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Job descriptions show prospective employers what you have accomplished in the positions you’ve held. They also provide a synopsis of your experience and skills.
Well-written descriptions for each job you have held will help get your resume noticed and selected for interviews. What’s the best way to write attention-grabbing job descriptions?
Before you start adding job descriptions to your resume, you may want to make a list of accomplishments at each of your jobs. This will prepare you for writing your resume.
Focus on Skills and Achievements
After you have written a job description, look for ways to make your explanation more concise. Make an effort to create effective impact statements. Highlight skills and achievements, providing only enough detail to support your premises. Try to edit out pronouns and articles. Begin phrases or sentences with verbs. Choose strong words- resume action words like “initiated” and “supervised” are powerful and show that you’ve made an impact on your team.
If you will be submitting resumes to organizations that scan them into searchable computer databases, include as many industry and job-specific ” keywords” as possible. When searching databases for potential candidates, employers seek resumes with the greatest number of “hits” on keywords.
Keywords are most often nouns, e.g. “customer service” or “computer skills.” To use keywords most effectively, be specific, use as many as possible, and sprinkle them throughout your resume.
Be Selective About What You Include
Your resume isn’t your entire work history, and you don’t need to include every duty for each role. Determine the most relevant information by putting yourself in your potential employer’s position: Will this information help convince the employer that you are a worthwhile candidate to interview?
You do not have to include every responsibility you ever had. Group together similar tasks. For instance, rather than listing “Answered phones” and “Responded to customer emails” in two bullet points, you can combine and say, “Resolved customer issues through phone, email, and chat conversations.”
Prioritize Job Description Information
Next, think about prioritizing the information you provide in each description. Present details that are of the greatest interest to potential employers first. For example, consider the candidate seeking a job in interior design.
The resume might reflect a retail experience in which 75% of the candidate’s time was spent on the sales floor, and 25% was spent designing window and floor displays. Priority, determined by relevance to the employer, dictates that design of window and floor displays should be listed before sales.
Bottom line: Highlight your most relevant qualifications for the job by listing them first in the job description.
Quantify Your Accomplishments
Nearly any description, for any job, can be enhanced through the use of numbers. A waitress might start out with the description “Took customer orders and delivered food.” But a quantified description saying, “Served customers in an upscale 100-seat restaurant,” provides much more insight.
Bottom line: Employers like numbers. It’s much easier to look at signs and symbols than it is to read words.
Emphasize Accomplishments Over Responsibilities
It’s important for employees to know you have the necessary experience to do the work required in the position. Still, many candidates will have this relevant experience. To stand out, emphasize how you added value. Focus on accomplishments, rather than responsibilities.
As seen above, numbers can be your friend when it comes to highlighting your accomplishments in your resume. As well, provide context. For instance, you might say, “Increased revenue by 5%, after several years of decreasing sales.” Or, rather than saying “Answered phone calls and dealt with customer concerns,” you can say, “Resolved customer concerns, answering approximately 10 calls per hour. Became go-to person on the team for dealing with the toughest phone calls and most challenging complaints.”
While it is important to keep descriptions short, adding details and context can help show employers why you’d be a good match for the position.
Bottom line: Employers want to know what you accomplished. Make it easy for them to see what you’ve done by using numbers and percentages.
Make Your Jobs Sound Better
There are easy ways to jazz up your resume job descriptions to make your jobs sound super impressive. A few simple tweaks here and there can make your resume much better.
