A job description is the foundation of How To Hire and Advertise A Job. A compelling job description will draw the attention of potential candidates and put the energy and momentum into the recruitment process, with the end goal of presenting a job offer to qualified candidates that align with your job profile. However, no matter how creative your penmanship, writing effective job descriptions starts with the basics and a little box-ticking. If you make an oversight and fail to include a critical element, your time and effort may be wasted. You may attract no job seekers at all, or almost as bad, attract applicants that are over or under-qualified.
So, what MUST you include in a job description?
The five things you must include in a job description so it can be used for job posting are:
- A job title
- A job summary
- Duties, tasks, and skills
- Pay and benefits
- Call to action
In this article, we look at how to overcome each job description writing challenge before exploring how to write a job description by business sector.
Essential small business resource: View our library of 800+ job descriptions.
1. Job Title
Job titles can be straightforward or challenging to pick, depending on the scope of the role. To write a compelling job title, consider what is most specific to your open job. Job titles should precisely describe the role, and our experience is that job seekers click on the job titles that exactly match the title of the position they are seeking.
We recommend you avoid using internal terminology, which often creates a virtual barrier that pushes candidates away instead of drawing them in.
2. Job Summary
The job summary is the first opportunity for your business to say why you are unique. The uniqueness of your organisation should be engrained in its employer brand, company mission, company culture, and values. You will find the breadcrumbs of your company culture on your business’s website, usually on the ‘about us’ or ‘careers’ page.
An effective job summary should also lay out your expectations and the job’s location (city/remote/work from home). By describing the job responsibility, purpose, and goals, you give job seekers the chance to determine if their person specification aligns with your job profile.
3. Duties, Tasks, And Skills
Your job description should include a list of duties, tasks, and skills. The main duties and responsibilities take priority and define the must-do actions of the employee. Employers often judge the candidate’s performance on these during appraisals. Tasks are any other daily or regular activities employees undertake, usually required when tackling the job’s duties or to meet legal requirements and compliance.
Skills usually fall into two categories; soft skills and technical skills. Soft skills are personality traits that are beneficial in the work environment. For example, good communication or problem-solving. Technical (hard) skills are the necessary skills and knowledge potential candidates will need to fulfil the role. They are usually defined as required qualifications or experience required. For example, information technology proficiency, five years of experience in [profession], or a Bachelor’s degree in [subject]. The details of required certifications and accreditations also fall under the moniker of hard skills.
Presenting the duties, tasks, and skills in your job description will help job seekers determine if they fit into the qualified candidates’ bracket, reducing the time employers will need to invest in candidate screening. So should you include work ethics in a job description? Find out by reading our latest blog – Should you Include Work Ethic In A Job Description?
4. Pay And Benefits
Salary and benefits are a vital component of your Employee Value Proposition. Employers aiming to hire the best candidates should not overlook pay and benefits in their job description and job posting. Our recruiting data and experience highlight two valuable facts: Hiring success increases if you state a salary or pay band, and three-quarters of recruiting businesses fail to recognise and include the job’s salary. To stand out from other employers, tackle pay in your job posting, not your job interview.
If you are already at the interview stage of the hiring process, visit our interviews hub for free valuable resources.
A business hiring talent tends to be more forthcoming with benefits. While no candidate will turn their nose to a company pension or health plan, employee expectations have recently changed and evolved. A healthy work-life balance is a top-ranking factor when candidates consider your position. Therefore, it will help to create a job description that sets out your working conditions, including your flexible working policy (remote/hybrid/work from home/when work hours can be completed). For further advice on working hours, read our article UK Employment Hours: A Comprehensive Guide To Work Hours.
Highlighting career development, training, and opportunities to earn further qualifications remain an effective way to attract the right candidate.
5. Call To Action
Your call to action should contain key information on how candidates should apply for your position. Your options include directing talent to an online job application form or requesting CVs be sent to the recruiter’s email. At this point in the hiring process, it is an excellent idea to decide if you will conduct phone screening and video or in-person interviews. A medium-sized or small business may find it advantageous to investigate a flat fee recruitment solution that rolls up job advertising, CV filtering, candidate screening, and interview scheduling.
Writing A Job Description By Business Sector
Find what to include in a job description for your business sector below and follow the links for an example job description.
ACCOUNTING JOB DESCRIPTIONS
Accounting duties include filing tax returns, preparing financial statements, conducting financial analysis, and maintaining financial records. Accounting tasks might include resolving discrepancies, calculating taxes, financial forecasting, and auditing paperwork for legal compliance.
Examples of accounting soft skills include numeracy, detail orientated, and problem-solving. Accounting hard skills include Chartered Institute Accreditation, a CPA exam pass, and a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting.
Resources to help you write an Accounting job description:
- Duties, Tasks, And Skills For Accounting Job Descriptions
- How To Hire Accounting Staff
- Key Roles And Responsibilities In Accounting
- Accounting Job Descriptions
ADMINISTRATION JOB DESCRIPTIONS
Administration duties include word processing, data entry, answering calls, and providing clerical support to the management team. Tasks include general bookkeeping, delivering mail, ordering office supplies, and recording expenses.
