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The Job Description: Know What It Is and How It Defines You September 15, 2008

Posted by dapinoyemployee in Da Pinoy Employee, Jobhunting Pinoy Style, The Application Process.
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One common mistake that job applicants make is ignoring the job description.  Or if they do read it, they usually do so in a cursory manner, not really comprehending what the job entails.  On this post, I will attempt to define the job description and show you why you should fully understand what it stands for.  It can be a good tool to help you advance in your career – provided you know why it exists and how it will define you.

What is a job description?
A job description is essentially a definition of your work responsibilities as an employee.  As part of your employment, you will be provided a copy (usually a single sheet of paper as attachment to your contract) so you will know exactly what you should do.

Although the job description is simply a description of tasks and responsibilities assigned to you, read it carefully.  Make sure you have discussed the list with the employer prior to signing up.  If there are things you don’t understand, clear it up.

Use it well.  The job description is simply a list of stuff you are expected to perform.  Following them to the letter does not automatically make you an excellent employee.  In fact, if your performance can be accurately compared against your job description, you’re only performing on average.  You need to produce over and above the job description if you want to be considered as exemplary.

Components of a job description:
There are several components of the job description you need to be familiar with.  These are:

The Job Title
The job title is what will essentially define and identify you in the organization.  It will also give you a clue on your general job responsibilities and the qualifications you’ll need to perform the job well. 

The job title will also give you an idea to which department you’ll belong, what your reporting relationship will be and how you will fit into the organization.  Once you get hired, know that your job title will often be used as a substitute for your proper name. 

Instead of using your name, people will be saying, ‘Go see the HR Manager’ or ‘I want to talk to the Accounting Clerk’ or ‘You’ll have to ask the Executive Assistant’.  See what I mean?

The Reporting Relationship
The job description will also include your reporting relationship – who you will report to and who you will work with.  This is a good clue to understanding your relative position in the company.  This part of the job description will also let you know who will be responsible for monitoring and evaluating your performance.

Note that the person who will appear in your reporting relationship might not be the person who hired you in the first place.  In some organizations, the job of hiring is given to someone else, usually the HR person. 

However, the person you will be reporting to did have a lot to do with the approval of your hiring.  You could thank HR for choosing you as a candidate but in the end, it’s your super who will be deciding whether you’re a good choice or not.

Job responsibilities
The job responsibilities part will list your main responsibilities.  This list will define the type of work you will be expected to accomplish.  Here are a few examples:

– Maintain the company’s reputation through timely and appropriate public relations, advertisements and media contacts.

– Perform preventive evaluation of company equipment.

– Assist the Personnel Head with recruitment, candidate processing and filing of reports to government agencies.

– Evaluate training needs of department heads and their subordinates.

Tasks
The list of tasks will detail what you are expected to do on a day-to-day basis.  If you will be working as a service crew in a fastfood joint, for example, the list of tasks could include:

– Accept and serve orders from customers from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
– Clean and sanitize food counters and tables after every service.

The list of tasks should give you an idea about how your routine will be like – what time you’re supposed to report for work, what you are expected to accomplish within a day, who you will be working with, etc.  In some job descriptions, this list is often mixed with the greater job responsibilities you have. 

Terms of employment
The terms of employment part of your job description will indicate your compensation – salary or base pay, commission rates, bonuses, benefits, etc.  It will also include the number of hours you are expected to work on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. 

Conditions of service will also be indicated in this part of the job description – confidentiality clauses, exclusivity… — stuff that should give you an idea of the standards you have to live up to and any restrictions you might have to watch for.  This part will also give you an idea of what could keep you employed and what could get you fired.

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