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How to Write a Job Description

If you’re looking for help writing job descriptions, or want to see some examples of good job descriptions and job description templates, you’ve come to the right place.

A good job description may seem like an ordinary thing, but a lot of work goes into creating a job description that does everything that it needs to do.

A job description is a hiring tool, but it is also like a mini pr/ad campaign you’re running, targeting a specific handful of people in your area who are the right fit for your job and company.

A new hire is a big investment for employers and a big deal for the team that the new hire joins, but it’s important to remember how important a new job is to the hire as well.

Your job description can speak to readers on a professional level, an aspirational level, and even a personal level if it is written following the job description guidelines we’ve created.

By following the tips in this guide as you plan and write your job description, you’ll be creating a job description for yourself that gets the interest of great candidates for the job.

If you need more job description help or want to know more about how to send job descriptions to candidates with great job ad placement, our guide How to Post a Job will help you get more applicants.

How to Write a Job Description will show you:

  1. The Secret of Effective Job Descriptions
  2. How to Conduct a Job Analysis
  3. Important Aspects of a Job Description
  4. How to Write an Attractive Job Title
  5. Requirements vs. Responsibilities
  6. Basic Job Description Template
  7. How to Edit Your Job Description
  8. Do’s and Don’ts of Job Descriptions

 

The Secret of Effective Job Descriptions

The secret of how to write a job ad that magically finds a great person for your job is this:

Writing a job description that grabs the attention of a great person for the job is not magic, but is the result of research, reflection, creative writing and careful editing.

Research

The most important advice we can give people who want to know how to write a compelling job description is research the position until you sound like you’ve done the job yourself.

Even if you know the job like the back of your hand, it’s important to research how other companies are advertising these open positions in your area and what they’re offering for these positions.

Reflection

Effective job descriptions target people who are great for the role, and reflection is required to understand the desires and viewpoint of people who are great for your job.

You’re going to get a lot of information in the research stage, and the reflection stage is where you re-examine what you’ve learned to decide which info will be most exciting to a reader who is the right fit for your job and your company.

Creative Writing

Creative flair will help your job description stand out, but you’ll also have to get creative when fitting all the information your job description needs, into a compelling job ad that makes people excited to apply to your company.

One of the most important things to think about when considering how to write a good job description for a specific role is how you’re going to make this job ad stand out from ads for the same role.

Careful Editing

Editing is one of the most important job description tasks you’ll complete as we show you how to prepare a job description for posting. Beyond finding typos, look for sentences that are awkward, off-message or that are just too long for the limited space you have in your job ad.

How to Conduct a Job Analysis

If we were to boil this whole guide down to a single, how to write a job description for dummies piece of advice, it would be this: always perform a job analysis before you write your job description.

Even if you’ve hired for this job before or have even done this job yourself, you should still conduct a job analysis.

You’ll at least want to research how competitors are advertising and compensating this position, new requirements for the position, and other position-specific details crucial to accurately describing your open job in your job description.

How to conduct a job analysis and write a job description

If you’re unsure of how to do a job analysis for a position, one of the best ways to get your bearings is by talking to some of the people who will be working with the new hire: superiors, colleagues and reporting employees.

Other than getting job analysis info, these are the people you want to fit well with the new hire, and getting to know them will increase your chances of making a slam dunk hire.

How to create a job description for a new position

When deciding how to develop a job description for a new position, it’s important to have the demands, goals and expectations of the new position clearly defined. It’s also crucial to know how much to offer, so use our free salary calculator to offer competitive compensation.

The more you know about the job you’re writing an ad for, the more you will be able to connect with qualified candidates, who respond to a job ad that sounds like it was written by a colleague of theirs.