Related: Best Resume Writing Services
Guide To Writing Job Descriptions
Administrative Action Verbs Push Along Verbs Stop Verbs Helper Verbs Get & Give Verbs Creative Verbs Appraise/Study Verbs Control Verbs ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION VERBS Offer an informed opinion or give specialized information to others. adapt Modify or change to fit specific or new situations. administer Manage or direct. (Generally requires some additional explanation to show specific detail.) See manage. appoint To set officially, arrange. approve Exercise final and decisive authority, causing action to use money, manpower, materials, or equipment. arrange To make preparations for, to plan. authorize Approve or commit an act implying subsequent action by others. consult control Direct, regulate, or guide the use of money, methods, equipment, and materials. Also, the process of monitoring activities to ensure conformance with planned results. coordinate Regulate, adjust or direct the related actions of others in order to attain desired results. decide To select a course of action. delegate Entrust to another person tasks or duties which require exercise of some of the authority of the person originally responsible, as “To delegate an administrative assistant to represent the department at conferences.” determine To fix conclusively, regulate. To decide by choice of alternatives. direct Govern or control work operations by establishing the implementing objectives, practices and methods. enforce To effect or gain by force. To carry out effectively. establish To institute permanently by enactment or agreement. execute Put into effect or carry out methods, plans, etc. initiate Set going or introduce. manage Plan, organize, direct, control, and evaluate operation of an organizational unit, with responsibility for the output. order Arrange or command to come to a specified place or decision. organize To set up an administrative structure for. To arrange by systematic planning and united effort. plan To design or plot a scheme or project by means or method devised for doing something to achieve an end. reject To refuse to accept, consider or submit to. require To ask for by right and authority, request. review Consider or examine facts or results for accuracy, completeness and suitability. supervise Personally oversee or control work performance and conduct of others, where there is opportunity for control or inspection of work performed. train Teach, demonstrate, or guide others in the performance of assigned work. back to top PUSH ALONG VERBS activate Set up or formally introduce with necessary personnel or equipment. encourage Give help, inspire or pay patronage to. expediate Accelerate the process or progress of a plan, idea. further implement Carry out or fulfill by taking action. maintain Keep in satisfactory condition. motivate Provide incentive or drive. back to top STOP VERBS check To proof or review for errors. delete Eliminate or wipe out. prevent Keep from happening or holding back. return Go back in thought or action. Give an official account to a superior. stop Keep from carrying out a proposed action. back to top HELPER VERBS Offer an informed opinion or give specialized information to others. aid Provide with what is useful or necessary for achieving an end. cooperate Act jointly with others. Act or work with others to obtain a mutual benefit. counsel Advise or consult. explain Make plain or understandable. guide Direct, supervise, influence or superintend the training of people. instruct Teach, demonstrate, or by other methods impart knowledge to others. Direct that a specific activity be performed, may include directing how it is to be performed. participate To take part or have a share in a project, group. protect Maintain status or integrity of project, idea. serve Comply with the commands and demands of a boss, group. show Propose or mention an idea as workable or desirable. suggest ? back to top GET & GIVE VERBS accept Give admittance or approval to. accumulate Increase gradually in quantity or number. acquire Come into possession or control of an item or items. arrange for To make preparations for, to plan. buy Acquire possession, ownership or rights to the use of services, items. collect Gather or exact information or materials from a number of persons or sources. compile Put together information or assemble data in a new form. deliver Send or bring a desired object. distribute Deliver or hand out to several or many. exchange Give and receive reciprocally. forward Send goods or information onward. furnish Provide or equip with what is needed. gather Bring together or collect parts of a group. get Obtain or receive. give Grant or yield to another. inform Communicate knowledge to others. inquire Ask or search into. issue Make available through distribution. keep Preserve or maintain in a good and orderly condition. mail To send by the postal service. notify Give notice or a report on an occurrence or information. obtain Gain or possess. pick up ? procure Get possession or obtain by particular care and effort. provide To supply support to meet a need, make available. pull purchase Gain or acquire by labor, money. recall Call back or cancel. receive Come into possession of or acquire an item, idea. recruit Increase numbers of a group or bring in new members. render Deliver or hand down. report Give an account or make a written summary or statement. secure Put beyond hazard or receive lasting control. sell Give up property in exchange for money. send Deliver or dispatch as means of communication or delivery. solicit To make a petition or request for services, money. submit Yield or surrender to authority. supply Make materials