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Home ยป Why Is It Important to Identify Essential Job Functions When Writing a Job Description?

Why Is It Important to Identify Essential Job Functions When Writing a Job Description?

When writing a job description, it is important to consider the essential functions of the job. This will make it much easier for any potential employer to understand what the role entails. It is also important to include any special skills or training the employee might have, as well as the responsibilities of the job. Below we discuss the importance of the essential job functions section of the job description and include some advice about how to write this section.

What Is an Essential Job Function?

An essential job function is a role that is necessary to perform in order to accomplish the goals of the organization. The worker in this role would be either individually or jointly accountable for the successful operation of the agency. Essential job functions can include many things such as customer service, administrative tasks, research, reporting, and many more.

If you are wondering why it is so important to include this information, think about this for a moment. Without being explicitly told what a job entails, how can the employer know what skills or training the employee needs? Consider the following scenario: An employee shows up for work one day and happily begins performing their job. Suddenly, one day they do not show up for work. Did the employer not perform a periodic inspection of the job? Did they not offer assistance and guidance to the employee in performing their job? Perhaps it was a case of them not being assigned a task which they deemed important, but rather an unimportant task such as data entry which they felt was below their pay grade. In this case, they may have decided that data entry is not an important job function and chose to ignore this job requirement.

In very rare circumstances, an employer can agree to a job description that does not contain any explicit details about the job, but provides sufficient information for the employee to determine what is entailed in the position. In these cases, the employee manual can provide additional information about what is expected of the employee. Otherwise, knowing what the job entails becomes crucial in case there is a dispute about the job or if the employee brings a claim against the employer for not disclosing the essential job functions.

Organizational Analysis

Your job as the writer of the job description is to clearly communicate the responsibilities of the position to your audience. When doing so, it is important to consider the existing organizational structure and culture of the agency. You should also take the time to familiarize yourself with the basic structure of the company, as well as the types of employees that they typically hire. This part of the job description is extremely important because it will give the reader a clear understanding of the role, as well as the type of employee the employer is looking for. It is also important to consider how you want the role to be defined and to whom you are writing this description. If you are writing for a relatively small group of individuals, it is advisable to define the role in a very specific manner. Alternatively, if you are writing for a larger group, you can use broader terms and avoid using definitions altogether.

Skills & Training

Every job entails certain skills that the employee has learned over time through experience and training. It is important to clearly define these skills for the reader as this will make it much easier for the employer to understand what you are asking of them when you ask for an experienced candidate. You can also include any specialized training the employee might have had, as well as the required education. The more experience the employee has, the better. This part of the job description will make the potential employer more interested in the employee, as they will realize the seniority of the role. You can also ask for the education and training the employee has received, in order to make the position more interesting to the employer.

Why Is It Important to Identify Special Skills & Training In Advance?

The more you can do to make the position more interesting to the reader, the more likely they are to accept the position. If you are asking for the skills and training of the employee, you have already made it clear to the reader that this is an important aspect of the position. Including any special skills or training the employee might have is another way of making the role more appealing to the reader. Knowing what the employee can do takes the mystery out of the role, which in turn makes it easier for the employee to understand what is entailed in the position. This also makes it easier for the employee to determine whether or not they have the necessary skills for the position. Special skills and training can also be used as a selling point to the reader, since they will clearly demonstrate the candidate’s versatility and determination.


Every job has certain responsibilities that the employee has to carry out. When writing this part of the job description, take the time to think of everything that the employee might have to do. Be as thorough as possible, since this is the section that will be used to judge the employee’s performance, as well as the organization’s decision to hire them. The more you can include in this section, the better. Make sure to include everything from simple to complex tasks, as well as any additional duties that the employee might have. Be very specific in this section and avoid using vague terms such as “to provide quality customer service”. Instead, define what good customer service entails and how the employee will provide said service.

Include whatever is necessary in order to clearly communicate what the employee is responsible for. If you feel that this section is too long, you can break it down into multiple sub-sections. For example, you can have one section for the tasks, another for the requirements, and still another for the goals of the job. If you want a job that is complex in nature, break it down into smaller pieces and include each piece in its own section.


Writing the summary is an excellent way of concluding the job description. It is advisable to restate the responsibilities of the position, as well as the unique qualities of the employee. This is the last thing the reader wants to read after spending the past few paragraphs understanding exactly what the job entails. The summary should also include any other important information about the position, such as the pay rate, what fringe benefits are available, and the like.

Once you have written the above, you will need to edit it several times, in order to make it much more readable. Spell check should also be used to verify that the grammar and usage are correct. When editing the job description, make sure that everything is spelled and written in an authoritative manner. Avoid using slang or colloquial language, as well as using contractions. Edit and re-edit until you have a final draft that you are satisfied with. Now you can submit the job description to the appropriate personnel for approval.