Job Analysis Template

You can use this job analysis template to help you define the most important characteristics of jobs:

  • What internal/external pressure on your company or team has caused this job opening?
  • How have demands of this job changed over the past 5 years at your company? How has the role of this job changed within your industry in the past 5 years?
  • What differences do you notice when viewing an example of a job description and job specification posted for this job by a competitor in your area?
  • What are examples of job scope for this position that fall outside the normal requirements of this position?
  • How will this job support other roles in your company?
  • What technical skills and soft skills will a hire use to meet the demands of the job?
  • How does the compensation you offer for this job compare to competitors?

Important Aspects of a Job Description

Though every section of your job ad is relevant, there are a few job description sections that are key in catching the eye of candidates and showing them if your job is a good fit for their career.

Every section of a job description needs to accomplish a specific goal, and understanding how to develop a job description into a fantastic job opportunity means understanding the ins and outs of what each section is supposed to accomplish.

Job title

Your job title needs to be engaging and the correct title for the role. People won’t find your job ad if you use a “creative” job title like “web design wizard,” because they don’t search using that title.

Job profile

Understanding how to write job profile summary sections effectively has a lot to do with understanding what candidates will find most appealing about the big picture of your job. When thinking about how to explain job profile highlights to readers, consider what your ideal candidate will find most interesting about the job’s real-world impact or its unique place in your company.

Responsibilities and Requirements

These sections need to give candidates the specific responsibilities of the role, and criteria that they will be evaluated against. Always make these lists as concise and reader-friendly as possible.

About Us

This section needs to give readers a positive sense of your brand and employer brand.

How to Write an Attractive Job Title

Job titles are the first introduction candidates have to your job, so they need to be engaging.

When thinking about how to write an attractive job title, the first thing to consider is what your ideal candidate finds attractive. The second thing you need to consider when deciding how to write a job title is including the keywords you need for your job ad to be seen in search results.

1. What your ideal candidate finds attractive

Candidates are attracted to their specializations, so be sure to be specific with job titles. Along with the job title, include a detail about the job. This would turn your “Marketing Manager” job title, into “Marketing Manager - Online Community Engagement .”

2. Job description search volume

Your Job title needs to contain the most commonly used and accepted job title for the position, even if your company’s specific needs will make it somewhat different from other roles with the same title.

Requirements vs. Responsibilities

The requirements and responsibilities section may seem like boilerplate in many job descriptions, but these aren’t great job descriptions.

The importance of job description accuracy in the roles and responsibilities sections cannot be overstated, as mistakes here will cause applicants to stop reading your ad. There’s lots of info to cover, but it is still possible to be engaging and reader-friendly in these sections of your job description.

Responsibilities

In this section, focus on how to write a job profile summary in the format of a high-level list of responsibilities that don’t get too technical. Here’s a job responsibilities example for a marketing manager:

  • Research, segment, and understand our audiences and how to engage them effectively.
  • Help define our brand. You’ll work on what our brand stands for and how we bring it to life across a variety of assets and channels.
  • Manage paid media campaigns across all channels.
  • Lead end-to-end marketing campaigns. You’ll lead messaging development, creative development, production and distribution. You’ll be responsible across functions and agencies for pulling everything together into a compelling story for our prospects and customers.
  • Lead our customer marketing. You’ll take our customers’ stories and turn them into compelling videos, case studies, sales collateral, etc.

Requirements

In this section, you will be laying out the specific requirements for candidates, from the years of experience required to the required level of competency for specific tools they will use.

Here are some job qualifications examples for a marketing manager position:

  • 3+ years experience as a marketing manager or in a comparable position.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Self-directed, able to create a plan, prioritize initiatives, and execute independently and in collaboration with others, to agreed deadlines.
  • An experimental and creative mindset, you relish the opportunity to try new things.
  • You’ve mastered a few marketing automation and CRM tools already, Salesforce and Marketo a plus.
  • You have a track record of consistently achieving or exceeding marketing goals.
  • High-energy, outgoing, can-do personality, ability to prioritize and triage real-time demands of ongoing marketing projects, campaigns and company initiatives.

