Writing a Position Description

A position description represents a job within your college/division, whether it is filled or vacant. Each position description exists within a nonexempt or exempt position and is associated with a title.

A good job description should define the ongoing responsibilities for the employee and should include the required knowledge, skills, and abilities, needed to be successful in the position.  The description is used to set the appropriate classification for the job and therefore the appropriate level of pay.   If written correctly the job description should target the right candidates, allows for a great hire, and clearly defines the responsibilities for the new employee to be successful.

The position description should describe the job in its present state. Because the position may evolve and the employee in that position may become more skilled, the position description can be modified accordingly. For example, the position description can be associated with a new title if the employee is reclassified.

When writing a job description, you may want to consider the following definitions:

  • Title:  The title should represent the level of work for the position.  Many employees and job applicants will make judgments about a position based on the title. The official campus titles are typically not specific enough to clearly identify the job.  It is helpful to enter a clearer functional title when creating the position (i.e. Coordinator is the official campus title – Payroll Coordinator would be the functional title).
  • Job Summary:  This should be a brief, general statement of the more important responsibilities/functions of the position.  Review the job responsibilities and create a short description that summarizes the job.  The summary should not be all inclusive and be no more than four to five sentences if possible.  You should identify the department and reporting structure for the position as well.
  • Essential Duties and Responsibilities:  Before entering the key responsibilities it may be helpful to identify the key tasks of the position.  The tasks should consist of the simplest and most basic element of the position.  Once you have these you can then identify the essential duties and responsibilities and the percentage of time for each.
  • Minimum Qualifications: These are the qualifications that the employee will need to perform the job.  Applicants must have these qualifications to be considered for the position.
    • Nonexempt Position:  The minimum qualifications are established by System Policy and cannot be changed.
    • Exempt Positions:  Pay band 1 can carry a degree substitution.  Positions above pay band one typically require a minimum of bachelors (IT positions maybe exempt from this requirement).
  • Preferred Qualifications:  These are the qualifications that your ideal candidate would possess in addition to the minimum qualifications. For example you may want applicants with experience using the campus payroll system (PHR) and applicant tracking system (eTerp).  These would be considered preferred qualifications.
  • Physical Demands:  Identify any physical requirements that are necessary to perform the job.  For example the position may require the ability to climb and work on ladders and scaffolds or the ability to work outside in various weather conditions, etc.
  • Additional Certifications:  Identify any license or certifications that are necessary to perform the job.  For example a valid Class C MD Driver’s License would be necessary for Bus Drives.

Last updated: March 12, 2014

Last updated: March 12, 2014