How to Write an Effective Job Description

A clear and compelling job description is key to attracting qualified candidates. If a candidate can’t tell what a job entails, it’s tough for them to know if they should apply for it. Job descriptions can take many forms depending on your company culture and position requirements, but they generally include the following sections:
  • Job title. The title should accurately describe the nature of the job but be generic enough to be compared to similar jobs in your industry. Use clear, simple, descriptive words and stay away from jargon or unnecessarily flowery language. Keep it free of gender or age implications.
  • Job description and duties. Summarize the job responsibilities, including purpose and objectives. Positions in small companies usually involve multiple tasks, so include everything you expect the employee to take on. Indicate the ranking of the job and who the person will report to, along with any company standards that must be upheld. Remember, this is just a summary description, not an operational manual, so keep it as short as possible.
  • Skills and qualifications. List the skills absolutely necessary to perform the job at a high level. Some on-the-job training is to be expected, but you want your employee to hit the ground running on the first day. Also include more general competencies that you expect your employee to have, such as leadership, communication, teamwork, and initiative. If the job requires specific qualifications, such as professional certification, fluency in a language, or a minimum education level, make that clear.
  • Compensation. Setting a salary range rather than a fixed number gives you some negotiating room when it comes time to make an offer. The same is true for benefits, bonuses, and other forms of compensation. If you publicize the salary range in the description, you can avoid applicants who are way beyond your ability to pay. But keep compensation fluid so you don’t miss out on an otherwise great candidate who might be just over or under your range. To get a feel for competitive salaries, check with colleagues and study online resources like

Game Plan

For samples and templates to help you get started, check out this resource.
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