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5 Tips for Great Job Descriptions

Posted by Julie • February 25, 2014 (Last modified June 2, 2022) • 2 min read

Should you take the time to write good job descriptions for your organization? Yes!

I worked for a large technical fruit company for 10 years. It wasn’t until my last week that I saw my actual job description! (Let’s see…I did that, did that too, um-never really did this one, that duty is out of date) You get the idea.

Good job descriptions are essential to helping employees meet expectations.  Without a job description, employment is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get.

How to write a good job description

A good job description may come out of a policy handbook. A great job description may inspire employees to enthusiastically perform the job. Here are some tips to writing stellar job descriptions:

1. DO include a Job Title. The title should reflect the level of the position and the type of work the employee will perform.

2. DO describe responsibilities: A job description should include the tasks and responsibilities associated with the position.

3. DO explain the job’s role and it’s organizational place: The job description should include the leaders to whom the position reports (as well as who might report to the person at the position) and the importance of the role to the organization.

4. DO list qualifications for the job: If the job requires specific skills, be sure to include those. Separate must-haves and nice-to-haves.

5. DO include info about the company: Share company cultures and values, areas of success, statistics, or other exciting elements about your organization. Remind current and future employees of what makes your work environment special.

What if the the job duties change as organizational needs evolve?

One of our creative customers actually asks employees to review their job descriptions annually inside the Performance Appraisal. At the time of the Appraisal, the employee and manager may take the opportunity to confirm that the responsibilities listed are still accurate. If things have changed, they describe how certain responsibilities may have changed or evolved over time. This allows HR to collect feedback. Now, HR is current, able to adapt, and able to help meet future workforce demands.

Don’t do it alone! Ask your team to help write the descriptions.

  • They’ll like being included.
  • They’ll reflect upon what’s needed in the job—for the new position and for their own position.
  • They’ll be better able to participate in the interview process, if invited.
  • They might realize THEY make the best match for the job, and you’ve got a freshly energized employee with a better job match.

Make Work Matter.