available for use. take Get or seize into possession. transfer Pass over from one person to another. withdraw Back away or remove. back to top CREATIVE VERBS create Produce through imaginative skill. design Create or fashion a plan or idea. develop Disclose, discover, perfect, or unfold a plan or idea, in detail, gradually. Implies study and/or experiment unless otherwise stated. When used as “to develop subordinates”, see train. devise Form in the mind by combinations of ideas, new applications of principles, or new arrangement of parts. establish To institute permanently by enactment or agreement. estimate Forecast future quantities, values, sizes, extents, etc., either on the basis of judgment or calculations. Frequently, estimating is shared with others, in which case it is more precise to use “estimate” as a noun, and to state the job’s function in relation thereto, i.e., originates, analyzes, endorses, approves, etc., estimates of… forecast Predict future events based on specified assumptions. formulate Put into a systemized expression or statement. iniyiate Set going or introduce. install To set up for use. originate Begin or initiate. plan To design or plot a scheme or project by means or method devised for doing something to achieve an end. project Plan, figure, or estimate for the future. schedule Appoint a fixed time. back to top APPRAISE/STUDY VERBS analyze Identify the elements of a whole and critically examine and relate these component parts separately and/or in relation to the whole. appraise Judge as to quality; compare critically with established standards. ascertain Find out or learn with certainty. check To proof or review for errors. compare To examine characteristics to discover similarities or differences. consider To observe or think about with regard to taking some action. criticize To evaluate and judge merits or faults. develop Disclose, discover, perfect, or unfold a plan or idea, in detail, gradually. Implies study and/or experiment unless otherwise stated. When used as “to develop subordinates”, see train. evaluate Appraise, to determine value, condition, significance or worth. examine Investigate in order to determine progress, fitness or knowledge. forecast Predict future events based on specified assumptions. identify The act of proving identity. inspect Examine materials, equipment, reports, work, etc., to determine quality, suitability for use, etc. interpret Explain to others (orally or in writing) the meaning or significance of something. interview Obtain information through questioning. investigate Uncover facts by systematically finding them, conducting a search, and examining various sources. measure Control or regulate by a standard or in measured amounts. plan To design or plot a scheme or project by means or method devised for doing something to achieve an end. rate Estimate or determine the relative value, rank, or amount of an item. research Specific inquiry involving prolonged and critical investigation, having for its aim the study of new facts and their interpretation, the revision of accepted conclusions or theories that may be affected by newly discovered factors, or the practical application of such new or revised conclusions. Example: Technical research to develop new products for the company. resolve Deal with a problem, dilemma successfully. review Consider or examine facts or results for accuracy, completeness and suitability. solve Find a solution, answer, or explanation for a question or problem. study Apply thought to any subject of investigation in order to arrive at the most suitable conclusion. summarize To tell and reduce a story, idea. survey Examine a condition, situation or value. test Assign a value or evaluate an item by a given test. weigh Merit consideration as to importance. back to top CONTROL VERBS allocate Assign or apportion for a specific purpose or to a particular person. audit Perform a formal examination into a company’s formal accounts. check To proof or review for errors. conserve Slow or block the progress of something control Direct, regulate, or guide the use of money, methods, equipment, and materials. Also, the process of monitoring activities to ensure conformance with planned results. edit Alter, adapt or refine a written text, concept, or idea. enforce To effect or gain by force. To carry out effectively. ensure Make sure, certain, or safe. guarantee Undertake to answer for debt and default or promise security. inspect Examine materials, equipment, reports, work, etc., to determine quality, suitability for use, etc. regulate Fix or adjust the time, amount, degree, or rate. restrict Place under restriction as to use or distribution. review Consider or examine facts or results for accuracy, completeness and suitability. verify Confirm or substantiate by oath, law, or other documentation. back to top
How To Attract Top Talent With Strong Job Descriptions
Welcome to Talaera’s HR Series on how to attract top talent. It is made up of four parts where we will cover strong job descriptions, successful interviews, negotiating salary and benefits, and effective onboarding. It is aimed at non-native recruiters and HR professionals and here you will find simple ways to quickly improve your business English. Learn professional vocabulary and expressions, communication tips, and templates. If you need to practice this with a teacher, learn more about our 1-on-1 online business English training.
What will you learn here?
This series is mainly for non-native English HR professionals aiming to attract top talent globally. In part one, you will learn how to increase your language confidence, avoid common mistakes, and expand your vocabulary to write stronger job descriptions.
