How to Write a Job Description (Plus 7 Job Description Templates)

By Kiely Kuligowski,
business.com writer
|
Sep 11, 2020
Image Credit: fizkes / Getty Images

A job description is many people's first introduction to your company. Here's what to include to make an impression.

A job description is often a candidate's introduction to your business, so it's important to do everything you can to ensure a good first impression. Beyond that, a job description will introduce the most important aspects of a job and its requirements. Read this guide to learn what you must include in a job description, and to see real-life examples of job descriptions and templates.

What is a job description?

A job description outlines the essential functions, duties, responsibilities and skills for an open position, giving applicants an outline of the expectations for the role. Job descriptions are also known as job specifications, job profiles and position descriptions. [Looking for help with your job descriptions? Check out our picks for the best recruiting software.]

What should be included in a job description?

Despite the many reasons for their importance, a job posting does not need to be complicated. There are nine main things you should include in your job descriptions:

  1. Job title: The job title should accurately reflect the nature of the position, including how it ranks against the other positions in the company. Be sure it is in line with other jobs in your industry and makes sense to candidates. For example, avoid overly creative job titles, like "fashion evangelist" or "paranoid-in-chief."

  2. Job purpose: This is a general overview of the job that shows why your business needs it.

  3. Primary duties: How will the potential employee spend most of their time? What are the main expectations for the job? Keep this section brief; you don't need to detail every hour of the day. Just give an overview of what the job seeker will be doing.

  4. Skills and competencies: This section covers what the candidate must be able to do in order to succeed in the position. "Skills" are things a candidate has learned through experience or qualifications they have earned, while "competencies" are traits or abilities in specific things.

  5. Reporting line(s): Including the job title of the person the candidate would be reporting to in the role helps show how your business is organized and where the new employee would fit into the hierarchy. It also gives the candidate an early framework for mapping their career and setting their goals within your company.

  6. Required qualifications: This section lists the required level of job knowledge (such as years of experience, education, skills and abilities) that the candidate must have in order to be considered for and succeed in the role.

  7. Education: Include the level of education you expect the candidate to have (high school diploma, bachelor's degree, master's degree) and any preferred areas of study.

  8. Salary: While this is not critical to include, a salary range that is within the industry standard can make it clear what level of employee you are looking for (entry-level, associate, senior, etc.) and help candidates gauge whether the job is a good fit.

  9. Working conditions: This section is also optional but helpful to include, particularly if the working conditions are outside of the norm. Here you can give information on the working environment (office, outdoors, remote), potential exposures, physical requirements, travel or unusual hours.

How to write a job description

Writing a job description is relatively simple, especially if you're prepared with answers to the nine key things you should include in your description. Here are the seven steps to write a job description:

  1. Download or create a job description template. Many free downloadable position description templates are available online, or you can create your own. We've listed some templates for you to use below.

  2. Create a job title. Make it clear, concise and specific. Make sure it clearly denotes what the job is and doesn't sound made up.

  3. Open with a strong summary. Job candidates are searching for you as much as you're searching for them, so grab their attention with a compelling job summary. Give an interesting overview of not just the job, but also who you are as a company.

  4. Outline the job duties. Clearly state the primary functions of the job and what the candidate will be responsible for each day.

  5. List the required qualifications. State any specific qualifications or skills necessary to perform the job. These might include education, years of experience, experience with certain programs or apps, language skills, or industry certifications or connections.

  6. State the educational requirements. Include the highest level of education a candidate must have achieved to be considered.

  7. Include any other necessary information. At the end of your job description, add any information you think may influence a candidate's desire or ability to perform in the position, such as a description of the working environment, hours or travel requirements.

Why is a job description important?

Job descriptions are a vital part of the recruitment and evaluation process. They tell what the job is and how it fits into the organization as a whole. A strong job description also serves these important purposes:

  • It gives candidates a clear outline of the duties and functions of the job.
  • It provides legal grounds for your business to defend a hiring decision based on the candidate's ability (or inability) to perform the duties as described.
  • It shows how the position functions within your business as a whole and helps your company progress.
  • It gives employees a framework for job advancement goals.
  • It defines employees' responsibilities.
  • It justifies employees' salaries.
  • It allows recruiters to identify qualified applicants easily.

