What is job description (JD), meaning and guidelines

job description

Job Description Meaning

JD meaning: The JD meaning in job description is a written statement that answers questions such as what the job holder does, how the job is done, under which circumstances it is done, and most importantly, why it is done. It gives information about the job like job content and working conditions. It is descriptive in nature and explains the functions and responsibilities necessary to do a certain job specifically along with its objectives and areas of work.

Meaning of job description: A job description is a general, broad, and written statement of a specific job, based on the findings of a job analysis.

Contents of Job Description

Contents of the job description are as follows:

1) Job Identification

Job identification also known as organisational position includes the job title, an alternative title, departments, divisions, plant and code number of the job. The job title recognises and designates the job appropriately. The department, division, etc. indicate the name of the department and its location. The location shows the name of the place.

2) Job Summary

It delivers two significant objectives. Firstly, it gives a brief definition which is helpful as additional identification information. Secondly, it is used as a summary to direct the readers to understand the detailed information about the job. It provides the reader with a fast and short explanation of the job content, generally in a few sentences.

3) Job Duties and Responsibilities

The job description clearly describes the duties and responsibilities to be carried out during the job with an appropriate understanding of primary, secondary and other duties. It is also considered vital for any job. It also notifies about the time limit of jobs and sub-jobs.

4) Relation to Other Jobs

It helps in identifying the job in the organisation by putting the job below or above in the job hierarchy. It also shows an idea of the vertical relationship between work and process.

5) Supervision

The extent and the nature of supervision needed in each job are also indicated in the job description. Under this, the number of persons to be monitored is given along with their job titles and the level of supervision involved in the form of general, intermediate, or close supervision. 

6) Machines, Tools and Materials

The job description also comprises the machines, tools and materials required for performing the job. It shows the nature and difficulty of the job and aids in the execution of the training programmes.

7) Working Conditions

It gives the knowledge about the working environment such as heat, cold, dust, wetness, moisture, fume, odour, oily condition, etc. in which the job holders have to perform their work.

8) Hazards

It gives an idea about the kinds of risks to life and limbs and their chances of happening, etc.

Guidelines for Writing Job Descriptions

Guidelines for writing job descriptions are as follows:

job description

1) Use Logical Sequence in the Arrangement of Roles and Duties: Start with the task including the percentage of time assigned to each task and be consistent.

2) Be Brief and Specific: Specific and brief descriptions of the job should be given. Avoid using generalised statements. Give a clear description of job tasks and duties.

3) Mention Duties Clearly and Briefly: When each duty is mentioned clearly and briefly in the job description, everybody can have a quick look at the description and it becomes easy for them to identify every task properly. Further, every task should be identified as “essential” or “non-essential”.

4) Avoiding Unnecessary and Ambiguous Words: Keep sentence structure as simple as possible and avoid the use of unnecessary words that do not contribute to giving pertinent information. For example, “Handle mail” can be written as “sort mail” or “distribute mail”.

5) Avoid Listing Every Duty: Begin the job description by using the phrase “primary duties and responsibilities include….” and then carry it forward from there. i.e., the job description using the phrase “perform other related duties and responsibilities, as required”.

6) Use Particular Examples of Tasks When Necessary: It becomes easy for the reader to understand tasks and duties when appropriate examples of tasks wherever required are used in the job description.

7) Avoid Technical Language: A good job description should use commonly known terms and should include job responsibilities that are easily understandable to everyone.

 8) Express the Number of Tasks Appearing Frequently: Each task should be allotted an estimated time by using a known technique of making a column on the left side of the task with comparable percentages.

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