How To Write A Job Description

  • Use bullet statements, not run-on sentences.  Short and sweet.  Focus on key words. A rule of thumb is to have at least four, and no more than eight bullets.  Beyond that you’re either repeating or listing secondary tasks.
  • Start each bullet with a strong verb, like plan, develop, advise, operate, design, prepare, etc.  Powerful action more easily identifies either a direct or support role.
  • Avoid weak verbs like assist (what does that mean?), coordinate or work with.  Here the reader isn’t exactly sure of the job’s impact.
  • Focus on the key responsibilities.  The reader should come away with a clear understanding of the job’s main points.
  • Avoid flowery language, puffery that adds little clarity.  “Drive and have a passion for x”,  “Be the expert for . . “ and “serve as a thought partner”
  • Throw away subjective adjectives that aim at the how, not the what (excellent, strong, persuasive, collaborative, successfully, smart, solid, immense, aggressive, etc.).
  • Write the description as if there’s no incumbent.  Don’t be influenced by an employee’s background and experience.
  • Write the Basic Purpose last.  Once you’ve already prepared the bullets it’s straightforward to complete the summary.
  • Know when to stop.  Some writers can’t help themselves – especially when listing the job tasks.  They go on and on detailing secondary and minor tasks, not every aspect of the job has equal importance.