The Complete Job Description

The Complete Job Description

In order to translate your needs into results, let’s begin by evaluating your present position — it’s the first step in any job change.

You’d be surprised how many people are unclear about what they actually do for a living, and the way their jobs make them feel.

For example, whenever I interview a candidate, the first thing I ask for is a complete job description.

“So tell me, Bonnie, ” I begin. “What is it that you do at your present company?”

“Gee, Bill, I thought I told you already. I’m a systems analyst.”

“All right, fair enough,” I reply. “But would you please describe to me in detail the following two things:

  1. What are your daily activities? That is, how do you spend your time during a typical day; and
  2. What are the measurable results your company expects from these activities? In other words, how does your supervisor know when you’re doing a good job?”

Often, I discover that people are hard pressed to come up with solid answers about the specific nature of their work. They’re not exactly sure about their job responsibilities, and their lack of focus results in stress or counter-productivity.

While a little bit of stress may is natural in any job, a steady diet of it can destroy your incentive to work. In fact, a recent study indicates a direct correlation between a person’s lack of task clarity and their level of job dissatisfaction.

Try this exercise: On a sheet of paper, write a complete, current job description in which you list your daily activities and their expected, measurable results. This exercise will not only help you clarify your own perception of your work; it’ll be useful later on when you begin to construct a resume and communicate to others exactly what you’ve done.