As an HR manager or recruiter in a global economy, you need to attract candidates from all over the world. But as a non-native speaker, how can you ensure that your job descriptions are both compelling and effective? This guide will help you improve your writing skills and attract the right applicants.
Here you will find:
I. Frequently Asked Questions from our HR learners
II. Examples of Great Job Descriptions
III. Vocabulary and Expressions (150 adjectives, 35 verbs, 18 phrases) (Download the PDF here)
IV. Putting it all together: An Example of a Strong Job Description
I. Frequently Asked Questions from our HR learners
Let’s start by answering some of the most frequently asked questions from some of our learners who are active in the world of Human Resources.
1. How can I keep my sentences shorter or say the same in fewer words?
Let verbs do the work. Verbs drive the action forward in a concise way (see our vocab section below for a useful list of action verbs). For each key requirement of your job posting, try to focus on the specific action. Try “We are looking for someone is great at You’re great at + verb-ing : “You’re great at working remotely / at solving problems / at resolving support issues.” This idea also works from the ‘we’ perspective: marketing / at managing large teams.”
Top tip: Avoid overusing the verb to be. Look at this example:
[Poor] “Our main office is located in Sydney. Our customer support team is responsible for resolving technical issues with the product. There will be some assignments in the Berlin office, and you will be part of a dynamic team.”
Grammatically this is fine, but always using the same verb is a little boring. Let’s try rewriting this with different verbs.
“Want to know what it’s like to [Strong] work at our main office in Sydney? You’ll fit right in if you love to: resolve technical support issues, contribute to our dynamic team, and travel to Berlin for assignments
This rewrite replaces all to be verbs with more interesting choices. Try it yourself by using some of the set phrases and action verbs from our vocabulary list below.
2. How can I avoid common spelling and grammar mistakes?
We highly recommend using Grammarly. It’s a free online spell checker and will catch a lot of your mistakes. You can even set it to check for American vs. British spelling conventions.
Another tip is to create a template library for your most common tasks. Before drafting a job description from scratch, check to see if one that you can adapt. Often small tweaks can make an old job post sound brand new.
You can always get a friend or a colleague to check your writing for you. However, the most effective way to avoid making mistakes is to have a teacher that will help you improve your professional English. They can help you create a list with commonly confused words (similar words like assure/ensure or affect/effect) and look out for them when you write a text.
3. How formal or casual should my writing be?
In English, overly formal job posts tend to scare candidates away. We recommend a business casual tone. When replying to applicants, it is almost always fine to address candidates by their first name: “ Hi John, thanks for applying.”Rather than: “Dear Mr. Smith, we are grateful that you applied to this position.” The second option sounds too formal.
Try to “Are ” avoid third-person forms in job posts; they are too formal and distanced. This example is in the third person (he/she/it/they) and way too formal: “The successful candidate will be a hard-working, dedicated, self-starter.” Better: you a hard-working, dedicated, self-starter? Join our team by applying today.” Or you can also write it from the ‘ we‘ perspective: We are looking for a hard-working, dedicated self-starter to join our team.”
A great way to test your writing is to read it out loud. Does it sound like something you would say? If not, try to write the job post to reflect the way you speak. This will sound more natural and less formal.
4. When I address a potential candidate, should I say ‘I’ or ‘we’?
When talking about the company as a whole, you need to use ‘”Working for we,’ ‘ our‘ and ‘ us.’ For example: us is fun because X, Y, Z. We offer many benefits. Our company motto is ABC.”
When replying to candidates it is also usual to use the ‘ ” we‘ form: We have scheduled an interview for next Thursday.”
When writing about key requirements use either ‘”” you‘ or ‘ we‘ perspective: You need to have three years’ experience” or We are looking for a Python programmer with three years’ experience.”
5. How can I make my writing more engaging for candidates?
A. Structure your sentences and paragraphs:
Stop and think about the structure of your text. This can really boost your writing skills! Start your paragraph with a benefit, following with something unique or personal about your company and closing with requirements:
First, we highlight a benefit of the company. They are passionate about data. Next, we show something unique about the company the flat hierarchy. Finally, we close with the requirements of the job. This keeps the tone of the paragraph much more friendly and less boring.
