June 24, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

How to Write a Job Description

Think of a job description as a “snapshot” of a job. The job description needs to communicate clearly and concisely what responsibilities and tasks the job entails and to indicate, as well, the key qualifications of the job—the basic requirements (specific credentials or skills)—and, if possible, the attributes that underlie superior performance.

Following is a quick look at the categories that make up a well-written job description:

Title of the position

Department

Reports to (to whom the person directly reports)

Overall responsibility

Key areas of responsibility

Consults with (those whom the person works with on a regular basis)

Term of employment

Qualifications (necessary skills and experience required). Educational requirements and experience requirements are the areas where inadvertent discrimination may occur. Educational requirements must be a real necessity for the job. If someone could accomplish the work with equivalent job experience but who lacks a specific credential, the job description should be modified. And to avoid age discrimination, experience should not include an upper limit.

Sample job description:

Title of the position: Senior Mailroom Clerk

Department: Operations

Reports to: Building Services Supervisor

Overall responsibility: Supervise mailroom staff and interface with all levels of management regarding mail and supply deliveries

Key areas of responsibility

Maintain established shipping/receiving procedures

Sort and distribute mail on a timely basis

Maintain all photocopiers, fax machines and postage meters

Order, store and distribute supplies

Facilitate all off-site storage, inventory and record management requests

Document current policies and procedures in the COS department as well as implement new procedures for improvement

Oversee the use of a company van when needed

Ensure that water and paper are available for customers on a continuous basis

Consults with

Building Services Supervisor

Mailroom staff

All levels of management

Term of employment

12 months

Qualifications

Strong sense of customer service

Good organizational skills

Ability to lift a minimum of 25 pounds

Supervisory experience in a corporate mailroom environment

Good driving record

Tips:

Don’t rely solely on a job’s history as you’re putting together a job description for today. Focus instead on what the job needs to be in light of the organization’s current needs and long-term objectives.

A task is what the person in the job will actually do. Qualifications are the skills, attributes or credentials a person needs to perform each task. Clarify the actual tasks and responsibilities before you start thinking about what special attributes will be needed by the person who will be fulfilling those responsibilities.

A well-written job description consists of more than a laundry list of the tasks and responsibilities that the job entails. It reflects a sense of priorities.

Credentials (such as degrees and licenses) are absolute necessities in some jobs. The thing you want to make sure of, however, is that whatever credentials you establish have a direct bearing on the candidate’s ability to become a top performer.

The job you describe must be truly doable. When you’re lumping several tasks into the same job description, make sure that you’re not creating a job that very few people could fill.

Use specific language. For example:

Too General

Specific

Computer literate

Proficient with Microsoft Word, Excel, QuickBooks

Good communication skills

Ability to communicate technical information to non-technical audiences

Handles administrative chores

Receives, sorts and files monthly personnel action reports

 

Warning! A job description is generally regarded as a legal document. Any references to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin or nationality, or physical or mental disability, is illegal.

By Judith Lindenberger

 

 

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