Free Sample Letters - Personnel Issues - Job Descriptions - Guidelines

Free Sample Letters > Personnel Issues > Job Descriptions > Guidelines

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Job Descriptions


Begin with a summary statement of overall responsibilities.

Be broad enough so the job description can be tailored to fit a variety of locations or performance standards. That does not mean, however, to revert to abstractions. In other words, in writing a job description for a sales field representative, you cannot say, “shall make at least 10 calls per month on new accounts.” In some territories that require extensive traveling between accounts, 10 such calls may involve 70 percent of a salesperson’s time, while in other areas 10 calls might involve only two days’ work. Instead, give a broad (yet concrete) description of performance standards, saying, for instance, 15 percent of all sales calls should involve prospective clients. For some employees that may mean two calls per month; for others that may mean 10.

Organize specific tasks into broad categories of responsibilities.

State responsibilities in measurable terms. Avoid comments such as, “Initiates effective publicity for new services and products.” What is “effective publicity”? Or, “Is responsible for maintaining positive company image with the community.” How? When? By whose standards? Instead, refer to actions to be performed and measured: “Holds monthly staff meetings to improve coordination of efforts.” “Reports all budget expenditures over $500.” “Creates individualized patient-care plans on all assigned patients.”

Mention to whom the employee reports in each area of responsibility if the chain of command is unclear. This is particularly important if the job involves work for several people or if the position is primarily a liaison between departments.

Show how individual duties relate to others’ responsibilities within the department and outside the department, if appropriate. For instance, in the job description for the equipment technician, notice in the second sentence that the individual “recommends”; in other words, this position does not hold final authority in the areas listed.

Include sources of information needed to perform the job.

Use headings and lists. Keep wording brief, as on a résumé.

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