Job descriptions are used for many purposes, including recruiting potential student candidates, determining appropriate wage rates and ranges, establishing job titles, creating an employee’s position goals and objectives, and serving as the basis for an employee’s performance review (Society for Human Resource Management, 2012). For students, a well-developed position description is also essential to establish expectations, integrate academics into a position, and showcase the position as a growth opportunity.
Perform a Job Analysis
To create a student employment position and description, it is first important to determine the necessary tasks and responsibilities by conducting a job analysis. It may be very clear what a department needs a student employee for, such as responding to visitors’ needs. Mapping out specifics, however, will help determine the work flow, required amount of hours per week, supervisory structure, and the skills needed from a candidate to perform the job. Many organizations have detailed forms and processes for performing a job analysis. For student employment positions, the following questions can serve as a foundation for thoroughly analyzing a position:
- In one to two sentences, what is the general purpose or essential function of the position?
- What are all of the tasks, projects, and responsibilities of the role?
- Of your full list of tasks, projects, and responsibilities, which ones are high-level priorities? Which ones are medium-level priorities?
- What are the two to three categories the tasks, projects, and responsibilities fall under?
- What percentage of the time will the student be working on each of the categories?
- What knowledge, skills, and abilities are required for a student to accomplish the responsibilities?
- What knowledge, skills, and abilities are preferred for a student to accomplish the responsibilities?
Click here for an article from the Society for Human Resource Management on conducting a job analysis.
O*Net OnLine is another valuable resource when developing job descriptions/positions to explore alternative job titles, required tasks, tools, technology, qualifications, and other discipline specific responsibilities which can be adapted for student roles.
Infuse Academic Relevance
Once you have answered the above questions about the position, tying that information to specific learning outcomes can not only help you refine the above information but also detail what knowledge, skills, and abilities employees in the role will develop. Using IUPUI’s Principles of Undergraduate Learning as a foundation for intended learning outcomes makes the process of infusing academic relevance a matter of mapping each principle (detailed below) to the specific categories of tasks, projects, and responsibilities.
- Core Communication and Quantitative Skills
- Critical Thinking
- Integration and Application of Knowledge
- Intellectual Depth, Breadth, and Adaptiveness
- Understanding Society and Culture
- Values and Ethics
An additional layer of information needed for integrating the Principles of Undergraduate Learning is detailing how the student will grow in each of the above areas (see Job Position Description Library below for full examples). For example, including the principle and a statement of “as learned by/through”:
Principle 1: Core Communication and Quantitative Skills
- Express ideas and facts to others effectively in a variety of formats, particularly written, oral, and visual formats
- Comprehend, interpret, and analyze ideas and facts
- Communicate effectively in a range of settings
- Identify and propose solutions for problems using quantitative tools and reasoning
- Make effective use of information resources and technology
As learned by/through:
- Developing written, oral, and visual deliverables and presentations
- Conducting quantitative and/or qualitative research
- Analyzing data and utilizing data to inform recommendations
- Communicating with a wide range of constituents in individual and group formats, including formal presentations and trainings
Use our learning outcome mapping document to connect the Principles of Undergraduate Learning to specific work tasks. The document also provides a foundation that can be used to evaluate student employee performance against the principles.
Develop the Description
The final step is to compile the work conducted in the job analysis and integration of academic relevance and learning outcomes into a position description. The IUPUI job description template for student hourly and work-study positions should be used to capture and save the information. The completed form will also be used in the hiring process and includes:
- Job Title that adequately captures the role (for example, “work-study student” is unacceptable, but “student marketing assistant” may be more appropriate).
- Work Schedule that provides either an anticipated amount of hours to be worked per week or specific day needs.
- Job Description that includes overall purpose of position and essential duties and responsibilities with an assigned percentage of time spent in each area.
- Brief Overview of Organization/Department that may include a link to your website.
- Qualifications including required and preferred education, experience, knowledge, skills, and ability areas.
The final document will be used as the basis for the next step in the process, which is turning the description into a job posting to attract candidates to apply.
Position Description Library
The below sample position descriptions, based on actual positions that IUPUI students are working in, can be used as examples for integrating academic relevance into positions. The IUPUI job description template for student hourly and work-study positions should be used to capture and save the information.
The Office of Student Employment staff is available to not only review draft student job descriptions to maximize the academic connection for student positions, but also provide you additional examples specific to your department needs. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to request assistance.