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Hiring great talent starts with attracting the right talent. Here, an effective, engaging, and inclusive job description is key. Before you start the interviewing process at your company, there must be 6 Essential Components Every Job Description Must Contain. 

Job descriptions provide the employee with an understanding of their duties and responsibilities. They also provide the employer with a basis for employee reviews, salary increases, and career goals. 

With a little upfront effort, you can craft just the right job description. This can help you to bring a wide range of highly talented candidates into your pipeline. It ensures that you’re not turning off talent before they even apply.

The best job descriptions combine:

  • A little bit of marketing.
  • The reality of the role.
  • The necessary skills and competencies.
  • The organization’s culture. 

All those things put together are key to how to present an open role to the market.

Useful Tips For Writing An Attractive Job Description

Job descriptions should be prepared in an understandable manner. All components should be stated to create a clear understanding of the role.  Here are some hints to assist you in the process:

  • Write in a concise, direct style.
  • Always use simpler words rather than complicated ones. Keep sentence structure as simple as possible. It will cut verbiage, shorten your description, and enhance understanding.
  • Use descriptive action verbs in the present tense (for example: writes, operates, or performs).
  • Avoid abbreviations and acronyms. Other people reading the position description may not be familiar with them. If abbreviations and acronyms are necessary, define them the first time you use them.
  • Don’t use ambiguous terms. If you use terms such as “assists, handles, and performs,” describe “how” the position assists, handles, or performs. Using the word “by” and then detailing the processes, tasks, or operations performed will usually clarify the ambiguity.
  • Avoid gender-specific language, such as, “He manages,” “She is responsible for.”
  • Focus on essential activities; omit trivial duties and occasional tasks.
  • Avoid referencing other employees’ names. Instead, refer to the job title or department.
  • Only include assigned duties today. Do not include potential future duties and eliminate any duties no longer required.

6 Essential Components You Need To Add To Your Job Description

A job description must contain the following components:  

  1. Job title
  2. Job purpose
  3. Job duties and responsibilities
  4. Required qualifications
  5. Preferred qualifications
  6. Working conditions.

6 Essential Components Every Job Description

1. Job Title

The job title is a brief description (1-4 words) of the job. It reflects the content, purpose, and scope of the job. It is consistent with other job titles of similar roles. For example, roles within a university may include:

  • Archivist
  • Associate Director Disability Services
  • Associate Registrar
  • Director of Student Health Services
  • Facilities Planner
  • Grants Accountant
  • Budget Analyst
  • Instructional Designer
  • Manager Desktop Services
  • Manager Custodial Services.

2. Job Purpose

The job purpose provides a high-level overview of the role, level, and scope of responsibility. It consists of three or four sentences. It provides a basic understanding, the “bird’s eye view” of the role. A concise summary of “why the job exists?”

3. Job Duties and Responsibilities

This section contains a description of the duties and responsibilities assigned to the job. They are also referred to as essential functions. They describe the fundamental nature of the job. It occupies a large proportion of the employee’s time.  Some items to consider:

  • Include explanatory phrases which tell why, how, where, or how often the tasks and duties are performed.
  • Focus on the outcome of tasks.
  • Reference areas of decision-making, where one will influence or impact.
  • Identify areas of direct or indirect accountabilities.
  • Describe the level and type of budgetary or financial responsibilities.
  • Describe the nature of the contact and the people contacted. Also, describe the extent to which the incumbent will interact with others.
  • List job duties that reflect the position requirements and ensure they are not based upon the capabilities of any one individual.

Type Of Supervisory Responsibility

If applicable, also address the type of supervisory responsibility that is expected from this role. Detail the extent of the job’s authority to hire, discipline, terminate, assign work, train, and evaluate the performance of subordinates. This can be either a separate job duty or noted in other job duties as appropriate.  The following lists various levels of supervision:

  • Provide direction to other individuals.
  • Supervises, hires, trains, provides work direction, and problem-solving assistance for student workers. Also oversees the daily operations of other staff.
  • Supervises staff, including hiring, scheduling, and assigning work. Also, reviewing performance, and recommends salary increases, promotions, transfers, demotions, or terminations.
  • Manages others through subordinate supervisors.

