May 30, 2012 | Barb Carr

3 Tips for Using a Job Description for your Career Development

Since I’m working on a brief presentation on writing job descriptions for one of our departments this week, I want to share 3 quick tips about using a job description for your career development.

Many employees don’t think about their formal job descriptions after they’ve been hired for a position.  However, a job description should be thought of as a “living” document that evolves with the position, not simply a document to set out what the expectations are for a new employee.  A job description should not be filed away after an employee is hired until that position is open again, but used as a resource for that employee’s career development.

If you haven’t looked at your job description lately, take it out of that file, brush it off, and give it a second look.  It can really help you advance your career!  Here are three tips for using a job description for your career development:

1) Set goals using your job description as a reference point. It’s easy to get off track after years of performing the same tasks.  After reviewing your job description, you may be pleasantly surprised at how you’ve grown into your position, mastered tasks, and added more complex tasks … or disappointed that you have failed to master one or two.  Don’t be discouraged.  A job description is a good baseline to use when setting new professional goals.

Your employer determined major outcomes that needed to happen for the company to run efficiently, and with those outcomes in mind, your job description was created.  It’s easy to lose sight of how the tasks you perform every day fit into the larger picture of your company, and helps the company run well as a whole, but every position is important to the company’s overall success.  With this in mind, use your job description to evaluate new goals to set to improve your performance and reach new heights.

2) Ensure you and your supervisor are on the same page. Now, don’t get carried away with this idea.  A job description is not a document that you can slam down on your supervisor’s desk to point out a task that is “not your job.”  However, this document is a good way to open communication with your supervisor, and determine what the expectations are for your position.

You can’t perform well at work if you don’t know what the expectations are.  If your job description is outdated, it may be time to sit with your supervisor and update it so you can continue to grow in your position, or find out if you qualify for a promotion to a new position.  If you are having a hard time performing all of the tasks listed because you have taken on additional tasks critical to the company’s success, it may be time to discuss whether or not some of the tasks are better suited for other positions within the company.

3) Plan future training by referring to your job description. If you are disappointed that you have failed to master some of your tasks, examine why you haven’t mastered them.  Perhaps all you need is a little training to improve or refresh.   A job description will help you identify gaps in your performance and plan future training.

Don’t forget, if you need to learn or simply refresh your knowledge on the essentials of root cause analysis, we have a course for you that will only take 2 days of your time (learn more).  If you are ready to learn advance root cause analysis techniques, we have a team leader course that is achievable in just one week (learn more)!

These simple tips on using a job description to improve performance can help you succeed in your career development.

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