Furthermore, job descriptions can play a large role in regulatory compliance with both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). [Read related article: The Employer's Guide to the ADA]

To be protected under the ADA, an employee with disabilities must be able to perform the "essential functions" of the job (with or without reasonable accommodations). The job description is vital here because it outlines those essential functions, and it's the document that will be used as a reference if an issue regarding employee performance arises.

Under the FLSA, the job description determines if an employee is exempt or nonexempt from overtime eligibility. If you rely on your job description for that determination, it's critical for the job duties listed to be accurate. The job description's statement of exemption status could be irrelevant if the employee can prove that their primary job duties are not what was stated on the job description.

Where to find job description templates

Templates are a great way to create professional, custom job descriptions. Here are some of the best templates we've found:

In addition to these free online templates, many recruiting software options include job description templates.

Job description examples

Here are some real examples of well-written and comprehensive job descriptions:

1. Bookkeeper/accountant, Brown Bag Marketing

Brown Bag Marketing, a marketing firm located in the heart of Buckhead, Atlanta, is looking for a Bookkeeper/Accounting superstar with outstanding academic and business experience. The ideal candidate is well-versed in all facets of bookkeeping/accounting to include Accounts Receivable, Payable, Reconciliation, Reporting, and customer/vendor relations. Knowledge of QuickBooks and Bill.com is a must.   

This is a unique opportunity for someone to advance their career and positively impact our business on a daily basis. Requirements include:

  • 1 – 3 years of accounting experience in corporate or small business environment
  • Accounting/business finance Bachelor's degree (or higher), with outstanding academic performance
  • Interest in owning 100% of the accounting operations
  • Ability to work with a variety of internal and external customers at all levels
  • Strong analytical skills & attention to detail
  • Motivated to learn and grow, to seek out opportunities to improve yourself and our business overall
  • Ability to work well on a team and collaborate with others
  • Must be flexible and enjoy working in a fun, dynamic office environment (we work hard and play hard)

As an employee of Brown Bag Marketing, you will receive a competitive salary package, health benefits, and a 401(k) match. Plus, Brown Bag Marketing was recognized as Great Place to Work in 2020. Interested in joining this amazing team? Submit your resume and cover letter today! *No agencies, please.

Job posting on LinkedIn

2. Human resources manager, Sia Partners

As a trusted member of the firm-wide Talent Acquisition and Human Resources Department, the Human Resources Manager will serve as a trusted advisor for the Chief People Officer, CEO, and Partners in the areas developing policies, directing and coordinating human resources activities, such as employment, compensation, labor relations, benefits, training and employee services in compliance with applicable local, state and federal employment laws and regulations. We value entrepreneurial self-starters who bring innovative solutions to the table.  

HR MANAGER FOCUS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Develop and foster programs to support employee training and development
    • Provide guidance and direction on compensation and benefit
    • Develop effective employee relations strategies
    • Develop strategic solutions to meet workforce demands and labor force trends
  • Heavily focused on policy compliance and implementation
    • Advise and ensure issues and procedures are handled consistently and in a timely manner
    • Create and maintain business and employment policies
    • Manage internal employee communications
  • Ground Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) efforts
  • Provide counsel on HR matters to leaders, managers, and employees in a manner that reflects company value and culture
  • Cultivate positive relationships with employees at all levels of the organization
  • Manage immigration cases and statuses
  • Management of Reports related to Headcount, Performance Management, Compensation, Diversity, and others as needed
  • Collaborate with HR and TA partners
  • Train and coach staff when necessary

Desired Skills and Experience

  • Must currently reside in the New York City area
  • 5-7+ years of broad-based generalist experience in Human Resources in professional services environment
  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) or PHR
  • Proven track record of working in a dynamic, fast-paced environment requiring attention to detail while maintaining a focus on the big picture and business priorities
  • Depth of pragmatic experience with compensation planning, negotiation, and implementation
  • Demonstrated outstanding interpersonal and communication skills, including the ability to write clearly and concisely
  • Proven analytical and problem-solving skills including the ability to synthesize diverse information and make clear recommendations
  • Proactive, able to anticipate and address problems before they occur
  • High integrity and sound judgement, able to use discretion with all communications. Must always be able to ensure confidentiality and discretion of information
  • Excellent proficiency using Microsoft Office Suite required (Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Word)

Job posting on LinkedIn

3. Sales and planning coordinator, BBC

Job Introduction
The main purpose of this role is to support the ad sales teams in Ad Operations and sales coordination duties. The position is an integral member of the team based in the LA office and directly supports the West, Mid-west & LATAM sales teams. This role reports into the Head of Ad Operations & Inventory Management, Americas based in New York and has dotted line accountability into the LA-based Sales Director.

