Job Profile: How to Develop and Use

A Job Profile Outlines the Key Components of a Job

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Do your employees need an easy to develop method for identifying the key components of their jobs? Consider using a job profile rather than a job description for recruiting, posting jobs, and clear direction and parameters for employees.

The job profile is best developed by a team of employees who understand the organization's need for the employee who fills this position. It is often the starting point for discussion in the recruitment planning meeting or process.

The job profile outlines the details of an employee's job. These are the key components that you hired the employee to accomplish. In a straight-forward, actionable format, the job profile presents a picture of an employee's key job duties.

The job profile will contain an overview of the:

  • job's responsibilities,
  • experience needed to do the job,
  • skills necessary to perform the job,
  • education and credentials required,
  • job physical demands and work environment,
  • reporting assignment, and
  • pay range information.

Commonly used almost interchangeably with a job description, both the term, and the contents, I differentiate a  job profile from a job description. The major difference is the level of detail. A job profile allows more latitude for current goals and expectations.

The job description provides a high level of detail so that a misunderstanding with the employee about his or her job responsibilities is never in doubt.

While the job description defines all of the requirements of each major area of responsibility, the job profile might only list the responsibility. For example, a Human Resources Director, in a job profile, might bear responsibility for training and development of employees.

In a job description, six-eight major descriptors of this responsibility might define the overall responsibilities.

Sample Job Profile vs. Job Description

Using the above-mentioned HR director job description, here is a comparison of one component between a job profile and a job description.

Job Profile:

Training and Development

Responsible for the development of an in-house training and development program that includes new employee orientation, management development, performance development plans for each employee, training needs assessment, the selection of appropriate training delivery systems and methods, and managing the budget for training and development.

Job Description:

Training and Development

  • Defines all HR training programs, and assigns the authority / responsibility of HR and managers within those training programs. Provides needed training and reinforcing materials to managers and employees that include workshops, manuals, employee handbooks, and standardized reports.
  • Leads the implementation of the performance management system that includes performance development plans (PDPs) and employee development programs.
  • Establishes an in-house employee training system that identifies and provides for company training needs. The following are included in the training system: training needs assessmentnew employee orientation or onboarding, management development, production cross-training, the measurement of training impact, and training transfer best practices.
  • Assists managers with the selection and contracting of external training programs and consultants.
  • Assists with the development of and monitors the spending of the corporate training budget.

How and When to Use a Job Profile

A job profile is a useful tool. Particularly in recruiting and job postings, the job description provides way too much information. The job profile cuts to the significant elements to provide a picture of a job. Use a job profile as necessary to describe your jobs. to potential candidates.

Job profiles provide a good explanation of the components of a job and what you are seeking in an employee when they are posted with your job openings on your recruiting website.

Potential employees will note the components and requirements of a job in your job posting. The job profile gives them enough information to determine whether they are qualified and interested in your job.

This saves both the employer and the job searcher time and disappointment.

Used when effective, the job profile is another useful tool in the HR toolbox.

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