Having picked a template from the job library, you'll need to add any specific requirements to the job description. Some templates have a person specification already written.

The job description

The purpose of the job description is to describe the main duties and responsibilities of the role.

The first section describes the main purpose of the role. This should normally be one short paragraph summarising the purpose of the job.

The second section lists the main duties and responsibilities of the role:

  • this should be roughly half a page of A4, typically around ten bullet points long
  • don't list every duty and task but summarise the types of work that will be required, along with the principal duties and tasks
  • sentences will often start with 'Accountable for...', 'Organise the...', 'Supervise the...', 'Develop...', 'Ensure that...', 'Maintain...', 'Manage...', 'Examine...', 'Provide...', 'Record...', 'Control...', 'Advise...', 'Assist...', 'Give guidance to...' etc.
  • detail any special requirements needed in carrying out the duties of the post, eg frequent overseas travel. Ensure that these requirements are truly essential, as they may disadvantage applicants with caring responsibilities

The person specification

This describes what is required of the role holder, and is split into five sections:

  • Qualifications: these should be appropriate to the level of expertise required by the role.
    Grade Typical requirements
    1 (only applies to cleaning roles)
    2 GCSEs or NVQ level 1 (as appropriate), or equivalent experience
    3 5 GSCEs at grade C or above, or NVQ level 2 (as appropriate), or equivalent experience
    4 GCSEs (minimum of 5 at grade C or above, including Maths and English) or NVQ level 2-3 (as appropriate), or equivalent experience / A-levels or equivalent experience
    5 A levels or NVQ level 3 or BTEC or apprenticeship (as appropriate), or equivalent experience / degree or equivalent experience
    6 A levels or BTEC or apprenticeship (as appropriate), or equivalent experience / degree or equivalent experience
    7 Degree and professional qualification, or equivalent experience
    8 Degree and professional qualification, or equivalent experience
  • Knowledge: this should reflect the level of knowledge required to carry out the tasks listed in the job description. The successful candidate should have knowledge of key aspects of the role: relevant legislation; relevant issues for the workplace; appropriate tools/ software; the principles relevant to the role; standard procedures mentioned in the job description.
  • Skills, abilities & competencies: list the skills, (etc) needed to successfully carry out the job. These should reflect the duties listed in the job description.
  • Experience: the role holder should have experience of the key aspects of the role, as described in the job description: eg, line managing employees; using specific applications/ tools; relevant work environment; training others; running a lab; working with specific systems (NB: do not specify the number of years of experience).
  • Personal attributes: describes the sort of person and the type of approach required. Examples might include: punctual; good team worker; proactive; flexible approach to change; customer-focussed; attention to detail; professional approach; enthusiasm for [aspects of role].

Essential and desirable criteria

Make a distinction between essential and desirable criteria:

  • a candidate must meet the essential requirements in order to be appointed
  • desirable requirements should be advantageous for a candidate to possess, and may be used to distinguish between applicants

Make sure that the requirements are not too basic or you will receive an excessive number of applications. Similarly, the requirements should not be excessive in relation to the level of work in the job description.

What next?

Add more general information to your template about the role and the department.