B. Ask questions:
Use questions in your job posts to keep your message interesting. Limit the number of questions to one or two per paragraph.
Do you think you have what it takes?
Are you great at problem-solving?
Do you have more than three years’ experience in PHP?
Do you thrive in a dynamic work environment?
C. Use the active voice:
The active voice makes your writing more clear and dynamic. To convert your sentences into active, ask “Who did it?” and when you know who performed the action, write that first! This person needs to be the subject of your sentence.
These examples are in the passive voice: “The markets “Our conversions are managed are optimized by our predictive marketing team.” You can identify them because they include the verb by…” and to be plus a past participle verb ( managed, optimized) and use the preposition by.
Because these sentences in passive are more complicated to understand and also longer, try this instead: “Our sales team “Our predictive marketing team manages the markets…” and optimizes our conversion rates…”
D. Be precise and avoid vagueness
Avoid weak words like ‘quite,’ ‘maybe,’ ‘some,’ ‘various,’ and ‘diverse.’ They weaken the meaning of what you’re trying to say.
You will be responsible for [Poor] ” diverse IT projects.”
“You will be responsible for IT projects [Strong] in Java, Python, and PHP.“
II. Examples of well-written job descriptions
Let’s take a look at some well-written job descriptions that use some or all of the tips above.
Github Job Description
This example from Github states formal requirements while still being humorous and fun.
They use of ‘we’ to refer to the company and ‘you’ to refer to the candidate.
They use bullet points are kept short which makes them easier to read and understand.
The use of humor balances the paragraph. On the one hand, you have the key requirements ‘swiftness’ and ‘accuracy balanced by the humorous number of ‘exclamation points’ you receive.
Pizza Hut Job Description
What makes it good?
Very benefit-orientated independence, fun, making friends, earning extra cash.
Lots of action verbs driving the action forward.
Personal with lots of ‘you’ forms.
Scope AR Job Description
What makes it good?
Lots of ‘you’ forms, focus on benefits, lots of verbs driving the action forward and keeping it interesting.
Use of questions makes the text more engaging.
Bonus point for creative use of key qualities.
III. Job Description Vocabulary: Key Phrases, Verbs, and Adjectives
We have compiled a list of useful words and phrases to help you write better job descriptions. If you want to keep this word list as a reference, download it as a PDF here. This word list contains 150 adjectives, around 35 useful verbs, and 18 interchangeable set phrases. These phrases are interchangeable. You can replace the brackets with adjectives and verbs to create many more variations. To do so, check out our verb and adjective lists below and give it a try!
18 Awesome Interchangeable Phrases for Job Descriptions
Use these phrases to begin your job description by stating who you are looking for. Remember to try out the verbs and adjectives in our word lists below!
Phrases to search for the right candidate – use them to describe the person you are looking for:
Phrases to describe your company:
Phrases to describe the job and responsibilities:
Phrases to encourage them to apply:
140 Most Effective Adjectives for Your Job Description
Below we have collected around 140 of the most useful adjectives to help you write more awesome job descriptions. Adjectives describe qualities of the candidate you are searching for. They can also describe your company as well. They are ordered by sections such as creativity, effectiveness and enthusiasm. Each word is also linked to a dictionary definition. Check it out!
Attracting candidates that are good at problem solving:Attracting creative candidates that can think outside of the box:Attracting candidates that are efficient and get the job done:Attracting candidates that are enthusiastic and personable:Attracting candidates that are hard working:Attracting organized candidates:Attracting reliable candidates:Attracting candidates with good social and communicative skills::Attracting versatile candidates that can adapt to different situations:
35 Great Action Verbs for Job Descriptions
These action verbs help describe activities related to the job in a concise way. They drive the action forward. This verb list includes the prepositions commonly used with the verb. It also features an easy synonym and a dictionary link. Whenever you want to describe an activity, try to use a verb like the ones listed below:
Our company recently acquired two tech startups.
Successful candidates will adapt quickly to their new working environment.
As a business analyst, you will compile data on potential partners.
