Understanding Job Descriptions

The job description is a written record of the job and its requirements, typically consisting of the following segments:

  • The job title, department, section and other identifying data to distinguish it from all other jobs.
  • A summary of the work performed, and the scope and overall purpose of the job, which helps to add perspective to the individual duties.
  • The individual duty, assignments and tasks, which make up the job.
  • The job specifications that bring out the requirements and demands made on the worker.

Job descriptions are commonly written to get directly at what the worker does, how he does it and why.

The description is written to describe the job not a particular person or employee, Job Description - Here is an example of a job description:   

Provide secretarial and administrative support to the Business and Finance Manager of a large central department comprised of 3 divisions and 400 employees. Secretarial duties include typing, filing and scheduling of appointments; maintenance of departmental and up-dating of campus-wide directories; processing of all supply orders through the on-line Purchasing and Accounts Payable System and supervision of departmental mail services.

Staff member works independently to prioritize and complete assigned tasks. Assignments are check periodically for progress by the direct supervisor.

Job Duties - Job Duties are the tasks that are expected of you at work. Use action verbs in describing your job duties. Action verbs are such words as:

            assigns                 determines               maintains                     reviews

            assists                   directs                      participates                  sorts

            attends                  establishes               performs                     studies

            briefs                     evaluates                  prepares                      supervise

            checks                  gathers                     projects                       tabulates

            conducts               gives                         receives                      takes

            confers                  identifies                   recommends               types

            constructs             inspects                    reports                                 

            coordinates           insures                      requisitions

Here are three examples of job duties described using action verbs:

  • assists in clearing all employee files
  • inspects all of # 13 mechanical parts
  • receives and sorts all customer-returned merchandise