I cannot overstate the importance of written job descriptions. They are necessary to set clear expectations for both you and a company considering hiring you. Believe it or not, sometimes taking the initiative to write your own job description can lead to an offer.
A woman once came to me because she had an opportunity she wasn’t sure if she wanted to pursue. She had just retired from a large healthcare system as an expert in eating disorders such as anorexia. She was well-known and respected in her field.
At a conference in Denver, she met people from a nonprofit who wanted to hire her on the spot as one of their top executives. She was interested, but lived in San Francisco, so they agreed to talk another time.
THE JOB DESCRIPTION
We discussed what her role could be in this newly created executive position. I helped her write a job description based on how she could best contribute to the organization. Part of it was a statement about the role itself, and part was a description of job duties. We put a lot of thought into this as it was an opportunity to create the job she always wanted!
She sent them her proposed job description. Would it be a good match between what they needed and what she could provide?
She ended up receiving an offer, but it was not enough money to make her relocate and come out of retirement. It was possible that they couldn’t afford her, or maybe she just had a different idea about how she could be of value to them. She declined, but they agreed to stay in touch.
The moral of the story is that she didn’t wait around for them to act. Someone had to put together an actual job description for the offer, so it might as well be her. She took the initiative to come up with something that would really play to her strengths. Yes, she was disappointed that it didn’t turn into an offer she could accept. But just the process of putting everything together helped her recognize and define her own value within her field.