A job responsibility is a description about the overall tasks and expectations of a current or prior position. The purpose of a job responsibility summary is to show an employer what you have learned during your career and how it might relate to the new role you are applying for. In this article, you can learn how to write about job responsibilities and review some examples.
What is a job responsibility?
A job responsibility is a description of your duties in a particular position. You can use it to indicate your qualifications when applying for a new job. Job responsibility summaries include information about roles, activities and tasks that relate to fulfilling job requirements, such as writing, selling, decision-making and designing. A job responsibility is typically one paragraph made up of three or four details that highlight that particular job. The best examples help you build rapport with an employer before you speak to them on the phone or meet them in person.
How to write the job responsibility summary
Follow these steps to write a job responsibility summary for your resume:
1. Firstly, write a quick job description
Think about the daily duties you performed at your current or past job and then write them down. Mentally going through a typical shift from start to finish can help you remember all of your tasks. One tip is to make a list of everything that you did during each shift and then arrange the list items into sentences. Once you’re done, you’ll have a job description that you can use as a starting point. After you refine it, it will become a job responsibility summary that you can include on your resume. Most impressive job responsibility summaries are about one paragraph in length, but your job description may be longer at first.
2. Secondly, focus on achievements and skills
Look at your job description and see if there are ways to make it more concise. Each sentence in the job description should make a positive impact. To create this positive impact, focus on highlighting your achievements and skills. Start each phrase or sentence with an action verb that shows strength and competence, such as ‘supervised’ or ‘improved’.
Read over your paragraph to make sure it is clear and concise. Before you move on to the next step, add several keywords to the job description that relate to the job and industry that you’re applying for. Examples of common keywords found in job responsibility summaries on resumes include ‘leadership,’ ‘computer skills,’ ‘interpersonal skills’ and ‘customer service skills.’ It’s important to add relevant keywords because some employers screen resumes digitally using keyword scanners, to look for specific keywords.
3. Next, decide which responsibilities to add
Refine your job responsibility summary by being selective about the responsibilities that you choose to add. Your job description should be a job responsibility summary, rather than including information about everything you’ve ever done at that job. Look at what you’ve written and then decide which skills and tasks will be most appealing to the prospective employer.
For instance, if you’re applying for an executive assistant job, and you’ve written down that you made coffee at another office that you worked at, as well as the fact that you mastered an accounting program during your time there, you might want to omit the coffee information and keep the accounting program information. The employer might like your barista skills, but they are going to be more interested in your ability to use the software program.
4. Then, prioritize the job responsibility information
Enhance what you’ve done so far by prioritizing job responsibility information. Your description should include a lot of details that potential employers will want to see. Look over the information that remains after the last step. You may want to put some of these tasks, skills and achievements in a different order so that the most relevant ones are what a prospective employer will see first.
You might start by talking about any technical skills that you have because those skills are less common than ‘soft skills’ like friendliness and compassion. How you order your job responsibilities in your paragraph should depend on which job you want to get.
Some people consider the amount of time that they spent on particular tasks and use that information to order their job responsibilities. If they answered phones for six hours of each shift, for instance, they list that task first. If they greeted customers for one hour of each shift, they list that skill second. This approach is practical if you’re not sure how to order your own tasks, skills and achievements.
5. Finally, quantify what you’ve achieved
Quantify your achievements by adding statistics and hard facts. This last step will give your job responsibility summary more credibility. During this step, you will be measuring your achievements in ways that are simple for prospective employers to understand. When you quantify your achievements and use percentages, numbers and dollar signs, you show that you’ve excelled in your previous job. Whether you boosted client retention by 10% or improved overall sales by $10,000, make sure that this information is there for potential employers to see.
Job responsibility examples
Here are some examples of job responsibility summaries:
Example for an administrative assistant
- ‘Duties included providing administrative support to employees and managers via a range of tasks related to communication and organization, including answering phones and emails, data entry and maintaining a file system’
- ‘Responsible for time-sensitive and confidential material’
- ‘Trained temps 10% faster than other administrative assistants on staff’
- ‘Managed the work of temporary employees’
Example for a cashier
- ‘Main duties included handling sales transactions, bagging items, requesting price checks, accepting and processing coupons and giving exact change’
- ‘Maintained receipts, withdrawals and records’
- ‘Counted cash register contents after shifts’
- ‘Alerted management when stock items were low’
- ‘Won Employee of the Month award in November of 2019’