Your main task will be to develop software that can organize our databases automatically.
You will gather information on key developments in the tech industry.
You will regularly reach out to clients to collect testimonials.
You will report on user testing to the product team.
IV. Putting it all together: An Example of a Strong Job Description
Junior Data Scientist at Numbers Ltd, Tel Aviv, Israel
Would you like to work for a company who is as passionate about data as you are? At Numbers Ltd. our flat hierarchy allows you to define your own research projects and set your own goals. If you have more than 2 years’ experience in data science and a propensity for python, you’ll be a great fit.
You love to:
manage your own in-depth data projects
communicate your data insights effectively
design attractive visualizations that tell a story
astute problem-solving skills
2+ years’ experience in Python data projects
Why you’ll love working for us:
organize your own projects
enjoy our flat hierarchy
socialize at regular hackathons and meetups
More about Numbers Ltd:
We are a young dynamic startup with a team of around 30 full-time staff. Our main focus is providing full-stack data solutions to our clients. In 2018 we completed our Series A funding. Read more about Numbers Ltd here.
To apply now, submit your resumé online by following the link below.
We’ll get back to you within 3 working days.
In this job description we used:
personal ‘you’ and ‘we’ forms
That’s it for now. Hopefully, these tips will help you the next time you have to write a job post.
Talaera is an online platform that provides one-on-one English language training, anytime, anywhere, with 100% personalized lessons, HD video quality, and qualified teachers that will help you achieve your learning goals.
Liked this post? Check out these other related topics:
Admissions Counselor Job Description Template
You will be responsible for developing relationships with students through the development of alumni networks. You will evaluate recruitment methods and materials for effectiveness and make adjustments as needed. You will plan and implement student recruitment campaigns and interview prospective candidates.
Admissions Counselor Job Responsibilities
Develop an alumni network of volunteer recruiters to aid in network activities.
Conduct research regarding current student populations via interviews and questionnaires.
Guide prospective students through interviews, paperwork, campus tours and conduct follow-up interviews.
Manage effective recruiting operations in adherences to university standards.
Avoid legal liability issues through thorough adherence to state, federal and local educational law.
Enhance the university admission department and overall reputation with excellent counseling and strong student body relationships.
Admissions Counselor Qualifications
5+ years of experience as an admissions counselor
Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Counseling
Excellent verbal and written communication
Customer service skills and/or experience
Driven by results
Southern State University was establish in 1892 as a liberal arts university and has built a reputation for academic excellence. Our students and staff constantly seek to challenge themselves and make positive contributions to the world. Our law and business school have consistently ranked in the top 10 nationally since day one, and we are excited to work with professional who want to uphold that high standard. Because we value our dedicated team of educators, we provide full benefits to all full-time staff members as well as generous research and academic resources.
Dos and Don’ts for Writing a Job Description
Just like with resumes and cover letters, job descriptions have a list of best practices. Remember, you ultimately have to discover what will work best for you and your organization. However, if you follow these guidelines and tips, you’ll certainly be on the right track.
Do use bulleted lists in your requirements and qualifications sections. Bullets make your job posting easy to scan, which makes it easier for applicants to decide if it’s the right position for them.
Don’t make the submission process complicated or difficult. If the applicant has to fill out a questionnaire, send a resume, write a cover letter and then fill out a survey, they probably won’t apply.
Do use strong action words. In your lists of responsibilities and qualifications especially, you have plenty of opportunity to use strong words to make an impression. For example, instead of “work with the CFO” say, “collaborate with the CFO.”
Do make a case for the benefits of working with your organization. Do you have a great 401K package? Do you offer excellent networking opportunities? Play your strengths and show off a little bit. The reader should be excited to work with your organization.
Don’t use a vague post title. In many job databases, the applicant will look at the post title and a short description before deciding whether or not to open the page. Give them a good reason to keep reading.
Don’t go too far over 700 words per job post. When you actually make the first point of contact, you can start giving potential hires more insider information, but for your job post, keep it short and sweet.
Do be specific with your words. A short post shouldn’t equal a vague post. After reading your description, the job candidate should have a clear idea of what is expected.
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