What is a job description used for?
The main purpose of a job description is to provide applicants with a clear, concise description of the duties and responsibilities that would fall to them if they were successful in their application for an open (or soon-to-be open) role.
They often also list the skills, experience, and qualifications that candidates must possess in order to be considered, as well as how performance is measured and who the successful applicant will be expected to report to.
Tips for writing a job description
You can refer to our free sample job description to help you create your own, but some basic tips for writing job descriptions that will get the most engagement include:
1. Keep it simple
Start by writing a couple of succinct lines about the role. What is the main purpose of the position? What are the biggest responsibilities?
Keep this to no more than two or three lines — people will likely be reading a lot of these as they hunt for new jobs, so the longer your opening gambit, the higher the chances that readers will switch off.
2. Detail the main duties & responsibilities
This next section is where you can get into more detail. The language you use should continue to be concise to help readers scan through quickly (list formats work better than paragraphs of prose), but include everything that applicants need to know about what they’ll be doing day to day.
It’s usually a good idea to list these duties in order of importance, from the top down.
3. Avoid the oversell
It’s important to be honest about what the job is and its role in your business. Try to avoid overzealous language or making grand claims about either the job or your business — you’re wasting both your time and the time of your applicants.
We all want the best possible applicants, but be realistic about what the role entails and what you can actually offer to your successful applicant.
4. Keep it jargon-free
Using technical terms that are commonplace in your industry is fine, but take care not to include any terms that are overly niche or complicated. Ask yourself: “Is it essential that applicants know what this means?”
If the answer is “no”, then opt for a description that anyone, regardless of experience, will be able to understand.
5. Use gender-neutral language
Keep descriptions and language neutral, and be aware of any terms that might betray — or appear to betray — unconscious bias. If in doubt, ask a third party to look over what you’ve written to double check.
Questions & answers about this free resource
Who is this job description sample and template for?
These free resources are intended for managers and business owners, specifically those who need to advertise roles either internally or externally.
Is this job template free to download?
Yes. There are no forms to fill in and there’s nothing to pay. Simply use the ‘Download’ button to start your download of two files: the free job description sample and the free job description template.
You’re free to make and share as many copies of these files as you like.
Why are you giving this template and sample away for free?
We’re in the business of making managers’ lives easier. Check out our library of free resources for managers and business owners.
What format are the sample and template saved in?
Our free job description sample is in a PDF format, which most devices or web browsers should be able to open. The editable template is saved as a docx file which can be opened in Microsoft Word, Pages, Writer, or Google Docs.