Find information on job and position descriptions for all payroll categories.
Job descriptions are generic, action-oriented documents managed by Compensation that clearly and concisely state the primary duties performed, responsibilities carried out, and requirements of a particular job.
The Job Description Catalog, accessible to HR Administrators only, is an on-line tool that contains generic job descriptions for Administrative, SRS Administrative and Support Staff. Today, there are about 700 generic job descriptions in the catalog. As a way to help HR Administrators find job descriptions more easily, descriptions are organized by job family and where applicable, subfamily. Additionally, job descriptions are categorized by type of role: support, individual contributor and/or management.
Access to the catalog is limited to HR administrators. If you believe you should have access, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Job descriptions versus position descriptions
Generic job descriptions for Administrative, SRS Administrative and Support Staff can be found in the catalog. These descriptions capture a significant amount of the work performed by each role, however, they do not capture every duty that someone might perform. As a manager, you may use these generic job descriptions as a baseline to create a more specific, detailed position description. Position descriptions capture additional and/or more detailed, specific information that a DLCI may want to include in a description. Learn more about position descriptions below.
Job titles versus position titles
A job title is a generic title assigned by HR and used by HR to group similar jobs together. A position title, determined at the School or DLCI level, is the public-facing title that appears in the MIT directory. For some roles, the job title and position title will be the same.
Position descriptions are specific, more detailed action-oriented documents managed by the DLCIs that clearly and concisely state the primary duties performed, responsibilities carried out, and requirements of a particular role.
How do I create position descriptions?
Please reference the jobs in the job catalog as the foundation for creating position descriptions for Administrative, SRS Administrative and Support Staff jobs. Additionally, over time, as you review/revise existing position descriptions, please ensure alignment with job descriptions in the job catalog.
The position description template (see Forms below) should be used when preparing descriptions for Sponsored Research Technical and Campus Medical jobs.
Keep in mind
Describing position responsibilities clearly and concisely can be challenging. The following tips may be helpful to you.
1. Initial preparation
Do some initial preparation and advance thinking:
- What are the 4 - 6 major end results the position must accomplish on an ongoing basis?
- What are the activities associated with getting these end results accomplished?
- What type of independent judgment and discretion is exercised?
- What types of decisions are made?
- Begin by listing the activities associated with the position, then cluster those activities into related groupings. Review the groupings to identify the nature of the accountability associated with the activities.
- List the responsibilities in descending order of importance and assign a percent of time spent on each. This helps the reader get a clearer picture of the position. (Note: the FLSA regulations no longer use "percent of time" in the duties tests, so this percentage will be used primarily to understand the job content.)
2. Put yourself in the reader's place
- Think about how to describe the position to someone who is unfamiliar with the position or department.
- Avoid the use of jargon, acronyms, or other non-standard language.
3. Structure your statements
Use the following model as a way to structure each statement:
Action Word + Subject + Specific Activities
Hint: Make sure to be specific about the activities to be performed. See below for examples and see the glossary for more action words.
|Monthly financial reports by
|Audio-visual equipment inventory by
The following terms are commonly used for describing position responsibilities. While this is not an all-inclusive list of acceptable terms, consider using them for either non-exempt or exempt positions.
|To perform or direct in a prescribed manner.
|To counsel, recommend, or suggest.
|To systematically study data, information or a situation to determine solutions or alternatives.
|To evaluate or judge.
|To authorize action; exercise final authority; act independently without further consultation.
|To provide help, support, or aid.
|To examine in depth to verify accuracy or conformity with requirements.
|To give others the power or right to act with final or definite authority.
|To direct the course.
|To exercise authority over; to regulate.
|To organize or harmonize actions or efforts for a common goal or purpose.
|To give advice and guidance to another.
|To entrust to another person's management and/or handling.
|To conceive, invent or form a plan.
|To reach a decision about after thought and/or investigation; to find out exactly, to calculate
|To bring gradually and methodically into existence; to expand or realize potential
|To show or point the way, carry out the organization; manage, supervise, and determine the course.
|To provide with factual or substantial support; construct or produce with a high proportion of details.
|To modify by deleting, adding, revising, correcting for clarity and length.
|To make sure or certain; guarantee; protect.
|To make easier or to expedite.
|To carry with effect; fulfill; accomplish.
|To cause or facilitate the beginning.
|To keep in existence; to defend or sustain; to preserve or retain.
|To plan, organize and/or supervize a function or individual (s); to be in charge of; control.
|To watch, observe or check for a special purpose; keep track.
|To give orderly structure; put into working order.
|To carry out; accomplish; to do in a formal manner.
|To formulate a program to accomplish or attain a goal or end point .
|To put together or create by combining multiple parts, inputs, materials.
|To contribute to the progress or growth of; to advocate or urge the adoption of.
|To offer or suggest.
|To furnish necessary information, materials, or services; to make available.
|To watch over and direct; to supervise.
|To counsel or advise that something be done; to promote something as reputable, worthwhile, appropriate.
|To examine with an eye to criticism, correction or approval.
|To actively carry out duties within the framework of a specialized activity, such as a committee.
|To direct and inspect the performance of employees; to instruct employees in details of the work they perform (either directly or by enforcement of well-established rules), distribute and assign work, observe performance in detail and work with employees to improve performance; to be responsible for hiring decisions and terminating employment.
|To increase others' skill or knowledge though capable instruction, usually in relation to predetermined standard.
|To confirm, support, or corroborate on a sound or authoritative basis.
Job Level Guides
We have provided job level guides for a subset of Sponsored Research Technical jobs. The generic job descriptions in these job level guides capture a significant amount of the work performed by each role, but they do not capture every duty that someone might perform. The generic job descriptions in the job level guides can be modified to reflect more specific duties and responsibilities for a particular position in a DLCI.