Crafting a simple yet effective job description is a fine art. Many organizations miss the golden opportunity to write job descriptions that encompass the essence of their workplace, convey what makes them unique, and describe the practical details of the role.

Here are five ways to rethink your job description:

  1. Make the job title count
  2. Be specific and use searchable keywords that HBS students will likely use when looking for roles. Our MBAs are typically looking for mid-senior level roles, so the job title helps indicate if the job matches the level. Use short function or product-based keywords to describe the job's area of work.

  3. Think about the format and length
  4. Job descriptions in paragraph form can be hard to process. Make the beginning easy to scan so candidates quickly know if the job is a good match. Consider writing a few attention-grabbing introductory sentences before more specific headlines and bullets. But be careful with bullet length; you do not want them to be a paragraph in disguise.

  5. Write as you would speak
  6. If you were speaking to a candidate in-person, how would you describe the role? You probably do not use formal language or recite what is on the website. In a conversational tone, briefly describe what the candidate can expect to do in the role and the primary skills they would use in the process. If you want to include a formal description of the organization, add it to the bottom of the job description or link to your website.

  7. Consider the reader's goals
  8. Candidates are interested in the day-to-day tasks and want to know how your organization prioritizes professional development and growth. Consider adding a few short bullets that address one or more of the following:

    • Describe the first few months on the job.
    • How does the organization support an employee's goals?
    • What are the organization's core values, and how are they reflected in its culture?
    • Speak to your organization’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging practices.
    • Is this role in-person, remote, or a hybrid of these things?

  9. Evaluate what qualifications are essential.
  10. Some roles need a specific degree or require years of experience in a particular function or industry. If that is not the case, consider what transferable skills are equally as valuable. HBS has a high percentage of career switchers. If your qualifications are too restrictive, you may miss great candidates.

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