The Role Is Split Between Two Functions
Ad Operations & Inventory Management function is responsible for start-to-finish sales support – from Google Ad Manager (GAM) submission and approvals, trafficking, to billing and post sales analytics. The role will interact with many different parts of the business including Sales, Editorial, Product, Marketing, among others to ensure a flawless, high quality advertising experience for all stakeholders and clients. The Sales Coordination function is responsible for supporting ongoing selling activities, pulling relevant research and helping prepare assets & collateral for client meetings. The role will also be responsible for seamless delivery of advertising programs including advertising creative deadlines, technical specifications and tracking of delivery.

Role Responsibility
Ad Operations

  • Process & schedule campaign creative - includes communicating with clients & agencies on revisions or changes required
  • Set up test & preview pages as needed and send to internal team members and clients & agencies directly
  • Manage spec questions /spec sheets for US and respond to direct inquiries from clients & agencies
  • Provide ops coverage for “after hours” in NY / CHI / TOR and ROW as needed globally
  • Receive creative/vendor approvals from the UK
  • Troubleshoot creative / tags as needed and communicate updates or necessary revisions with clients and/or agencies
  • Google Ad Manager proposal submissions & approvals
  • Ad Lib submissions and approvals for buyouts & sponsorships

Sales Coordinator

  • Month end billing
  • Stewardship of campaign delivery:
  • Pacing and 1st vs 3rd party discrepancies
  • Quality Control (Make sure campaigns are trafficked and running correctly)
  • Screenshots for live campaigns – within 24 hours of a campaign launch or as required per customers’ expectations
  • Assist with comScore research & analysis; clients & agency insights utilizing trade and other research tools
  • Create mocks for decks (including, but not limited to: RFP’s, RFI’s, Meetings, Pro-Active Pitches)
  • Attend as needed agency and client meetings, industry events, activities to help support sales team in both LA and Chicago offices
  • Check competitive sites for prospecting opportunities
  • Organize contact sheets
  • Perform market research
  • Ad Hoc Projects

Are you the right candidate?
Essential Skills And Experience

  • Outstanding attention to detail, time management and the ability to multitask
  • Achieves, maintains low error rates and puts in place measures to prevent future errors.
  • Self-starter and pro-activity
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively within a team
  • Engages with team members in the creative process to test ideas and generate new thinking to build into account and opportunity plans
  • Develops and maintains a network of internal contacts to exchange technical and campaign information
  • Outstanding customer service
  • Ability to multitask and efficiently manage time and priorities
  • Is receptive to new ideas and approaches
  • Dedication to quality work whilst maintaining efficiency
  • Experience working in the advertising/media industry
  • Experience of using or interest in advertising technology

Relationships
Weekly communication with all US offices is essential, while also developing a strong network of contacts across the BBC. The individual will work across the value chain of campaigns with regular interactions across Global News including Ad Operations, Sales, Business Intelligence and StoryWorks.

About The BBC
We don’t focus simply on what we do – we also care how we do it. Our values and the way we behave are important to us. Please make sure you’ve read about our values and behaviors in the document attached below. Diversity matters at the BBC. We have a working environment where we value and respect every individual's unique contribution, enabling all of our employees to thrive and achieve their full potential. We want to attract the broadest range of talented people to be part of the BBC – whether that’s to contribute to our programming or our wide range of non-production roles. The more diverse our workforce, the better able we are to respond to and reflect our audiences in all their diversity. We are committed to equality of opportunity and welcome applications from individuals, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic background, religion and/or belief. We will consider flexible working requests for all roles, unless operational requirements prevent otherwise.

Job posting on LinkedIn

Kiely is a staff writer based in New York City. She worked as a marketing copywriter after graduating with her bachelor’s in English from Miami University (OH) and now writes on small business, social media, and marketing. You can reach her on Twitter or by email.
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