3 Steps to Writing a Better Job Description

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A job description is a powerful tool. It clearly communicates to potential candidates what position a company needs to fill. This helps ensure only the best candidates apply to the job. The more effectively a job description is written, the better candidates it will draw, and the shorter the hiring process will be.

“No state or federal law ‘requires’ job descriptions. But job descriptions can be helpful tools for both practical and legal reasons. (They) can be useful communication tools to tell employees exactly what tasks you expect them to perform.” — Why You Should Have Job Descriptions  

Write a Better Job Description in 3 Steps

Writing an effective job description isn’t just for those with great communication skills. Anyone can write a good job description by following these three steps:


1. Start with essential skills, experience, and education — At the beginning of a job description, list the skills, experience, and education the position requires. Most companies don’t do this. Instead, they advertise the company. Save this for a later section of the job description. The average person has a very short attention span, so state the essential skills of the job from the start. This will filter out unsuitable candidates quickly.

2. Clarify what you want, as well as what you don’t — Many job descriptions state only what a company wants in a candidate. This is good, but writers should be sure to also mention what the company does not want in a candidate. A contributor to Recruiter.com provided an example of this:

“NOTE: This role is only available to US citizens and Green Card holders living in the Greater New York area. Please do not apply unless this role is a very close match to your background. Thank you.

3. Simplify the wording — A job description should be short, sweet, and to the point. It should simply state what skills, experience, and education the position requires, and what the company does and does not want in a candidate. The keyword here is “simply.” When it comes to how you word a job description, simplicity is key. This won’t knock your candidates’ intelligence, but it will honor their time and help them make a quick judgement about whether they are a good fit for the job or not. The more clearly you word your job description, the more suitable the candidates will be who apply.

A well-written job description will attract the right candidates to your company. Ensure your job descriptions are on-point by…

  • Stating the required skills, experience, and education right off the bat.
  • Clarifying both what your company wants and does not want in a candidate.
  • Simplifying the wording of the job description.

Does your company’s job descriptions usually draw the right type of candidates?

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