Certified Resume Writer, Career Coach, Business Writer
It might be tempting to overlook the importance of a well-written job description. After all, if you’ve posted job ads before and ended up with tons of resumes in hand, it’s easy to assume that this will always be the case, regardless of how your job ad reads. But, in reality, you really can’t take getting an influx of resumes for granted.
You have to work for it. Part of attracting candidates is to write a compelling and informative job description that promotes both your company and the open role. If you don’t do this, you’ll miss out on a great opportunity to attract high-level talent. So read on to learn how to write a job description that not only impresses the job seekers who read it but also motivates them to eagerly apply for your job.
What is a Job Description?
In its most basic sense, a job description simply explains the duties and responsibilities of a job in language that is easy to understand. This means that it should be free of industry- and company-specific jargon. It also describes the qualifications and skills needed to perform the job in question. Beyond that, a job description is a tool that sets the foundation to successfully recruit and retain diverse talent.
A job description typically includes the following parts:
- Job Title – While usually only a few words in length, the job title you pick really matters! Make it specific to the job you’re advertising, but deliberately use words that are commonly searched and understood.
- Job Summary – This part of the job description should naturally include an overview of the job itself. The description of the job should include its relationship to the company and/or the company’s culture.
- Responsibilities & Duties – It’s crucial to include an accurate listing of the responsibilities, tasks, and expectations of the role. That way, the candidate knows what the daily workday will look like. Be detailed but also concise. You can also describe the bigger picture too (like where this role falls within the organizational structure.)
- Qualifications & Skills – Don’t forget to spell out the skills, education, and experience necessary for the role. Only include the must-haves so you don’t discourage people with potential from applying.
- Salary & Benefits – Describe all the perks of working for your company (like unlimited PTO, insurance packages, flexibility, company lunches, and so on), in addition to including a salary range. This is really helpful because if you begin negotiating with candidates, you’ll be able to make a great job offer even if you don’t have enough money to offer a higher salary.
A Great Job Description is Crucial to Acquire The Right Talent!
The job description is really the first step in attracting the kind of high-quality employees you want working at your company. It’s essential to make a great first impression. In fact, 47% of job searchers are job searching because they want to work in a certain type of work environment. So, use this as an opportunity to showcase your unique company culture, perks, and benefits that your employees enjoy while working at your company.
Plus, the job description establishes expectations and enables potential applicants to determine if they have the right skills, experience, and education to satisfy the job requirements before applying. This not only helps ensure a strong candidate pool, but it also helps weed out candidates who aren’t right for the position.
How To Write a Job Description?
So, now that you understand why it’s in your best interest to write a powerful job description, let’s walk through exactly how to accomplish this.
It’s imperative to nail your job title so people click on your ad and read it. Make it clear, specific, and self-explanatory. Avoid unusual words like “guru” and “warrior,” and make the seniority of the position evident.
Job Summary & Purpose
Describe the job’s core functions and placement in the company. Keep it succinct and direct. Avoid superlatives like “best” and “smartest” so you don’t unnecessarily deter applicants.
Company Overview & Its Mission
Include a short ‘About Us’ section that boasts about your company, its successes, and its mission. Your goal should be to create excitement around the firm’s achievements and culture so candidates want to work there.
Job Duties & Responsibilities
Talk to your colleagues to determine what responsibilities this role will entail. Then list them in fewer than 10 bullets (more than that and you might scare away people who are afraid of micromanaging). Be specific so they understand what the expectations are for the position.
Skills & Qualifications
Include the required education/certifications, experience, languages, programs/tools, and skills that are needed for this role within your job description. If something isn’t a must-have, then consider leaving it out so you don’t dissuade quality candidates from applying.
Provide some details about the employee’s potential work environment and work schedule. Mention any physical demands or specifics about in-office or at-home work schedules.
Supervisor & Department
Candidates appreciate knowing how their role will fit into the bigger picture. In other words, who will they report to and in what department will they work? Don’t forget to include these meaningful details in your job description.
Salary & Benefits
Obviously you’re evaluating the candidates, but don’t forget that they are also evaluating you! So, emphasize all the perks and benefits your company offers. Be sure to also give a salary range so candidates can decide whether they want to apply or attempt to negotiate terms.
Contact Information & Application Procedure
Finally, make it easy and clear how to apply for the job. You don’t want to lose out on applicants because they can’t figure out what the next step is.
Best Practices & Tips
You’re not the first person to write a job description. Learn from the experts who have already figured out what’s effective and what’s not. See below for some tips on how to write a great job description:
- Create a strong job title. In reality, a job title can make or break your job description because if it’s not accurate and easy to understand, no one will find or click on your ad to read it. While some creativity is okay, keep it concise and use industry-standard language.
- Avoid using extreme modifiers. You also shouldn’t include superlatives like “best” and “rockstars” in your job description. Honestly, this type of language might intimidate people who otherwise are great candidates. Instead, keep your tone friendly and realistic.