Administration soft skills include good typing skills, attention to detail, organisation, and multitasking. Examples of administration hard skills include a Level 2 or 3 Business Administration Diploma and Microsoft Office proficiency.
Resources to create your job listing:
- Duties, Tasks, And Skills For Administration Job Descriptions
- How To Hire Administration Staff
- Key Roles And Responsibilities In Administration
- Administration Job Descriptions
BAR AND RESTAURANT JOB DESCRIPTIONS
Bar and restaurant duties might consist of taking orders, serving food, and clearing tables. Examples of the bar and restaurant tasks include taking payments from customers, balancing the till, and handling customer complaints.
Valuable bar and restaurant soft skills include a good memory, excellent communication, and numeracy. Hard bar and restaurant skills include POS system proficiency and a Diploma in Advanced Professional Cookery or Professional Culinary Arts.
Further reading to aid your candidate search:
- Duties, Tasks, And Skills For Bar And Restaurant Job Descriptions
- How To Hire Bar And Restaurant Staff
- Key Roles And Responsibilities In Bar And Restaurant
- Bar And Restaurant Job Descriptions
CIVIL SERVICE JOB DESCRIPTIONS
The duties of a civil service position include conducting research, guiding people’s training, investigating crime, and overseeing policy development. Civil service tasks might include office administration, answering the public’s questions, collecting rent, and taking legal action.
Soft civil service skills include integrity, objectivity, and impartiality. Technical skills include specialist knowledge of career paths, engineering, law, environment, or security, often qualified through a relevant degree.
These articles will help your company explore the various jobs and their responsibilities further:
- Duties, Tasks, And Skills For Civil Service Job Descriptions
- How To Hire Civil Service Staff
- Key Roles And Responsibilities Of Civil Service Professionals
- Civil Service Job Descriptions
CONSTRUCTION JOB DESCRIPTIONS
Construction duties might entail project management, using machinery, unloading building materials, and negotiating contracts. Everyday tasks include preparing the construction site for the following building phase, attending team meetings, and erecting traffic signals.
Construction soft skills include physical fitness, time management, and health and safety know-how for a work environment that has potential dangers. Hard skills include a heavy equipment driving licence and a project management or construction degree.
Explore the details of each position further:
- Duties, Tasks, And Skills For Construction Job Descriptions
- How To Hire Construction Staff
- Key Roles And Responsibilities In Construction
- Construction Job Descriptions
CUSTOMER SERVICES JOB DESCRIPTIONS
Customer services responsibilities include answering incoming calls, updating customer records, and promoting company products and services. The tasks of customer services consist of responding to emails, adding or removing subscription features, and selling company products.
Soft skills include active listening, verbal communication, and empathy. Technical customer services skills include a Certificate in Customer Service or Contact Centre Operations and proficiency with CRM systems.
Discover further details of customer services roles below:
- Duties, Tasks, And Skills For Customer Services Job Descriptions
- How To Hire Customer Services Staff
- Key Roles And Responsibilities In Customer Services
- Customer Services Job Descriptions
EDUCATION JOB DESCRIPTIONS
Educations jobs entail many duties such as creating and delivering lesson plans, grading students, and maintaining a safe learning environment. Education tasks include attending faculty meetings, guiding children’s behaviour, and preventing bullying.
Soft skills in education consist of interpersonal abilities and presentation skills. Technical education skills include a relevant degree accompanied by Qualified Teacher Status.
Recruiting resources for small and medium-sized businesses:
- Duties, Tasks, And Skills For Education Job Descriptions
- How To Hire Education Staff
- Key Roles And Responsibilities In Education
- Education Job Descriptions
FINANCE JOB DESCRIPTIONS
Finance job responsibilities consist of processing financial transactions, financial planning, and risk management. Finance tasks include data entry, maintaining balance sheets, and researching economic conditions.
Soft skills for finance include numeracy, attention to detail, and strategic thinking. Hard skills for employees are a Bachelor’s degree in Finance or qualifications such as the CFA, CAIA, CFP, or ACA.
Aid your search for finance employees with these resources:
- Duties, Tasks, And Skills For Finance Job Descriptions
- How To Hire Finance Staff
- Key Roles And Responsibilities In Finance
- Finance Job Descriptions
HEALTHCARE JOB DESCRIPTIONS
Healthcare jobs involve performing medical tests, diagnosing conditions, and conducting operations. Employees will schedule appointments, liaise with laboratories, and collaborate with other medical professionals.
Beneficial personality traits for employees include compassion, empathy, positivity, and receptiveness. Qualified candidates might be Health and Care Professions Council or Nursing and Midwifery Council registered.
You can determine your job profile using these resources:
- Duties, Tasks, And Skills For Healthcare Job Descriptions
- How To Hire Healthcare Staff
- Key Roles And Responsibilities In Healthcare
- Healthcare Job Descriptions
HOSPITALITY JOB DESCRIPTIONS
Hospitality duties may focus on event planning, ensuring guests’ safety, and handling complaints. Daily tasks involve greeting guests, restocking supplies, and responding to customer requests.
