Job Description Writing Guide University Of Pittsburgh

Job description writing guide university of pittsburgh

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Job Description Writing Guide
This guide provides the basics of writing a job description and covers the following sections of the job
♦ Position Details
♦ Job Duties (“What you do”)
♦ Performance Standards (“How you do it”)
♦ Job Factors
For more comprehensive instruction, the Compensation Department offers Job Description workshops to
provide administrators, managers, supervisors, and staff employees with the necessary tools to write effective
job descriptions. Please see the Compensation Main page or FSDP page on the Organization Development
website for dates and times of the next Job Description Workshop available to you

Position Details
This Position Details section contains general information about the job – the current or requested
classification, working title, pay range, exemption status, department name and number, position number,
percentage of effort, the job description summary, comparable positions, etc

Working Title – The working title for a job should be based upon the main function or role of the job. It is
important to stray away from vague and very specific job titles, instead create a working title that appropriately
describes both the level of responsibility and role of the job. Here are some examples of good working titles
and those that need some improvement:
Good Working Titles Working Titles that need improvement
Program Director Director of the XYZ Program at the School of AB
Administrative Assistant Assistant to the Director of ABC Dept
Help Desk Support Analyst Systems Programmer II
Business Manager Administrator III
Job Description Summary – The job description summary:
‘ Contains 1 - 3 paragraphs
‘ Summarizes the main points of the job description which may include key responsibilities, functions,
and duties; education and experience requirements; and any other pertinent information (i.e

scheduling requirements, travel, etc)
‘ Is used in job postings
Comparable Positions – Use this section to list any positions in the department that have a similar role or
level of responsibility. It is useful to the Compensation Analyst during the classification process and helps to
ensure positions are classified consistently

On the following page, you will find an example of the Position Details section

Job Description Writing Guide
Position Title
Job Classification Administrator I
Hiring Range $20,064.00-$30,480.00
FLSA Status Non-Exempt
Provisional Period 6 Months
Pay grade level 5
EEO-6 Category PR
Salary Minimum $20,064.00
Salary Midpoint $30,480.00
Salary Maximum $40,896.00
Position Information
Department 99999 – Department Name
Working Title Admissions Coordinator
Assignment Category Regular, Full-Time
Position number: 5557777
Campus Oakland
If other campus, please specify
Job Type Staff
Bargaining Unit
Staff Work Months 12
Percent of Effort (Use numbers only) 100
The Admissions Coordinator is responsible for administering the admissions and
registration processes and providing administrative support to the Program Director

Administration of the admissions process includes serving as the primary point of
contact for potential students, preparing recruitment event materials, processing
applications, coordinating the transcript evaluation process, and preparing admissions
Job Description Summary correspondence. Coordinate the initial registration process for students, review and
coordinate the transfer credit evaluation process, post transfer credits, and provide
(Note: This summary is the language that will be used in general information to students. Administrative support to the Program Director
the posting to advertise the position on the OHR
Employment Web site) includes preparing general correspondence, answering phone calls, assisting with
meeting preparation, making travel arrangements, etc

A qualified candidate should have one to two years of experience in an academic
support or secretarial position, preferably in a University setting. An associate’s
degree is preferred

Comparable Positions
(If there are any comparable positions within the #1234567
department, identify these positions by position number
and note the similarities and differences.)
Job Description Writing Guide
Job Duties
The Job Duties section is the foundation of the Job Description. It conveys the complexity, scope, and level of
responsibility of a job. Due to the significance of this section, it is important to accurately, concisely, and
completely describe the duties and responsibilities of a job

This section of the Job Description is comprised of three main elements:
The main areas of responsibility within a job, or “buckets of work.” A job description
Key Accountabilities
usually contains three to five Key Accountabilities

Sentences that provide additional information about the tasks associated with the Key
Duty Statements

Percentage of Time Estimates the portion o f the job that is spent on a particular Key Accountability

Job Duties Writing Methods
When the Job Duties are well written and organized, they can accurately convey the complexity, scope, and
level of responsibility of a job. To assist in the organization and writing of the Job Duties, two writing methods
have been developed:
Method # 1:
1. Think of the job in terms of its Key Accountabilities, or main responsibilities/functions. Typically, a job
will have 3 - 5 major Key Accountabilities. Here are some examples:
¾ Budget Management
¾ Executive Support
¾ Event Coordination
2. After establishing the Key Accountabilities, generate specific job duties associated with each. These
are the individual tasks or duties that correspond to the Key Accountability. For example, specific
Budget Management duties might include:
¾ Prepare budgetary reports
¾ Analyze expenditures
¾ Monitor levels
3. Condense the specific job duties into two to three concise “Duty Statements,” beginning each statement
with an action verb (see page 8 for a list)

