How to Write a GS Position Description

Before posting a job, know the sections required in a GS position description.
Before posting a job, know the sections required in a GS position description. (Image: ICHIRO/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The U.S. government employs approximately two million people, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook. The government classifies 81 percent of federal jobs as general service (GS), which require some form of formal education. Certain items must be included in a GS position description, to ensure fairness in the hiring process. A well-written GS job description gives the employer legal protection, and allows for fairness and clarity in the hiring process.

Determine the classification for the position. According to the US Office of Personnel Management, jobs that require specialized knowledge--such as secretaries, engineers and nurses--are classified as GS. Manual labor or trade positions fall under wage grade (WG) and are subject to overtime compensation.

List the major duties of the position, the position's location, whether it's a supervisory role and the equal opportunity statement. The OPM still allows the narrative version for GS job descriptions, but it's being phased out in favor of the factor format.

List skills needed for the GS position. Do not state the educational achievements, certificate or licensure needed for the position. List measurable skills, such as being able to type 30 words a minute or knowledge of Microsoft Office.

List the physical demands of the GS position. Office personnel usually spend long hours at a desk using a computer, while a science technician may have to lift heavy objects and work in all sorts of weather. These must be stated so the applicant knows if he can perform the duties.

Determine if the GS position is a supervisory role. If the employee is a supervisor, list who she is supervising and other responsibilities of that role.

Have the immediate supervisor read and sign the position description, certifying its accuracy.

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