. It’s essential for recruiters, ad writers, and interviewers. In fact, if done right, it prevents wasted time for everyone. All sides benefit from a clear, comprehensive job description.

At AllStaff, we’ve seen literally millions of job descriptions. In our experience, here’s what works.

The main ingredients of a good job description

Let’s go over the basic information needed in a job description. Then, in Part 2, we’ll talk about how to make your job description stand out.

  1. Job title. A good title makes sense for the role and its place in the organization.
  2. Job summary. Make sure it reflects the title and broadly covers at least 75% of what a candidate can expect the job to entail.
  3. Job scope. This is a broad description of the scope of work that the role demands. Here’s an example, “The IT Manager will be responsible for the overall planning, organizing, executing, and reviewing all technology functions. This includes the support and maintenance of all applications and the recommendation and development of new technical solutions. The IT Manager will manage a budget and provide quarterly reports on expenses and performance of IT initiatives.”
  4. Responsibilities. Time to get specific. Again, try to touch on at least 75% of what the role encompasses. Some examples: “Prints and binds all reports,” “Manages all payroll duties,” or “Trains and mentors new hires.” Be sure to include anything out of the ordinary or ‘above and beyond.’ For example, if an HR manager is responsible for the company newsletter, or a supervisor is expected to recruit—don’t leave it out.
  5. Internal relationships. If a new hire will be supporting more than one department or manager, be upfront about it. If there’s any ambiguity about who reports to whom, it’s best to spell it out.
  6. Skills. List the tools, programs, machines, proficiencies, and competencies that the role requires.

Part 2: Seasoning

In Part 2 of this blog series, we’ll show you how to add flavor and color to create an appealing job description that attracts applicants. Check back next Monday for Part 2.