Job Description Writing Guide
Method # 2:
1. Brainstorm a list of all the duties required to perform the job. These are the individual tasks completed
on a daily, weekly, monthly or annual basis. Below is an example of a task list:
¾ Arrange for catering
¾ Compose and types correspondence
¾ Coordinate logistical support for meetings, seminars, and departmental events
¾ Determine and secures the event location
¾ Make travel arrangements
¾ Monitor levels
¾ Prepare budgetary reports
2. Review the list and group the duties based upon the specific functions and responsibilities of the
position, also known as Key Accountabilities

3. Establish the Key Accountabilities. For this group, the Key Accountabilities may include: Event
Coordination, Administrative Support, and Budget Administration

4. Condense the specific job duties into two to three concise “Duty Statements,” beginning each statement
with an action verb (see page 8 for a list)

Here is an example of a well written and organized Key Accountability Section in a Job Description:
Key Accountability Event Coordination
Coordinate all Dean’s Office events. This includes securing the event location,
scheduling presenters, coordinating the production of event marketing materials and
Duty Statements
programs, maintaining the RSVP list, and making all catering arrangements. At the
event, supervise the event staff and greet the guests

Percentage of Time 15%
To summarize, here are some things to remember when completing the Job Duties section of the job
‘ The Job Duties section should contain 3 - 5 Key Accountabilities

‘ Title each Key Accountability section to summarize the function / role

‘ Include 2 - 3 concise Duty Statements for each Key Accountability. The Duty Statements expand upon
that particular area of responsibility as well as the role and complexity of the position

‘ Begin Duty Statement with an action verb (see page 8 for a list)

‘ Limit the listing of Duty Statements and Key Accountabilities to what is required to perform the job

‘ Do not include duties that are no longer performed or those that may be required in the future

‘ Write the duties in terms of what the position requires, not based upon the capabilities of any individual

‘ Determine an accurate percentage of time the incumbent should spend on that particular Key
Accountability over the course of a year
Job Description Writing Guide
Performance Standards
The Performance Standards section:
‘ Conveys the expectations of the job
‘ Depicts the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to be successful in the job
‘ Provides a basis for measuring performance
This section is typically completed by either the supervisor, hiring manager, or designated administrator in the
department. There is a Performance Standards section associated with each Key Accountability which
provides information about the performance expectations of that particular area of responsibility. Here is an
example of a Performance Standard for the “Event Coordination” example in the Job Content Section:
Key Accountability Event Coordination
ƒ Coordinate departmental and programmatic events
ƒ Secure the location
ƒ Schedule presenters
ƒ Make travel arrangements
Duty Statements
ƒ Coordinate the production of program / event marketing materials
ƒ Maintain RSVP list
ƒ Make arrangements for catering and any necessary equipment
ƒ Staff the event
ƒ Event Coordination activities are expected to be carried out with minor

Performance ƒ Must be capable of setting priorities and working under pressure
Standards ƒ Must be able to multi-task, planning several events simultaneously
ƒ Ability to work well with internal and external participants is essential
ƒ Knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite is imperative
Job Description Writing Guide
Job Factors
The Job Factors section of the job description outlines the knowledge and skills required to successfully
function in the job. The Job Factors cover a variety of areas pertaining to the job, for example, the level of
education/experience required, supervision received, and analytical skills and ability required for the job

The assignment of Job Factors should be completed by the supervisor, hiring manager, or departmental
administrator, and, should be reflective of the general responsibility level of that position. For example, an
employee in an Administrator I classification would not be expected to be responsible for interviewing,
selecting and hiring someone into an Administrator IV position, but may be responsible for interviewing,
selecting and hiring a student worker. It is important to remember to include only information that pertains to
the position and not specific to the skills, experience, and education of the incumbent. The following are all the
Job Factors listed in a job description and examples of responses:
Minimum Education Level Required Baccalaureate
The minimum experience level required Three years of relevant administrative, marketing and/or event
(All qualifications listed must be job related.) planning experience is preferred

The amount of supervision received by the employee The incumbent reports to the Assistant Director. After initial
(What is the job classification and working title of the supervisor? How, orientation, the incumbent will be given general direction from the
and to what extent, is the employee's work checked? Note the distinction Assistant Director, but is expected to perform duties and responsibilities
between initial or special training and ongoing supervision.)