Practical soft skills are multitasking, communication, and decision-making. The best candidates may have a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management or Hotel Management or a Certificate in Cleaning Principles.
Explore the details of a hospitality job description further by reading:
- Duties, Tasks, And Skills For Hospitality Job Descriptions
- How To Hire Hospitality Staff
- Key Roles And Responsibilities In Hospitality
- Hospitality Job Descriptions
HR JOB DESCRIPTIONS
HR candidates will manage employee relations, maintain employee records, and conduct a candidate search. Tasks include recording work hours and absences, onboarding new hires, and resolving inter-employee conflicts.
HR skills consist of good communication, business acumen, and objectivity. Technical proficiencies include MS Office, UK employment law, and a degree in Human Resource Management.
Further articles on writing HR job specifications:
- Duties, Tasks, And Skills For HR Job Descriptions
- How To Hire HR Staff
- Key Roles And Responsibilities In HR
- HR Job Descriptions
IT JOB DESCRIPTIONS
IT responsibilities include providing technical support, overseeing software development, and maintaining systems, networks and other infrastructure. IT employees may also update hardware and software, train new employees, and manage security threats.
Interpersonal skills and an aptitude for solving technical problems complement technical qualifications such as a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or Website Development.
You can discover more about what to include in an IT job profile below:
- Duties, Tasks, And Skills For IT Job Descriptions
- How To Hire IT Staff
- Key Roles And Responsibilities In IT
- IT Job Descriptions
MANAGEMENT JOB DESCRIPTIONS
The responsibilities of management include training and motivating their team, managing day-to-day operations, planning budgets, and setting quality and sales goals. Regular tasks cover running meetings, creating staff schedules, and allocating department resources.
Leadership skills and business acumen may be demonstrated through experience or a Master’s degree in Business Administration or Operations Management.
Your company can learn more by reading the following articles:
- Duties, Tasks, And Skills For Management Job Descriptions
- How To Hire Management Staff
- Key Roles And Responsibilities In Management
- Management Job Descriptions
MARKETING JOB DESCRIPTIONS
Marketing roles involve creating and implementing marketing strategies and plans. Duties and tasks include ensuring campaigns run within budget, raising brand awareness, and managing paid advertising.
Soft marketing skills include writing, public speaking, and intuition. Hard marketing skills include proficiency in using Adobe Creative Suite and a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing or Public Relations.
The following resources will help you write your description:
- Duties, Tasks, And Skills For Marketing Job Description
- How To Hire Marketing Staff
- Key Roles And Responsibilities In Marketing
- Marketing Job Descriptions
PROFESSIONAL SERVICES JOB DESCRIPTIONS
The duties of professional services vary and might include providing legal advice, conducting research, project management, and consultation. Job tasks consist of writing procedures, policies, and contracts, training staff, and troubleshooting problems.
Skills for professional services include leadership, research, and communication. Technical proficiency is usually quantified by a relevant degree.
Further hiring resources:
- Duties, Tasks, And Skills For Professional Services Job Descriptions
- How To Hire Professional Services Staff
- Key Roles And Responsibilities In Professional Services
- Professional Services Job Descriptions
RETAIL JOB DESCRIPTIONS
The responsibilities of retail staff include hitting sales and customer service goals. Retail tasks include processing transactions, balancing the cash till, receiving stock.
Soft retail skills comprise of good time management, communication, numeracy, and sales. Hard skills may be evidenced through work experience or a relevant degree.
Discover the elements of a retail job description by reading:
- Duties, Tasks, And Skills For Retail Job Descriptions
- How To Hire Retail Staff
- Key Roles And Responsibilities In Retail
- Retail Job Descriptions
SALES JOB DESCRIPTIONS
Sales duties will include hitting sales targets, finding new business prospects, and building relationships with customers. Typical tasks are answering or making sales calls, processing sales transactions, and collaborating with the marketing department.
Persuasiveness, drive, and an ability to communicate with clients are excellent soft skills for sales. Hard sales skills include a proven track record or a Bachelor’s degree in sales or marketing.
Fill out your job profile by investigating the following articles:
- Duties, Tasks, And Skills For Sales Job Descriptions
- How To Hire Sales Staff
- Key Roles And Responsibilities In Sales
- Sales Job Descriptions
TRANSPORTATION JOB DESCRIPTIONS
Transportation duties comprise scheduling services, supply chain management, and logistics compliance. Tasks include planning routes, monitoring stock, delivering goods, and monitoring safety.
Interpersonal, time management, and geographical awareness are desirable soft skills. Hard skills include an HGV or forklift licence or an Associate’s degree in Logistics or Transportation.
Explore transportation job posting further:
- Duties, Tasks, And Skills For Transportation Job Descriptions
- How To Hire Transportation Staff
- Key Roles And Responsibilities In Transportation
- Transportation Job Descriptions
Job Description FAQs
Next, we answer your questions on what to include in a job description.
A job description is a profile of the role comprising the job’s title, responsibilities, skills, pay, and benefits.
Your company should choose a title that precisely describes the role and might be used by candidates making a job search.