When did you last look at your job specification? For me it’s when I’m applying for or leaving a job. Once you’re in a job they tend to become irrelevant.
Taking ownership for your job description can change it from a rigid list of requirements into a useful career management tool.
Used in this way it can provide several benefits:
1. You can match your job with your strengths as much as possible. This way you’ll add more value to your organisation and enjoy your role more.
2. It’s an opportunity to have meaningful conversations with your line manager about your role. In particular it can help if your job has changed significantly over time or isn’t what you’d expected
3. Viewing your job spec as a living/breathing thing will encourage you to think about your career in the same way.
5 steps to making your job specification work for you
Step 1– find it! This took me a while…
Step 2– at the end of a week have a go at quickly writing your own job spec based on what you’ve actually been doing. Compare it to your original.
Step 3– think about what you would like your job spec. to include. Ask yourself……
- Are there things in your original job spec you’d like to be doing but aren’t?
- What are you doing that isn’t in your job spec?
- Have you spotted any opportunities to add more value in your job that you would like to add into your job spec?
Step 4– have a conversation with your manager about the process you’ve been through and ask for their input. The immediate fear from a manager might be you’re looking for a pay rise because you do more than what’s in your job spec! That may be true but the ultimate objective of this exercise is for you to be pro active about managing your career so this should be the context you provide to your manager.
Step 5– think about other ways to make your job spec part of your work. Do your objectives match what’s in your job spec? Could you encourage others in your organisation to go through the same process. If you were to summarise your job spec as a tweet what would it say?
Finally set yourself a calendar reminder to review your job spec every 3 months
Good luck and if you have any other ideas on how job specs can be useful please let me know!
Sarah – firstname.lastname@example.org