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Tips for Writing Job Descriptions

Why do we have job descriptions?

  • So that employees know what is expected of them.
  • To help employees understand how their work makes a contribution to the department & the College as a whole.
  • To communicate with applicants during the hiring process.
  • To define the minimum education and experience that would make someone qualified for a position.
  • To assist with determining appropriate compensation levels for the position.
  • To define the essential elements of the position, used if the employee requests changes to their duties as an accommodation under the ADA.

NOTE:  The job description is an official document, therefore it should be written in appropriate language.  Personal characteristics such as age, gender, race, religion, should never be used to define a position.

A job description should be:

  • Clear
  • Written in straight-forward, simple language
  • Broadly define key responsibilities. (An appropriate level of detail can usually be achieved in 2 pages or less.)
  • Shows how the position supports the strategic plan/mission of the department and the College
  • Identifies essential tasks in the appropriate field. (A job function is considered "essential" when performance of the function is the reason that the job exists. A function may be "essential" when: the number of employees available to perform   the function is limited, the function requires specialized skills, the function occupies a large percentage of time, and failure to perform the function may have serious consequences.)

 A job description should not be:

  • A list of tasks
  • Include personal characteristics such as age, gender, race, or religion. These items should never be used to define a position.

Human Resources
Marble Works
152 Maple St.
Suite 101
Suite 203 (Benefits)
Middlebury, VT 05753
Phone: 802-443-5465
Fax: 802-443-2920
Benefits Fax: 802-443-2058