Job description: definition, sample, examples

A job description appears in an employee’s employment contract. But it can also be an instrument for applicants. A job description is therefore useful if you are applying undercover and do not want to give the name of your current employer. In that case, you probably do not yet have a job reference and can instead enclose a job description with your application. Here you list the tasks, projects and activities that you carry out for your current company. This strategy has some advantages …

Job description definition

Job descriptions know applicants from their job search. From the job advertisements, in which it is listed exactly which tasks and activities the future employee should take on in the company.

Before that, the company usually made a job description. The job description is an integral part of the job description (or job description). In a job description, the company defines – in addition to the activities – other aspects of a job. For example, the position of the new employee in the organization chart, their superiors and deputies, their qualifications, responsibilities and authorities.

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A job description can also be found in the employment contract – once you have been hired. The company determines what performance it expects from you. As an employee, you are obliged to perform the activities set out in the employment contract. The job description in the employment contract is therefore legally binding, which is what makes it so important.

Sometimes the job description in the employment contract is linked to a so-called transfer reservation so that the Employers can assign you other tasks. Rule of thumb: If the job description is more general, the employer has more leeway.

In legal disputes, the job description in the employment contract can be extremely relevant (see also box at the bottom). For example, when it comes to the question of whether the employee has actually provided his contractual services. Sometimes the job description is even of decisive importance when it comes to the question of whether private occupational disability insurance covers an employee.

A description of his activities can also be found in the interim reference and job reference of an employee.

In short: job descriptions appear again and again in everyday work. They offer orientation, both practically and legally. In addition, you can write a job description yourself and use it for the (secret) job search. Career jump shows you what you should be aware of …

job description instead of job reference for the application

A job description can be a useful tool for your application. You can formulate it yourself and then enclose it with your application documents instead of a job reference. But it always remains only an emergency solution – even if it is wonderfully worded.

It cannot take on an interim reference or job reference. Finally, the certificates are issued by the employer – a source that has a higher level of credibility. You formulate the job description that you enclose with your application yourself – this undoubtedly diminishes its value. A small aside: In reality, many employees also write their internship or work references themselves. Only a later employer does not know that in individual cases.

In addition, an interim or work reference gives the employer-specific information. This is of course not entirely unimportant. A phone call to him is enough and you can check whether the information in the certificate is correct.

Now applicants can also name their current company with their full name when writing a job description. But that doesn’t make sense. The self-written job description is used when you are covertly looking for a job. And in this case, it is better to do without it. A call to the current boss could be extremely uncomfortable …

What value does the job description have? It is by no means completely useless. It helps to complete your applicant profile and gives your application the finishing touches.

It also serves as a wink with the fence post for an experienced HR manager. “Hello, I am applying discreetly. Hopefully, you will take that into account! ”You are therefore applying from a position that has not been terminated. That is a definite advantage for you. It increases your market value and strengthens your negotiating position.

Job description content

With a job description, you can bridge a waiting period. There are supposed to be employers who give themselves a lot of time to issue an interim or job reference.

If you can not wait any longer, use a job description. You should enclose this with your application as a replacement for a certificate. This approach is useful, for example, if you have identified a very attractive position for which the application deadline is about to expire.

In your application you can also indicate that you are still waiting for your job reference and it Please submit it later.

A good job description contains this information:

  • A current job with the job description
  • Official job title
  • your tasks in everyday work
  • your achievements and successes
  • Evaluation of your previous activity based on employee interviews or classifications
  • Contents of the employment contract and possible additional regulations

This is basically all the information that is important for the future employer. In connection with a cover letter and a current résumé, your application is almost complete.

The structure of the job description looks best as follows. Just write the job description as the heading. Below that you can add a sentence like:

  • My work is XXX at XYZ GmbH.

If you do not want to name the employer, opt for a variant like this:

  • My work as XXX in the XYZ industry.

Here you describe in as much detail as possible which tasks you have taken on in the company. You can do this at a table. For example:

  • Project manager digitization
    From 10.10.2017 to 01.04.2020 I led a team of 12. My job was to digitize the company’s document management. We had two years to do this. The project was successfully completed under my leadership in 20 months.

Alternatively, you can briefly list your activities and projects in keywords. Decide on a style. It is important that the essential content is present and easy for the recipient to grasp.

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Ask for confidentiality!

Your Current employer should never know anything about your job search? Then expressly ask for confidentiality!

A possible formulation would be: I am currently in an employment relationship that has not been terminated and therefore ask you to treat this application confidentially. Please call me on the above number only in the evening from 7.30 p.m. Thank you for your understanding.

Job description pattern

If you want to formulate a job description to enclose with your application, then you can refer to the information in your Orientate employment contract. But under no circumstances should you withhold the activities that you actually performed but that are not in the job description in your employment contract. Here are a few suggestions …

The job description of an office clerk could look like this:

  • Administrative and organizational activities
  • Processing of incoming and outgoing mail
  • Processing of complaints
  • Handling of all correspondence
  • Preparatory accounting
  • Personnel management
  • Contract management

The job description for an employee in sales could look like this:

  • customer acquisition
  • calculation and preparation of offers and framework agreements
  • professional advice for existing customers
  • Order negotiations and order tracking
  • Recording of preparation processes
  • Preparation, implementation and support of trade fair appearances
  • Travel activities in Germany and abroad
  • Preparation and follow-up of customer appointments

The job description of an employee in retail could look like this:

  • Acceptance of deliveries of goods
  • L Storage and presentation of goods
  • Freshness checks in the fruit and vegetable area
  • Answering customer questions
  • Cashing in and accounting at the till
  • Ensuring order and cleanliness in the branch
  • Preparation and implementation of inventory work

The job description for an internship in marketing could look like this:

  • Concept creation
  • Evaluation and implementation of brochures, flyers, banners, posters, newsletters, etc.
  • Creation of multimedia content such as videos
  • Implementation of presentations
  • Supervision, updating and further development of the website and social media channels
  • Content creation for website and social media
  • CRM database maintenance
  • Research work

Job description tips

If you pay attention to the following little things, you have written an appealing job description at the end:

  • Realism

    Positions Realistically represent your tasks and projects. Confidence – Yes! Excessive exaggerations – no! If you apply too much, you make yourself implausible.

  • Objectivity

    Keep motivation and goals out of the job description. They belong in the cover letter. Limit yourself to the facts, stay factual.

  • Professionalism

    Use important technical terms to represent your work professionally. This is how you come across as an insider, a real professional.

  • Uniformity

    Follow the red thread of your application. This means that the language style and layout are similar to the other documents. The job description should not look like a foreign body.

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Job description relevance

HR professionals are keenly interested in which tasks and activities applicants took on at their last employer.

An evaluation by Ernst Abbe University in Jena showed that 54 percent of them did not read through a job reference in full. They just skim it and get stuck in the places they think are relevant.

And that means above all the job descriptions. 85 percent of the HR professionals surveyed are interested in them, 61 percent in the closing formula and 54 percent in the summary performance statement.

And: Even for those who read through a certificate completely, the job description is by far the most important element.

Mind you, we are talking about the job description in the job reference. The results suggest, however, that a job description can also provide valuable services in the application.

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