Writing Job Descriptions

Writing Job Descriptions include summarizing job functions using the Internet and traditional methods.

The employer almost uses the job analysis to (at least) produce a job description. A job description is a written statement of what the worker actually does, now he or she does it, and what the job’s working conditions are. You use this information to write a job specification; this lists the knowledge abilities and skills required to perform the job satisfactorily.

There is no standard format for writing a job description. However most descriptions contain sections that cover

1) Job identification
2) Job summary
3) Responsibilities and duties
4) Authority of incumbent
5) Standards of performance
6) Working conditions
7) Job specifications.

Job Identification: The job identification section (on top) contains several types of information. The job title specifies the name of the job such as supervisor of data processing operations, marketing manager, or inventory control clerk. In the United States, the status under fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA status) identifies whether a job is exempt or non exempt. Under the Fair labor standards act, certain positions, primarily administrative and professional, are exempt from the act’s overtime wage provision. A comparable system does not exist in India though mentioning unionized and non-unionized status will help in quick identification of job status. Date is the date the job description was actually written.

There may also be a place to indicate who approved the description and perhaps a space that show the location of the job in terms of its facility / division and department / section. This section might also include the immediate supervisor’s title and information regarding salary and/or pay scale. Here provide space for the grade / level of the job, if there is such a category. For example, a firm may classify programmers as programmer II, programmer III, and so on.

Job summary:

The job summary should summarize the essence of the job, and include only its major functions or activities. Thus the “telesales rep” is responsible for selling college textbooks. For the job of materials manager, the summary might state that the materials manager purchases economically, regulates deliveries of, stores and distributes all materials necessary on the production line. For the job mailroom supervisor, the mailroom supervisor receives, sorts, and delivers all incoming mail properly and he or she handles all outgoing mail including the accurate and timely posting of such mail.

While it’s common to do so, include general statement like performs other assignments as required with care. Such statements do give supervisors more flexibility in assigning duties. Some experts, however state unequivocally that one item frequently found that should never be included in a job description is a cop-out clause like other duties as assigned since this leaves open the nature of the job and the people needed to staff it. However, to avoid any ambiguities in case the assignment does not work out, it’s advisable to make it clear in the job summary that the employer expects the job incumbent to carry out his or her duties efficiently attentively an conscientiously.


There may be a relationships statement (not in the example) which shows the jobholder’s relationships with others inside and outside the organization. For a human resource manager, such a statement might look like this:

Reports to: Vice president of employee relations:

Supervises: Human resource clerk, test administrator labor relations director and one secretary

Works with: all department managers and executive management

Outside the company: Employment agencies, executive recruiting firms, union representatives, state and federal employment offices, and various vendors.

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