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Job Description


The Process/Sample Job Description

1. Write a brief overview of the job. Include its location. This provides others with a framework for understanding the job's duties.

EXAMPLE: "This position is located in the Department of _______. The employee provides typing support to five faculty, is the receptionist for the department, and maintains office supplies."

2. List all activities that are performed on a regular basis.

Be as current and thorough as you can. Adding to your list over the course of a week will help you recall all the regular activities. If the activity is performed periodically, note whether it is done monthly, quarterly, annually, etc.

EXAMPLE: Job Title: Senior Administrative Specialist

1. Check in supplies when received from vendors.
2. Provide supplies to staff on request.
3. Answer department phone.
4. Type manuscripts, letters, tables, and graphs.
5. Proofread manuscripts, letters, tables, and graphs.
6. Prepare travel documents.
7. Take messages.
8. Order supplies from general storehouse when needed.
9. Answer students' questions in person and on the phone.
10. Refer callers and visitors to proper sources.
11. Schedule meetings.
12. Find and order supplies from outside vendors.
13. Maintain supply cabinet.
14. Send out mailings.
15. Follow up on problems with vendors.
16. Other job-related duties as assigned.

3. Group related activities together that form a major duty. Assign a title that summarizes the content of the major duty. Start the title with an ACTION VERB.

Define as many or as few major duties as you wish for now (typically three to eight). If necessary, Step 5 will show you how to reduce your list to five major duties.

EXAMPLE:

Act as Receptionist (40% of job)

3. Answer department phone.
7. Take messages.
9. Answer students' questions in person and on the phone.
10. Refer callers and visitors to proper sources.

Provide Typing Support (30% of job)

4. Type manuscripts, letters, tables, and graphs.
5. Proofread manuscripts, letters, tables, and graphs.

Provide Supplies (15% of job)

1. Check in supplies when received from vendors.
2. Provide supplies to staff on request.
8. Order supplies from general storehouse when needed.
12. Find and order supplies from outside vendors.
13. Maintain supply cabinet.
15. Follow up on problems with vendors.

Miscellaneous (15% of job)

6. Prepare travel documents.
11. Schedule meetings.
14. Send out mailings.
16. Other job-related duties as assigned.

If you don't have a miscellaneous category, write the following at the end of your job description: "Other job-related duties as assigned."

4. Remember that the percentages for all the major duties must add up to 100%.

EXAMPLE:

Act as Receptionist
40% of job
Provide Typing Support 30%
Provide Supplies 15%
Miscellaneous 15%
Total 100% of job

5. Review your list of major duties.

The goal is to end up with three to five major duties that will be useful for communicating the job to the employee and to use in evaluating performance.

(a) If a major duty is more than 30% of the job, look to see if it would be useful to split the duty into separate parts.

EXAMPLE:

Administrative Duties (45% of job) could split into:

Provide Typing Support (30% of job)

Type reports and correspondence.
Proofread reports and correspondence.

Miscellaneous (15% of job)

Prepare travel documents.
Schedule meetings.
Send out mailings.

Keep in mind that you will be able to communicate better with the employee if you don't try to cover too much of the job in one duty. Your performance ratings will also be more accurate.

(b) If you defined more than five major duties, consider ways to combine the duties further. These suggestions will help:

Keep the duty separate if it's more than 20% of the job.


EXAMPLE:

Prepare Budgets (30% of job) could be a combination of:

Prepare budget reports (20% of job)
Collect budget data.
Balance budget figures.
Write detailed reports.

Make budget recommendations (10% of job)
Project future income and expenses.
Recommend ways to balance budget.

Combine unrelated duties that are 1% to 10% of the job into a category called "miscellaneous."

Combine the percentages for the unrelated duties to get a percentage for the miscellaneous category. Record the percentage for each part when you describe it (this will allow you to rate each part separately later on).

EXAMPLE:

Miscellaneous (15% of job) could be a combination of:

Preparing travel documents.
Scheduling meetings.
Sending out mailings.
Other work-related duties as assigned.

6. Transfer the completed job description to another sheet of paper. Include the job title, employee's name (if the job is not vacant), supervisor's name, overview of the job, and list of activities organized into major duties. List the major duties in order of their importance.

The supervisor should sign to indicate approval of the description. Once the position is filled, the employee should sign the description to indicate s/he has seen it and understands it.

7. To make sure you have a current, accurate job description available the next time you need to fill the position, review the job description at least annually at performance review time, and revise it as duties change.

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The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
Last modified on 06/05/14 09:33 AM
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