Importance And/Or Frequency

The job duties should be listed by the importance and/or frequency at which they are performed. They are typically presented in a bulleted or numbered format. They consist of about 4-7 separate duties, with each one assigned a “percent of the time” (adding to 100%). It reflects the estimated time an employee will spend over a year. Duties that need less than 5% of the time should be combined with other duties or removed from the job description. The following chart will assist you in estimating the percent of time:

Percentage Week Year
5% 2 hours 2 ½ weeks
10% 4 hours 5 weeks
15% 6 hours 1 ½  month
20% 8 hours 2 ½ months
25% 10 hours 3 months

4. Required Qualifications

This section lists the required level of job knowledge required to do the job. It focuses on the “minimum” level of qualifications you need to be productive and successful in the role.


Identify the educational qualifications that an employee must have to perform the job. State the educational qualifications in terms of areas of study and/or type of degree. Or state concentration that would provide the knowledge needed to enter this position.


Identify the minimum number of full-time experience required. It can be in terms of years and the type of work experience that an employee needs to be qualified for the job.  Should internships, undergraduate work experience, and graduate assistantships be accepted levels of experience? This will need to be specifically stated.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

In stating required knowledge, including the level or depth of knowledge required for entry into the position. The following definitions should be helpful:

  • Working Knowledge

Sufficient familiarity with the subject to know basic principles and terminology. Also, to understand and solve simple problems.

Sufficient knowledge of a field to perform most work in normal situations. The work calls for comprehension of standard situations. It includes knowledge of most of the significant aspects of the subject.

  • Thorough Knowledge

Advanced knowledge of the subject matter. The work calls for sufficient comprehension of the subject area. It is to solve unusual as well as common work problems. Thus, to be able to advise on technical matters. Also, to serve as a resource on the subject for others in the organization.

  • Comprehensive Knowledge

Requires complete mastery and understanding of the subject. This term should be used sparingly. Also, only for unusually exacting or responsible positions required to originate hypotheses, concepts, or approaches.

List specific skills or abilities needed for the incumbent to be successful in this role. It must include the designation of any required licenses or certifications.  Some considerations are:

  • Analytical
  • Budget exposure
  • Communication internal or external
  • Computer
  • Creative thinking
  • Customer service
  • Decision-making
  • Diversity
  • Logical thinking
  • Multi-tasking
  • Negotiation
  • Problem-solving
  • Project management
  • Supervision
  • Teamwork
  • And more   

5. Preferred Qualifications

An expanded listing of the needed qualifications can be used to further determine a person’s ability. Whether they can be productive and successful in the job.  These preferred qualifications are “nice to have”. But they are not essential to carrying out the day-to-day functions of the job.  If included, the preferred qualifications can focus on any or all of the following: 

  • Education
  • Experience
  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Abilities.

6. Working Conditions

Identify the working conditions and physical demands. All that relate directly to the essential job duties and responsibilities. Hence, you can be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Describe the type, intensity, frequency, and duration of physical or mental capabilities required. Consider the following:

  • Environment, such as an office or outdoors.
  • Exposures encountered, such as hazardous materials, loud noise, or extreme heat/cold.
  • Essential physical requirements, such as climbing, standing, stooping, or typing.
  • Physical effort/lifting, such as sedentary – up to 10 pounds; light – up to 20 pounds; medium – up to 50 pounds; heavy – over 50 pounds.
  • Indicate if required to work weekends, nights, or be on-call as a regular part of the job.
  • Travel requirements.
  • Emergency staff designations.
2022-06-15T14:19:11+00:00May 5th, 2022|

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