How to Write Effective Job Descriptions

Often times as a recruiter I will help people to write descriptive resumes that clearly distinguish that candidate from the flock of other candidates applying to the same job. Honestly, it is much easier to write a resume for a specific job description or position than it is to write a general resume that you would like to use to post on the resume boards. The most common gripe I hear in regards to resume writing is that the job seeker doesn’t know how to explain what they have done in a way that will help them to attain their next job. In order to help everyone write effective job descriptions I have come up with a few tips and tricks I have used in the past.

job description

#1 Write a list of what you do/did on a daily basis in last/current job.
It doesn’t have to be a fancy list in sentences or anything crazy; this is simply to provide you a cluster of ideas for what you will eventually be adding to your resume. Write a list of 10-15 responsibilities that you took on and then, when you can not think of anything else, perpetuate those fragments into sentences and formulate job duties. Fifteen “thoughts” may transfer into 5 bullet points on a resume and that’s a start.

#2 Research your role.
Go to your favorite search engine and type in your job title and the word “description”. More than likely, you will have many pages populate that have an enormous amount of job descriptions. Of course you won’t have performed all of the duties listed on the job descriptions you find, but it may remind you of things you do that you didn’t think about it. It will also give you an idea of what a typical employee does in your role and what you should be expecting from yourself. If you are lacking in areas that you see become a common them on descriptions then you should look into taking on more responsibilities. If this helps you to come up with 5 more bullet points then you are almost there.

#3 Check out the competition
Use your favorite search engine and type in the job title and “resume” and see what populates. Additionally, used linkedin to search job descriptions and look at what other people in your role use on their resume. It is always good to check out the competition and make sure you are up to par. If football coaches watch game tape of their oppenents, there is no reason why you shouldn’t look at resume of other job seekers and make sure yours is better.

# 4 Be detailed
Just because you are an administrative assistant that doesn’t mean that your job description means any less than the next description. Be as detailed as possible and make sure you put everything you do in the description without being repetitive in the same job. If you have similar duties in multiple roles it is okay to list those out repeatedly. Remember, a hiring manager would rather know everything you did than be left guessing about responsibilities you should have acquired but hadn’t listed.

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