How to Write a Job Description

How to write a job description that clearly articulates the essential job duties and responsibilities, the educational and knowledge requirements and the competencies and skills necessary for successful job performance.

Simply go through these straightforward steps to write your own effective job description. Make use of the 70 plus sample job descriptions and job description tools to help you.

How to write a job description in 7 simple steps

1. Conduct a job analysis

Conduct a job analysis in order to:

  • develop a detailed description of the activities involved in the job
  • determine the relationship of the job to other jobs in the organization
  • identify the knowledge and skills necessary to perform the tasks
  • determine the competencies or behaviors required for successful performance in the job

A job analysis can be done using one or more of these popular methods:

  • observation - watch the employee in the job and note down what has to be done and how it has to be done
  • interview - interview the job incumbents and team members and combine the data into one job analysis
  • questionnaire - workers complete a structured questionnaire to identify the job tasks
  • expert input - utilize subject matter experts to gain an understanding of the job. These may include managers, supervisors and consultants.

2. Use a clear job title

This is the first essential element of the job description. The job title should:

  • accurately reflect the role and responsibilities of the job
  • be sufficiently self-explanatory for recruitment and selection purposes

2. Describe the job duties and responsibilities

Using your job analysis break down the data you have collected into essential duties and responsibilities. Each duty represents an activity or sequence of activities. Start each duty with an action verb and make sure it is concise and easily understandable.

For example:

  • answer, screen and transfer inbound phone calls
  • manage project resource allocation
  • ensure compliance with all labor laws and regulations

Job Skills List

3. Describe the qualifications required for the job

List the necessary qualifications for the job. This is the minimum level of education and qualification needed to perform the essential job functions. It includes education, training, licensures and certifications.

4. Describe the experience required for successful job performance

This includes the measurable job-related experience required to properly carry out the job duties and responsibilities. Certain levels of experience may be referred to as "preferred" if they are not a fundamental requirement but would enhance job performance.

5. Describe the competencies required in the job

Competencies are the knowledge, skills, abilities and behavioral attributes necessary for job performance. This list of core competencies will help you define the required competencies for the job.

6. Include reporting structure

Clarify who the employee reports to and who reports to them. This is an important element of the job description as it provides information on how the position fits into the organizational structure.

7. Salary and benefits

It is advisable to provide a salary range rather than a specific number. This allows for flexibility according to the experience and skills of the job candidate.

An accurate job description provides a clear understanding of the scope of the job and what is required for successful job performance.

How to write a job description that works and is compliant

1. Avoid jargon and internal terminology

To avoid confusion it is best to stick to widely recognized terms and descriptions.

2. Make sure it is an accurate and realistic definition of the job

Include job duties and requirements that are truly necessary to perform the job. Avoid creating an unrealistic wish list for the job.

3. Do not use discriminatory language

Be aware of using phrases or terms that may be considered non-compliant with laws prohibiting employment discrimination. 

4. Keep it current

Review and update your job description on a regular basis

Why is a job description necessary?

By clearly and accurately defining and documenting the job you achieve the following:

  • Efficient recruitment and selection of job candidates. The job description is a key document for guiding the employee selection and interview process. Without a proper job description it is difficult to determine what you are looking for in a candidate, to describe the job to potential candidates and to evaluate the suitability of job candidates
  • A clear understanding of the expected level of performance in the job. This provides realistic guidelines for the employee and acts as a valuable reference point for the manager or supervisor of the employee.

How to write a job description - useful job description tools

Job Description Template

Job Skills List

12 Core Competencies

List of Workplace Strengths


Job Descriptions


List of Strengths


Job Skills List

Sample job descriptions

Over 70 job descriptions for a wide range of jobs.

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