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What Are the Best Tips for Writing a Job Description?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus

One of the best tips for writing a job description is to keep it both organized and short. The description should also be written in concise, plain language with words such as "use" and "now" rather than "utilize" and "this point in time." Using subheads and point form text can clearly present any job description to its target candidates. When writing the description, the writer should carefully consider both what the company is looking for as well as the information job seekers need.

Having an informative description can save the human resources or hiring manager time in answering candidates' questions before the interview stage. The more information included in a job description can also help "weed out" unqualified or uninterested applicants. On the other hand, too much text may make the relevant material more difficult for candidates to find.

Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone
Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone

The first thing to have is a job title. Although there may be different titles for the same position in various companies, a title can help identify a job. For example, Office Worker is much too general and doesn't identify the job as much as File Clerk or Accounting Assistant. It's also a good idea to list the location directly after the title in the job description to avoid any confusion. If full or partial telecommuting is a part of the position being advertised, this can be a real perk to many job seekers, so it should be mentioned near the top.

The next step is to express the experience and education levels needed, as these are requirements a job seeker will need to know right away. For instance, starting a job description with the word "junior" or "senior" can indicate the experience level, but it's still clearer to state the number of years of experience the company prefers. The type and level of degree or certification required for the position should also be mentioned here. If no experience is needed, that should also be mentioned in the ad to catch the attention of the right kind of candidates.

Using headings for the body of the job description with details in point form underneath can be a clear and effective method. Duties, hours and main responsibilities are typically enough subheads in which to describe a job. Who the successful candidate will report to, in terms of his or her title, could be mentioned either under "duties" or "main responsibilities." Certain skills such as software knowledge could also be stated. Hours could be listed simply as full-time or part-time or the exact work schedule could be added if it's more complicated.

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