Now that you’re in the door and past the new hire paperwork, it’s time to perform. However, you can’t perform if you don’t know what goals to reach, or what responsibilities you’ll carry – which is where your job description comes into play.
Job descriptions aren’t just meant for organizational management. They’re incredibly useful for understanding what your new employer expects from you, so that you know exactly how to succeed and progress in your new role. It can also help to understand the two types of job descriptions, so that you know whether or not to ask additional questions pertaining to your new responsibilities.
Know What’s Expected of You
In order to perform, you need to know what’s expected of you – and thanks to job descriptions, those expectations are outlined from the start. Think of your job description as the roadmap to your role. It houses your day-to-day responsibilities, skills you’ll need to use, and expectations that will eventually feed into your first performance review. And seeing as your first review is a first impression of sorts, it can hold significant weight in determining your progress moving forward.
To get the most guidance out of your job description as possible, it helps to understand the two different types: general, and specific.
General Job Descriptions
A general job description is just as it sounds: a broad list of duties and responsibilities required for your position. You can identify these by noticing their lack of specificity. Rather than listing out particular duties you’ll be carrying out, a general description is short and brief, sometimes only offering a job title and contact information.
If you run across an advertisement on LinkedIn for a manager position, for example, and you don’t see any details regarding day-to-day duties or specific requirements, you’re looking at a generalized job description.
Role-Specific Job Descriptions
For other, more specialized roles, a specific job description can be expected. These lay out specific qualifications, certifications, or skills required for your position, such as familiarity with a particular software, an accreditation that certifies your expertise, or even a certain level of governmental clearance.
If you encounter a job advertisement that asks for specific qualifications such as these, or a track record of successful projects, you’ve run into a role-specific job description.
By identifying whether your job description is more generic or specific, you’ll likely have more or less questions for your employer. Given a more open-ended general description, I’d suggest preparing a list of additional questions for your supervisor to clearly outline your duties, goals, and any metrics you’re required to meet. This may not be necessary with a specific job description, since your expectations are already laid out in clear detail.
The bottom line here being, no matter your job description, it’s crucial that you clearly understand your responsibilities and expectations from the start. Even if your job poses a generic description, it’s your starting point in asking your employer for additional details to guide your performance. Study up on your role, ask any clarifying questions you may have, and treat your job description as your roadmap to early success.
Listen to this recent Hack My Business episode for Angela’s insights on the significance of your employee handbook, and visit this blog for the first entry in her Recent College Grad new Hire Need-to-Knows series. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram @iamangelareddockwright.com, LinkedIn at angelareddock-wright, and tune-in to her radio show KBLA Talk 1580’s Legal Lens with Angela Reddock-Wright each Saturday and Sunday at 11am PST, or catch past episodes on Anchor.fm/Spotify. For media inquiries for Angela, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Experienced Employment Law Attorney, Mediator, Arbitrator, Investigator, Legal and Media Commentator
Twice-named a U.S. News Best Lawyer in America for employment and labor law, Angela Reddock-Wright is an employment and labor law attorney, mediator, arbitrator, and certified workplace and Title IX investigator (AWI-CH) in Los Angeles, CA. Known as the “Workplace Guru,” Angela is an influencer and leading authority on employment, workplace/HR, Title IX, hazing, and bullying issues. Furthermore, she’s been named a “Top 50 Woman Attorney” in California by Super Lawyers, a “Top California Employment Lawyer” by the Daily Journal and one of Los Angeles’ “Most Influential Minority and Women Attorneys” by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Angela is a regular legal and media commentator and analyst and has appeared on such media outlets as Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, Law and Crime with Brian Ross, Court TV, CNN, NewsNation, ABC News, CBS News, Fox 11 News, KTLA-5, the Black News Channel, Fox Soul – The Black Report, NPR, KPCC, Airtalk-89.3, KJLH Front Page with Dominique DiPrima, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, Forbes.com, Yahoo! Entertainment, People Magazine, Essence Magazine, the Los Angeles Sentinel, LA Focus, Daily Journal, Our Weekly and the Wave Newspapers.
Angela is a member of the panel of distinguished mediators and arbitrators with Judicate West, a California dispute resolution company. She also owns her own dispute resolution law firm, the Reddock Law Group of Los Angeles, specializing in the mediation, arbitration, and investigation of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other workplace claims, along with Title IX, sexual harassment, assault, and misconduct conduct cases, along with hazing and bullying cases in K-12 schools, colleges and universities, fraternities and sororities; fire, police and other public safety agencies and departments; and other private and public sector workplaces.
Reddock-Wright has also launched her own radio show, Legal Lens with Angela Reddock-Wright, airing on Tavis Smiley’s new KBLA Talk 1580 radio station on Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. PT with replays on subsequent Sundays. Listeners may tune-in by downloading the APP @kbla1580 and call the PowerLines at 1-800-920-1580. You can listen to past episodes on Anchor.Fm/Spotify.
For more information regarding resources for employers, businesses, and employees during this time, connect with her on LinkedIn for new updates, or contact her here. You may also follow her on Instagram.
This communication is not legal advice. It is educational only. For legal advice, consult with an experienced employment law attorney in your state or city.