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What Format Should You Use When Writing a Job Analysis?

Deciding what kind of job analysis to write can be tricky, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the process. There are several different formats for job analyses, each with their perks and quirks. Different fields use different styles of job analysis, so it can be tricky to know which one to choose when you’re just starting out. That’s why we’ve gone ahead and compiled this ultimate guide; to help you write the perfect job analysis that will make your managers happy and assist you in advancing in your career!

The 4 Types of Job Analyses

There are four distinct types of job analyses: functional, resource, workflow, and analytical. To fully understand what each one is and how they should be used, let’s have a quick review of the English language.

A functional job analysis (JFA) maps the job responsibilities and measures the essential job tasks. This type of job analysis is usually used when the position you are analyzing is a new one and needs to be defined or in cases where the position is slightly modified from its exact former state. For instance, if the job was previously called manager of marketing and now is called manager of marketing and communications, the JFA for the latter position would include the addition of “communications” to the original duties. This is also the case when a position’s title changes.

A resource job analysis (JRA) is similar to a JFA, but it includes more in the way of describing the required skills and abilities. In a JRA, you will also find details on the minimum performance standards and behaviors that must be exhibited by the employee. This type of job analysis is more appropriate for positions that are highly technical in nature and require in-depth knowledge of resources such as computers, software, and networks.

A workflow job analysis (WFA) is similar to a JFA, but it focuses more on the process or the work flow of the job rather than the actual tasks. Think of a workflow job analysis as a blueprint for the work that needs to be done. WFAs are most often used for creating business processes or organizing workflows. This type of job analysis is also appropriate for jobs that are very task-focused, but that have a high level of interdependency. For example, if the job is in sales and involves directly interacting with customers, a WFA would be a good place to describe the varied tasks and the dependencies between them.

An analytical job analysis (JDA) is similar to a JRA, but it is more of an organizational tool and is used to examine the job’s function from a broader perspective. This type of job analysis is often used when the job being analyzed is already in place or has been previously defined. JFAs and JDFs can be quite detailed, encompassing everything from the physical requirements of the job (e.g., must be able to lift 50 pounds) to the skills and abilities needed (e.g., strategic thinking).

Which One Should You Use When Writing Your Job Analysis?

Now that you know what each of the four distinct formats of job analyses are and how they should be used, let’s revisit the question of which one you should choose when writing your job analysis.

The best answer to this question is: It depends. The key is to understand the purpose of your job analysis and the unique context in which you are writing it. Only then can you determine which one of the four formats is most suitable.

For example, if the purpose of your job analysis is to provide input to your manager so that he can decide whether or not to promote you to a new position, you will want to select the analytical format. If your goal is to describe the tasks that need to be accomplished to bring the organization’s product to market, you will want to select the workflow job analysis. If you are creating a new position and need to define the responsibilities and expectations, you will want to use the functional format.

Remember: It’s not about which one is better; it’s about how the information is going to be used. In this case, the functional format would be suitable because it maps the job’s responsibilities and outlines the required skills and abilities. On the other hand, if you want to describe the process by which the organization’s products are conceived and brought to market, a workflow format would be more appropriate.

Why Are Managers Lining Up to Reject Your Job Analysis?

So far, everything we’ve discussed relates to how job analyses should be written, but now it’s time to examine why managers are sometimes hesitant to accept these important documents. Specifically, let’s look at why some managers prefer to withhold approval from a job analysis, even when it follows all the correct procedures and it seems to have been very well written. (Read on for a primer on how to write a perfect job analysis that will make your managers glad you took the time to do this for them.)

There are several reasons why a manager might reject a job analysis. However, the most common one is that the job duties as described do not match the responsibilities of the position. For example, if you are applying for a finance director position and your job analysis says that you will be responsible for overseeing the company’s finances, your manager might think that this is an unreasonable expectation for the position. Your job analysis should be tailored to the specific needs and requirements of the position you are applying for. In some cases, this can mean reinterpreting how you previously performed the job—but that’s a good thing. It means you are making the transition from student to professional and are taking the time to learn how to be a functioning part of the organization.

How Do You Write A Perfect Job Analysis?

OK, so now that you’re equipped with the basics of how to write a job analysis, let’s discuss how to go about writing one that will make your managers happy. The first step is to follow the format that your manager specifies. Once you’ve gotten everything in order according to his specifications, you can take the time to make the necessary adjustments and, once again, submit the final version for approval. This process should be treated with the utmost respect because, quite frankly, your manager is in charge of your professional and personal growth as a member of the organization. If he feels that you are not ready to assume the responsibilities of the position, he has the authority to withhold his approval and, in some cases, even reject the job analysis altogether. However, as we discussed above, if you tailor your job analysis to match the exact requirements of the position you’re applying for, you’ve greatly increased your chances of pleasing your manager and getting his approval.

Some tips for writing a perfect job analysis: