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How to Write an Effective Job Description

Writing a clear and accurate job description is an important first step to recruiting the candidate best suited to your needs.  It should outline what responsibilities and tasks the job entails and summarizes what skills and abilities are required for the position.


  1. Job Title:  The job title is the first thing job seekers see when they conduct a job search.  Therefore, the job title is the most important part of writing a great job advertisement. Job seekers will first click on job titles that grab their attention and are specific to their abilities.  Be clear in what you are looking for. 
  2. Application Deadline:  Having an application deadline is important as it creates a sense of urgency to apply to the posting and ensures you get a quick response.  
  3. Job Description:  Be accurate about the duties and responsibilities of the position – don’t understate or overstate them
    • Describe the desired results of work, rather than the method of accomplishing them. E.g. accurately input customer information into database.
    • Try to keep sentences short and to the point. Make the content easy on the eye, do not write it all in capitals.
    • Use clear, concise language. Don’t use ambiguous or elaborate language.
    • Begin each statement with a strong, action verb describing the activity. Use present tense. E.g. performs, drives, cooks, coaches, monitors, plans, etc
    • Avoid phrases that are seen to be discriminatory on the basis of religious preference, sex, race, age, nationality, or physical or mental disability; it is illegal.
    • Be sure to list any specialized skills, training, or experience that will be beneficial but not required for the position. It is important to differentiate between skills they ‘must have’ and skills that ‘would be nice to have’.
    • Be detailed, but don’t create an unrealistic job no one could possibly fulfill.
  4. Required Education:  Include minimum specifications for formal training, education, certifications, and licenses. This will set the standard for applicants and provide you with applicants that match your specific requirements. 
  5. Job Start Date: The more information you can provide in the job description the better quality applicants you will receive. By adding a Job Start Date you will let applicants know when you would like them to start.
  6. Compensation / Salary:  Salary information is optional - however - if the salary is not high, listing it may save you a lot of time from interviewing people who require more money. Also, be clear if the job has potential for growth, as that is something that all job searchers are looking for. Using the statement “salary commensurate with qualifications” provides flexibility to adjust the pay to the qualifications of the applicant. For more information on salary expectations please visit our Salary Information Section.
  7. How to apply:  Include information on how to apply to the position.  The options are by Email, Website, Telephone, Fax, or Mail.  The Email option tracks how many students apply through our website and can provide employers accurate numbers on how many students have applied. 
  8. Additional Information:  Provide any additional contact information for applicants along with other instructions, for example: "No personal enquiries please" or "Address your application to Human Resources Department".
    • Also, if you wish to let applicants know how you will respond to applications, please enter the information in this area.
    • Examples: "Applicants will receive a postcard acknowledging their application." or "Thank you for your interest; only applicants who will be interviewed will be contacted."