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What Is the Difference Between General Job Descriptions & Special-Purpose Job Descriptions?

Job descriptions help current and potential employees to know their responsibilities and duties on a particular job. Another reason for job descriptions is to enable employers and supervisors to select a good choice for an open position or guide existing workers in fulfilling their work obligations. General job descriptions differ from special-purpose ones in the information and degree of requirements they convey. view available jobs

General Job Descriptions

A general job description typically lists the job title and, in some cases, the department or supervisor that oversees this job. It tells the reader that he should have a working understanding of this type of job and lets him know that he could perform the job with this basic knowledge. Develop a summary of what the job entails to give applicants an overview of the required responsibilities. Provide a list of the job’s responsibilities and the basic qualifications needed. For example, tell the applicant what she needs to know about this work, such as the ability to operate factory machinery or to handle office duties.

Special-Purpose Job Descriptions

Special-purpose job descriptions get down to the nitty gritty of the job and provide details of specific duties and knowledge the applicant should have. These in-depth job descriptions help pinpoint the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are essential to the correct and safe performance of the position. A company may have several types of secretaries or factory workers, each one performing specific jobs. The special-purpose description tells that worker, as well as the hiring officer, what this particular job entails that makes it different from others in the company. It also helps both the applicant and interviewer determine whether this person has the skills to perform the job.


In a general job description, education requirements may simply say that a high school education is required, or it may specify that applicants should have some education beyond high school. A wide-scope college degree like a bachelor of science in business or a vocational diploma such as one in office careers may be sufficient for the job. The description should say whether the listed education is preferred or required. Special-purpose job descriptions typically list the type of degree and area of study that is required. In addition, specialized training, certifications, continuing education and licensing may be essential to the job or the hiring policy. Include specialized studies, certifications or internship requirements in the job description to help weed out those who do not have the required training or board-approved certifications.


Experience can be outlined in a general job description in a vague way, such as experience working with children, working in food service jobs or accounting experience. More-specific job descriptions should be given for less-general jobs. Tell the applicant that he must have experience in a chemical packaging factory, working as a drywall installer or working as a sous-chef. Be as specific as possible in describing job experience that is a must for the open position.