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8 things to include in a job description

How do you get someone to apply for a job at your organization? The obvious answer is to write a job description to post on your website or on a job board, but not any old description will do the trick.

James Weinberg and Cassie Scarano, co-founders of Commongood Careers, wrote in “Nonprofit Management 101” that, to attract great talent, you need a job description that will leave the candidate no choice but to apply. They explained that a job description is a marketing tool at the end of the day: It must engage potential candidates by communicating the opportunities available through the position, in addition to outlining the requirements.

Weinberg and Scarano listed eight things that must be included in a job description if it is to have its desired effect:

  • Title: Keep it short, concise, descriptive of the position, and widely recognizable.
  • Organizational Overview: Introduce your organization through a succinct and enthusiastic paragraph that outlines your mission and programs, success to date, growth plans, future opportunities, and culture.
  • Position Overview: Use one well-written paragraph to describe the overall function of the position and highlight the opportunities for impact and leadership.
  • Responsibilities: Use five to seven bullets to provide detail about the responsibilities of the position. Use engaging and active language and avoid jargon.
  • Qualifications: This section should outline the experience and competencies required for success in the position and your organization without being overly prescriptive.
  • Compensation Range: Disclosing specific compensation is not required and in fact, is not recommended, as it limits the candidates you will see.
  • Application Instructions: Be very specific about how you want candidates to apply for the position.
  • Equal Opportunity Statement: It is good practice to have an equal opportunity employer policy and to include that in your job description.

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