By: Pranav Ramesh

How To Write An Effective Skill-Based Job Description

It’s no news that the job market has changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Remote work, the emergence of new tech, and the growing demand for skilled workers have forced employers to rethink their hiring strategies. Degree-based role descriptions no longer bring in the best candidates, skill-based job descriptions do. 

With LinkedIn seeing a more than 21% increase in skills-based job descriptions only in the past year, it is vital for hiring managers to adapt to the change if they wish to remain competitive and attract the right talent.  

How do skill-based job descriptions work?  

Traditional job postings were centered on selecting qualified candidates who have followed a specific path in their careers.  

Attending a high-ranking college or graduating cum-laude used to be a proxy for estimating someone’s skills.  

However, hiring managers have noticed that developing essential skills is not the natural consequence of obtaining a university diploma. As a result, they’ve decided to shift the focus and look to hire beyond degrees. 

Let’s have a look at the differences by going through two job description examples: 


Skill-based job descriptions expand the talent pool by looking to pick out certain practical knowledge and abilities, regardless of how they were developed.  

To better illustrate the point, here’s a skill-based job description we mocked up for a talent acquisition specialist.  

“The candidate should meet the following requirements: 

  • Strong knowledge of recruitment practices, 
  • Is a team player and knows how to prioritize the team’s goals over their own, 
  • Demonstrated ability of critical thinking etc.”



Were a job description for the same role to be given an education focus it would look something like this:

“Looking for a candidate that has: 

  • A Bachelor’s degree in a business or psychology-related field, 
  • At least two years of experience working in a human resources department, 
  • At least one year of experience managing a team etc.” 

Hiring based on degrees focuses on selecting candidates that meet a very detailed list of requirements both in terms of diplomas and years of experience. This restricts the talent pool and introduces unintentional biases. 

What Are Some Examples Of Skill-Based Jobs? 

If you are wondering whether every job is suited for a skill-based description, the answer would be no. For example, all the jobs in the medical field require skills that can only be developed by completing a higher education level. 

Most jobs, however, can be perfectly paired with a skill-based job specification. Examples of these types of jobs include content writers, social media specialists, programmers, graphic designers, business managers, and so on. 

5 Steps for Writing a Skill-Based Job Description  

Do Your Research  

Before you put pen to paper, you need to find out what you are looking for. What is the position that needs to be filled and who is the ideal candidate for it? 

Go through the essential job duties, day-to-day processes, and all the procedures needed to successfully carry out the tasks. Take a step further in your research and talk with other employees working in that position to find out their opinion regarding the skills a candidate applying for that role should have. 

By the end of this process, you should have a good understanding of the main job responsibilities the job implies. 

Establish Your Non-Negotiables 

Building the ideal candidate persona is a crucial step in writing a great role description. You must also acknowledge that some job seekers may not even come close to that. So you need to draw the bottom line — what requirements are you not willing to let go of? 

The simplest way to find the answer is by categorizing the competencies you are looking for, into required and preferred. The required ones will be the non-negotiables — the minimum knowledge and essential functions needed to perform the job specifications from day one.  

Lower The Barriers 

In a tech-savvy world where continuous innovation has become the norm, following a set career path simply cannot happen anymore. Many people change industries and learn to master certain abilities by taking online courses or through different ways than obtaining a university degree. 

And many employers are using this as an incentive to lower the barriers and open the job market to those who don’t have a university diploma. For example, IBM has a degree requirement in only 29% of their IT job postings. 

So not including a degree as a required competency might bring you the talent you’ve been searching for. 

Write A Great Job Description 

By the time you reach this step, you should have gathered all the necessary information for writing a detailed job description. So this next step is about piecing all the details together and building a flow that will attract the right candidates. 

Let the job seeker get to know you as well — begin by stating the job title, the purpose of the role, and how it fits within the organization. 

Go from general to specific and offer more details. Job seekers need to see the vision behind the role description. Then move on to the job duties and list them going from required competencies to preferred skills.  

Make sure to emphasize that you are looking for talent beyond degrees! 

Finally, level up! 

Writing the perfect skill-based job description and finding the right candidates is a lengthy process. Going from conducting research for the job summary to getting to create the job post can take all of your energy.  

So let us step in and help you transform your recruiting strategy with Gabi, an AI-powered engine. Contact us here and take your job descriptions to the next level.