The analytical skill required The job requires excellent analytical and communication skills as
(What is the complexity or standardization of the tasks which are
performed?) statistical and financial reporting is an essential element to this position

BOTH the level and budget volume (Dollar Amount) The incumbent is responsible for managing event budgets. This
of financial responsibility/accountability
(What is the extent of the employee's responsibility for calculating and
includes collaborating on budget development, monitoring and
verifying figures; gathering data; typing requisitions or budget approving budgetary expenditures, and analyzing statistical and
documents; monitoring or analyzing expenditures; preparing reports; financial reports. The budget for a single event can range from $5,000
approving purchases; planning and authorizing department or grant
budgets, etc?) - $50,000

The impact of actions carried by this position Poorly executed events could result in a negative image for the School
(What are the probable results of inadvertent error or mistake in
judgment, interpretation, or exercise of responsibility?) and the University or potentially lose funding opportunities

BOTH the diversity and complexity of the supervision
exercised This position is not responsible for supervising any staff positions

(List the job classification and working titles of those directly trained
and/or supervised by this person)

The scope of the human resources impact of this
(Explain supervisory role in hiring, firing, promoting, evaluating, increasing Occasionally responsible for interviewing prospective candidates and
salaries, etc. of other employees. Does the position carry "lead" providing input into the hiring process

responsibility? Explain how, and to what extent, the work of others is
checked by the employee.)
The incumbent has regular contact with senior level University staff and
BOTH the level and nature of the INTERNAL contacts faculty, such as Deans, Directors, Senior Administrators, etc. In
(What, if any, University departments does the incumbent contact. Why addition, the incumbent maintains contact with several areas across the
are these contacts made and how frequently are they made?) University including University Marketing Communications, Institutional
Advancement, the Special Events Office, etc

BOTH the level and nature of the EXTERNAL contacts External contacts include staff members at other colleges and
universities, government and industry representatives

Job Description Writing Guide
Job Description Dos and Don’ts
Before writing a job description, here are some helpful hints to consider:
¾ Refer to the Job Description Writing Guide
¾ Attend a Job Description Workshop
¾ Use a factual and impersonal style when writing the job description
¾ Base the job description on the department’s needs
¾ Write an accurate, concise, and complete job description
¾ Use complete sentences
¾ Keep sentence structure as simple as possible, omitting unnecessary words that do not
contribute pertinent information

¾ Begin each duty/task with an action verb (see page 8 for a list)

¾ Be consistent when using terms like “may” and “occasionally.” (These should be used to
describe tasks that are performed once in a while, or tasks that only some employees perform.)
¾ Refer to job titles rather than incumbents, i.e., “Reports to _______ Manager” instead of
“Reports to Mary Smith.”
¾ Be precise. This is critical for accurate job evaluation and analysis

¾ Focus on critical activities

¾ Use a logical sequence in describing duties and responsibilities (Key Responsibility first,
followed by the corresponding duties)
¾ Call your Compensation Analyst for guidance
¾ Use the narrative form when writing a job description
¾ Base the content of the job description on the capabilities, skills, and interests of the incumbent
¾ Write the job description based upon the desired job classification
¾ Write the job description as step by step guide on how to do the job
¾ Include minor or occasional tasks, which are not unique to a specific job

Job Description Writing Guide
Action Verbs
accommodate communicate draft interface recruit
achieve compile edit interpret reduce
acquire complete eliminate interview regulate
address compose enforce investigate report
adjust compute establish issue research
administer conduct evaluate lift resolve
advise confer execute maintain review
allocate consolidate expand manage schedule
analyze construct explore monitor search
apply consult facilitate motivate select
appoint control formulate negotiate solve
approve coordinate furnish observe specify
arrange correspond generate operate strategize
assess counsel guide organize streamline
assign create handle participate strengthen
assist customize hire perform summarize
audit delegate identify plan support
augment deliver illustrate predict teach
authorize demonstrate implement prepare train
budget design improve present translate
calculate develop improvise process troubleshoot
circulate devise incorporate program update
clarify direct increase provide validate
clear disseminate inform quantify verify
collaborate distinguish initiate recognize
collect distribute instruct recommend
combine document interact record

Job Description Writing Guide - 1 - This guide provides the basics of writing a job description and covers the following sections of the job Coordinate the initial registration process for students, review and ocess, post transfer credits, and provide general information to students. Administrative support to the Program Director

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why are job descriptions important for the university?

Why are Job Descriptions Important for the University? Each University staff position should have its own job description – it is generally used as the basis for creating, classifying, and recruiting staff positions.

What are the writing methods for job duties?

Job Duties Writing Methods. When the Job Duties are well written and organized, they can accurately convey the complexity, scope, and level of responsibility of a job. To assist in the organization and writing of the Job Duties, two writing methods have been developed: Method # 1:

What is the job duties section of a job description?

Job Duties The Job Duties section is the foundation of the Job Description. It conveys the complexity, scope, and level of responsibility of a job. Due to the significance of this section, it is important to accurately, concisely, and completely describe the duties and responsibilities of a job.

What is the best online dictionary for university of pittsburgh students?

For general matters of spelling, the recommended dictionary is the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. If two or more accepted spellings are given, the first is the one preferred for University publications. Any questions about University of Pittsburgh writing style or this manual should be directed to the Office of University Communications.