Basic Job Description Template

The best how to write a job description example may inspire you and teach you about how to create a job description that grabs attention, but this basic job description template will help you stay organized.

You can use this blank job description template as the skeleton of your next job description or, if you’re interested in creating a job description template yourself, many programs like Microsoft Word offer template creation options as well a variety of templates available for download. You can also post your job for free on Glassdoor.

Job Description Template

Just fill in this job description template with the info on your open job, and you’ve got the required information in your job description covered.

Job Title

(The title of the job, Regional Sales Manager, for example.):

Job Summary

(A big picture summary of the job, its purpose and its impact): 

Responsibilities

(A list of the major responsibilities that a hire will be taking on):

Requirements

(A list of the specific skill/experience requirements that will qualify candidates for the job):

Company summary

(A small section where you give readers some great employer brand info about your company):

Do’s and Don’ts of Job Descriptions

You know the job description proforma from what you’ve read so far, but, before you go on to writing a good job description, here are some Do’s and Don’ts.

Do’s

By following these guidelines for writing job descriptions, you can be confident that your job ad is going to get the interest of great candidates.

  • Always choose your approach to writing a job description based on the demands of the job and the interests of the right kind of person for the job.
  • Always highlight the most interesting aspects of your job in your job summary and show readers all of the reasons that this job matters for your company.
  • If you can, always explain the ways in which the job will have effects that go beyond your company to affect your industry, a specific community or even the world at large.
  • Always research the average compensation for the job you are advertising before you post your job description. No matter how good your job description is, posting a below-average salary with your job ad will not get you the interest of top candidates.
  • Try to have someone read your job description who has the same technical skills as the job you are advertising, so they can tell you if you sound credible and if you should change any specific sentences that don’t sound credible.

Don’ts

You know how to write job descriptions, but you should also know how not to write a job description and avoid these common mistakes:

  • Don’t spend your whole job description telling candidates what you need. Instead, balance your requirements by describing the reasons why your ideal candidate would love doing the job.
  • Don’t waste space in your job description with too many “nice to haves” or skills that can be trained post-hire within the scope of the job’s demands.
  • Never post a job description before editing it for mistakes, awkward sentences and unnecessary information.
  • If you don’t know how to write a job description proposal or how to write a job description pdf, don’t wing it, research the right way to do it by searching questions like these online.
  • Don’t write a generic job description. Just don’t.

 

How to Edit your Job Description

Editing your job description is one of the most important writing job descriptions best practices on your to-do list.

If you’re interested in writing a good job description, you will edit your job descriptions thoroughly and you won’t shy away from making changes that should be made.

Here are some tips to help your job description editing process:

  • Evaluate each section of your job description individually as well as evaluating how each section fits with the other sections of your job description.
  • Have several people read your job description who have some of the skills you are asking for. These people will be able to tell you if your job description passes “the credibility test,” which is essential for attracting top candidates.
  • Try reading your job description out loud. This is the best way to test how well your job description “flows” from one piece of info to another. This exercise will also make awkward sentences very apparent as you read them.
  • Don’t be afraid to make changes. The editing stage is your last chance to change out things that aren’t working for your job description, so use this opportunity to re-shape parts of your job description that are awkward, vague or just uninteresting.
  • Editing can be a painstaking process, so be patient and persistent as you edit, and you will get better results (and avoid pulling your hair out).
  • If you have trouble line-editing for typos, you can try downloading an app like Grammarly.

Additional Resources

Now you know how to build a job description, but a lot of work goes into writing a great job description and seeing more examples will help you write the best job ad possible.

Here some more resources to help you start your next job description project, including examples of great job descriptions:

6 Tips for Writing Effective Job Descriptions

10 Ways to Remove Gender Bias from Job Descriptions 

Software Engineer Job Description

Analytics Manager Job Description

HR Manager Job Description

Data Scientist Job Description

Marketing Manager Job Description

Account Executive Job Description

Data Engineer Job Description

Physical Therapist Job Description