How to Update or Write Job Descriptions

Job descriptions should be up-to-date and accurate to assist in the PRD process.  The supervisor and/or employee may choose to update the job description and include the information as part of the Expectation-Setting process in PRD.

The University of Maryland, University Human Resources does NOT update and maintain job descriptions, nor keep current job descriptions on file.  The Classification and Compensation section of University Human Resources is responsible for assigning jobs to the appropriate job title and classification.  Individual job descriptions are maintained and updated at the departmental level.

What do job descriptions typically describe?
Tasks, duties, responsibilities, knowledge, skills, and abilities required to do the job
An accurate job description helps in:

  • Recruitment, orientation, selection, and training objectives.
  • An updated description will serve as a good starting point for the development of performance expectations.

Identify the Key Skill Areas for the Job:

Organizing
Administrating
Scheduling
Planning
Coordinating
Repairing
Managing
Directing
Servicing
Supervising
Communicating
Handling
Marketing
Implementing
Maintaining
Evaluating
Processing
Diagnosing
Researching
Advising
Controlling
Training
Assisting
Designing
Initiating
Problem-Solving

Then assign descriptors (behavioral objectives) to that skill

For example:

*  Supervising student workers to ensure coverage within the office.
*  Maintaining the student database to ensure it is current and accurate.
*  Assist faculty advisors with semester coordination and information dissemination.

Participation is the key to developing good job descriptions!

Step 1: Identify the stakeholder(s) – employees in the positionStep 2: Include the employee in the process.  If there is more than one employee, form a “slice-group,” a cross section of employees

Step 3: Identify your vision for the position

Step 4: Interview for data

  • relevant skill areas
  • behavioral statements (gather relevant anecdotal information)
  • training requirements
  • purpose of position

Step 5: Draft the job description

Step 6: Validate the job description with employees

Step 7: Correct and Implement

Behavioral Objectives
Three important dimensions to writing good behavioral objectives: Behavior + Standard + Condition

The Behavior:  observable and measurable actions

The Standard:  quantity, quality or time parameters

The Condition:  the parameters which the behaviors must be performed in

In writing descriptions, do not concentrate only on the WHAT, but the WHY!

Last updated: June 25, 2013