This article concludes a series of three articles that describes how to get clarity about your present role in your organization and write an effective job description.
- The first article established that writing a job description for your present position will help you clarify your role and establish a sense of better control and direction over your job. See full article here.
- Yesterday’s article described how to conduct a job analysis: how to thoroughly document your understanding of your role, its scope and context. See full article here.
Write Your Job Description
After completing a thorough job analysis, you should have a list of responsibilities and goals for your position. Here is how to organize this list and write a formal job description:
- A job description should be a high-level synopsis of the expectations of your role. It need not be all-encompassing or list specific tasks you required of you (that is the function of a ‘work-plan,’ where you translate your job description into a more-detailed list of tasks, projects and measures.)
- Prioritize your ideas and responsibilities. Group ideas by functional theme if possible. Each theme can then be written as a paragraph (or bullet point) in your job description.
- List no more than four or five paragraphs of responsibilities. Depending on your position, you may not need a very detailed list of responsibilities. For example, a worker on an assembly line may have just a single paragraph in his job description while an administrative assistant may have a more complex description of duties organized into three or four paragraphs of responsibilities.
- Each paragraph can consist of as many sentences as necessary to describe a responsibility precisely. Begin each sentence with a verb in present tense. See examples below.
- If your job involves supervising other employees, include the scope of responsibilities—coaching, training, conducting performance reviews, etc.
Get Concurrence from Your Supervisor
In your next one-on-one meeting with your supervisor, set aside some time to discuss your job description. Ask, “Is this what you expect of me? Is this in line with how you and our management see my role? Am I missing any responsibility or initiative? Do you see anything differently?”
Consider translating this job description into a more detailed work-plan that expands your responsibilities into a more thorough list of projects, initiatives and goals, and the corresponding metrics and targets. This work-plan along with your job description can establish a basis for measurement and job appraisal.
Revise Often and Maintain
Organizations, their objectives, routines and expectations constantly change. Keep your job descriptions current and accurate. Share your job description with your supervisor as part of the performance review process and continually seek agreement on how he sees your job.
Job Description Example 1: Software Architect
- Research and develop algorithms for automatic parameter-based design of passenger car engines and their machining process illustrations. Implement process-planning software in C++ and integrate an interface with a CAD software.
- Develop and implement algorithms to translate triangulated computer models into boundary representation data structures and recognize geometric features for design and machining.
- Research and develop algorithms for automatic conversion of two dimensional orthographic projections of mechanical engineering designs into three-dimensional solid models.
Job Description Example 2: Project Manager
- Coordinate new projects with Marketing. Write software technical profile from customer requirements. Develop and execute actionable plans for development and implementation of new software. Manage relationships and facilitate cross-functional issue resolution between marketing, customer support and customers.
- Recruit and supervise five software engineers. Manage engineers’ work loads and ensure contribution. Track, prioritize, report and coordinate the needs and progress of their projects.
- Coordinate software programming between offices in cities A and B and track measures for on-time performance of projects.
One of the leading causes of frustration and discontent for employees is the lack of clarity on what is expected on their roles. From an organization’s perspective, employees who do not understand their roles will fail to deliver.
By writing an effective job description for your present position, you can bridge the gap between the expectations of your role and your performance on your job. This generates better results for you, your management and the organization as a whole.