11/08/14 By Jennifer Brown

BusinessA job description is a crucial resource. It outlines the knowledge, skills, abilities and other talents needed to succeed. Many view the job description as only a recruitment tool; however, it is truly a valuable management tool used for performance management, succession planning, training, and compensation planning – not to mention an important document should your company find itself in a legal situation! Drafting an accurate job description (and keeping it current!) is one way for you to contribute value to your employees and company. The following examples are a great place to start building that foundation.

Position Summary

The first section you will want to create on the job description is a position summary. The position summary will briefly (4-5 sentences) outline the positions title, FLSA classification (exempt versus non-exempt), reporting structure and main purpose of the role within the organization. You should be able to read the summary and have a basic understanding of the position as it relates to the company as a whole.


Next, you will want to include a list (bullet points work great!) of the key responsibilities of the position. Provide as much detail as you can without getting too wordy. The responsibilities section is really the ‘meat’ of the job description. Should your department’s or company’s initiatives change, make sure this section is updated accordingly.


In this final section, you will want to list the knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics required for the position. You will often see education requirements (both discipline as well as level), years of experience, specific certifications, technical knowledge, physical requirements and behavioral attributes (i.e., organizational skills, interpersonal skills, verbal/written communication skills, etc.) as well as travel requirements. Many times employers list everything in this section as ‘required’, which can misrepresent the position. Once you have your master list for this section, go back through and highlight the true must-haves as ‘required’ and list the remainder as ‘preferred’.

Not sure if your job descriptions are up-to-date? Ask your employees! They can give you a first-hand account of their actual responsibilities and what is required to succeed. Set a reminder to review your team’s job descriptions annually. Apply these recommendations and you will have a useful document to reference when the time comes.