How to write a job description
Now that you’ve identified the building blocks that will help support the next leg of your journey, it’s time to elaborate on the details. Because of the subjective nature of experience, writing an engaging job description can be difficult. Many applicants struggle to distinguish between important and negligible details and spend too much time presenting information that is ultimately irrelevant to the person reading your resume. However you do it, it helps to step back and put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Consider the following…
Value VS Responsibility
A job description should outline the most valuable aspects of your work, not the daily minutia. Sending out internal memos to keep everyone aligned may be important, but training a highly profitable sales team that dominated the market is far more impressive.
Take brushing your teeth as an example. It’s one of the most important things you do on a regular basis. Without it, you’re in for a world of hurt and everything from your health to your relationships will inevitably suffer. But you don’t brag about it to your friends and family, expecting them to be amazed by your pragmatic commitment to good oral hygiene. Unless you’re a dentist, you’ll look like a damn fool harping on the benefits of medium vs soft bristles.
Similarly, there are plenty of mission-critical tasks we all do every day and most of them are taken for granted. What can you do that gets others excited, even if it doesn’t save the world?
Every part serves a greater whole
People are hard-wired for storytelling and pattern recognition. You can capitalize on this by breaking up your job description into manageable bullet points and presenting them in an organized, easy-to-follow structure. Avoid jumping randomly from one topic to the next by grouping related points in close proximity. This will help you establish a coherent relationship between the various pieces of information and ensure that one thing leads to the next in an organic fashion.
Highlight measurable results
When seeking to understand value, we are conditioned to look for facts, statistics, and other numerically grounded information. You can use this to your advantage by bringing up specific figures to support your results. If you helped your company reduce operating costs, what was the overall impact on profits? If you improved efficiency, by how much? Maybe you cut a product’s time-to-launch by 30% or trained 30 new staff members in under 2 weeks.
However you present them, numbers are a quick attention-grabbing tool you can use to add impact and credibility to your resume.
Utilize powerful adjectives to strengthen your cause
Human beings place tremendous emphasis on language and imagination. To effectively process the complexities of modern life, our minds gradually evolved to interpret incoming data on multiple levels of awareness. The first level is the realm of facts and concrete information – this helps us understand “what” we’re seeing. Beneath that is a layer of emotional understanding that determines how those things make us feel.
Nouns and verbs are designed to help us understand the “what”, while adjectives help guide the emotional factor. It’s this layer of emotional interpretation that is responsible for most of the day-to-day decision making. What this means is that what you say is as important as how you say it. For example, “managing clients” is great, but “managing a diverse portfolio of multi-million dollar clients” is better. Think about how those two phrases make you feel and carry that understanding into your resume.
Nothing captures our attention as strongly as a well-crafted description, ripe with juicy details full of promise and potential.
Create memorable bookends
People are more likely to remember the first and last items on a list, so try to start and end on a good note. So many of us spend a disproportionate amount of time mucking around with insignificant details. To better understand incoming data streams, our minds evolved to pay special attention to the first and last moments of an interaction. When writing a job description, you can leverage this tendency by making the first and last bullet points especially meaningful, interesting, or relevant.