A job description typically consists of six major components: 1) essential job functions; 2) knowledge and critical skills; 3) physical demands; 4) environmental factors; 5) the roles of the ADA and other federal laws such as the Occupational Safety Health Act (OSH Act); and 6) any explanatory information that may be necessary to clarify job duties or responsibilities.
The term ‘job description’ is a flexible one, but here I’ll be using it in a modern context, to describe all of the copy you’d use on an online job board. It usually includes information like job title, duties, salary, etc.
Developing job descriptions is an issue that many employers deliberate. Initially, some employers may be daunted by what they perceive to be a lengthy and complicated process. Yet, with constructive tools such as job analysis, sample job descriptions, and on-line resources like Career Onestop from the U.S. Department of Labor, informed employers are able to obtain valuable information about their organizations. This publication addresses relevant background information, which includes the role of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) in developing job descriptions, how to formulate job descriptions, special features of Career Onestop that assist with the development process, and relationship to the accommodation process.
Here’s a sample of job descriptions, ranked from good to bad. Looking through them alongside their scores makes it obvious why some are better than others, and is a good exercise to teach yourself to get better at writing them.
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