- Emphasize the potential for growth. Excite candidates by explaining how the role will provide room for professional growth and development. Focus on what you can offer them and not just on what you need.
- Clarify the job duties with the team. Don’t just list responsibilities that you assume the person in this role will have to handle. Your job description needs to be correct. So, do your research, and talk to colleagues/managers to find out exactly what the job duties will be (and then communicate this effectively in the job ad).
- Promote your company’s unique culture. Most candidates want to know that they’re going to fit into the culture of the company they choose. Highlight what makes your company special and different. Then, candidates can decide whether they fit into that culture or not.
What To Avoid Doing When Writing a Job Description?
Now that you know how to create an awesome job description, we should briefly discuss a few things that you ought to avoid entirely. For one, be very careful not to discriminate (even unconsciously). Watch out for gender biases (like using the word “salesman”), take advantage of online tools that help ensure gender neutrality, and include an equal opportunity disclaimer at the bottom of your job ad.
In addition, keep negativity out of your job description. Focus on using a positive tone of voice so you don’t discourage readers. Also, avoid being mysterious or cryptic. Instead, aim to keep all of your listed requirements realistic and be upfront about any non-negotiables. The goal is for your readers to easily understand what you’re communicating to them about the job and its responsibilities.
A Few Great Job Description Examples & Templates
Sometimes it’s easiest to work off a template. Just fill in the headings, and you’ll be on your way to writing an attractive job description. Here is one you can work with.
Job Title [Insert the job title and company name] Job Overview [Give a brief, 1-3 sentence description of what the role does and why the job is important.] Responsibilities and Duties [List the day-to-day duties or major projects that this role will have to do to carry out this job. List them in order of importance. Use complete sentences, start sentences with verbs, and be sure to use inclusive language.] Skills and Requirements [List the ESSENTIAL skills and requirements necessary to be successful in this role. Try to narrow it down to 3-7 requirements. Be specific and don't forget to include soft and hard skills.] Salary Range [Include proposed salary range.] Benefits [Include job benefits, such as healthcare, dental care, parental leave, vacation days, etc.] Company Info [Tell the candidate a little bit about your company in relation to their potential role. Keep it short, yet informative and engaging.] Contact Information [Include contact information just in case the candidate needs to contact you for anything, especially if you don't mind them following up. This is also good if you are open to building relationships and creating a passive candidate pool.]
Though it is not done often, it is also beneficial to include a sentence or two outlining the next steps in the hiring process. This offers some transparency in what’s next and guides the candidate’s expectations. As you go on to write your job description from the template above, here is an example for further guidance.
Job Title Assistant Manager Networking Bank, Hillsboro, OR Job Summary We are a bank with multiple locations, and we are looking to hire an assistant manager to help coordinate banking operations among different locations. Description of Job Duties - Manage communication and collaboration among 2-3 banking branches - Report to Senior Manager with new financial resources and products ideas - Find and implement automation opportunities - Help customers find the right banking plan for them based on their future money goals Skills & Requirements - Must have licenses and certifications: Life Insurance License, FINRA Cert, and National Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) - Thorough product/service knowledge and thorough knowledge of regulatory, policy and compliance issues - Effective interpersonal communication, leadership, relationship management, time management, sales activities management, and sales ability skills Salary Range $52,000-$60,000/year Job Benefits - Access to a training budget to develop your skill set - Healthcare package from Blue Cross Blue Shield - One year maternal and paternal leave Company Info Networking Bank is a chain of banks, with partners operating in the Northwestern region of the United States. Primary banking operations take place in our largest branches located in Seattle, Spokane, Boise, Salem, and Portland. Many of our workers in our largest branches started at smaller ones like this one. We promote internally so we can continue to build one big work family. Come work and grow with us.
- What should a job description include? In a nutshell, a job description should include a clear and impactful job title, an overview of the role (including responsibilities and expectations), the required skills and qualifications, a section that promotes the company and its mission, and details about the salary, benefits, working conditions, and department/manager. Finally, it should also explain how one can apply for the job.
- What is the purpose of a job description? The purpose of a job description is to accurately portray the job functions of a role and the education, experience, knowledge, and skills that it requires. It is used to recruit new employees.
- What questions do you ask in a job description? You don’t typically ask questions in a job description. Instead, you inform the reader about the role (its duties and required qualifications) and the company (its mission, achievements, culture, and so on.)
- Is a job description a legal requirement? There are currently no laws that require job descriptions. However, they are helpful because they provide a clear understanding of the responsibilities of a role – both for the candidate/employee and the employer.
Make Sure to Post It In The Right Places
So, you’ve been trying out all the most effective recruiting strategies to get your hiring process back on track, and your job descriptions have taken priority. So, now that you have a well-written, informative, and engaging job description in hand, the next step is to post it in locations where you will attract high-quality candidates.
Don’t overlook this detail or you might not find the right person to fill your role! Online sites like JobSearcher will put your job ad in front of an audience of millions of active job searchers for free. Post it today and then sit back and watch as the qualified resumes roll in!