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Defining Job Duties


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A position is based on its job duties. Job duties define the role the employee will play in your department and the skills they will need to do the job. They describe what the employee does day to day and frame why the job exists, and they provide the basis for your qualifications. So defining the duties your position will perform is one of the most crucial tasks ahead of you as you create your posting.

A good job description will contain 8-10 current essential duties. They should be directly connected to the qualifications and required skills indicated in other sections of the description. Each listed duty should make up at least 5% of the workload of the position. So, for example, if a full-time employee will spend 10 hours per week managing files and databases, this duty makes up 25% of their work. Since duties are listed in order of importance, such a major duty may be the first one listed.

If an essential task of the role does not make up 5% of the workload, it may be combined with other, similar duties. So if the employee will spend 3% of their time answering phone calls and 7% answering emails, we could say that "Providing direct support" will take up 10% of their work. Small duties that do not naturally fall together in the same category can be contained under a single, broad category, such as "Other duties as assigned."
Preparing and typing reports and financial statements following prescribed formats 25%
Preparing disbursement orders, travel and miscellaneous claims 20%
Maintaining filing systems and accounting records 20%
Receiving and verifying deposits and maintaining cash drawer 15%
Responding to routine financial inquiries from internal and external customers 15%
Other duties as assigned 5%
Total   100%

Duties should be specific, but not so specific that you find yourself including step-by-step procedures. The goal is to provide prospective employees with a clear idea of what they will be required to do, in as few words as necessary. The complete list of duties should clearly justify the job's full- or part-time FTE status.

Avoid generalizations like “May train or supervise.” If a department expects to require a driver’s license, there should be a specific duty that indicates regular driving.
HR is available to assist with your duties and may be able to research peer positions for reference.
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