How To Describe Your Current Job Duties (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Nov. 9, 2020
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Job interviews can be nerve-wracking.

The impression you leave determines whether you get the job, so it’s essential to know how to answer common questions correctly.

One prompt seems deceptively simple: “Describe your current position.”

Before you just start listing your duties, it’s essential to understand why interviewers are always asking this question.

This article will provide:

  • Exactly what interviewers are asking with this question

  • How to give an answer that impresses and sends the right message

  • Tried and true example answers

Why Interviewers Ask About Your Current Job

Interviewers could simply read your job duties from your resume or, even easier, Google your job-description. So why do they bother asking you to describe your duties?

It’s not a trick question, but there are a few key things they want to hear. Learn what these are, and you’ll be at an advantage before you’ve stepped into the room.

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When recruiters ask you to describe your job duties, they really want to know:

  1. Whether you’ve lied on your resume. It’s easy for people to add jargon and fluff to a resume. This unravels when they’re asked to explain in conversation.

    Your first answer will also allow the interviewer to asking branching questions to test further if you know what you’re talking about.

  2. What actual value you can provide. Resumes tell interviewers your skills and tasks, but they want to hear about results.

    View this question as a chance to brag about accomplishments. Interviewers want to learn how you’ve used those listed skills to bring value to a company.

  3. Whether your skills transfer to their needs. This one seems obvious, but interviewees often list off impressive skills that the interviewer simply doesn’t care about.

    There’s a specific set of duties they’re looking to fill. You may be a skilled candidate, but you won’t get hired if those skills aren’t a close enough match.

    There are plenty of other reasons interviewers ask this question, like getting a glimpse into your personality. However, these are the main ones.

    In the next section, we’ll tell you how to give an answer that’ll impress and address these central concerns.

How to Answer “Describe Your Current Job Duties”

Now that you know what interviewers want to hear, the question remains on how to craft the best answer.

In general, don’t worry about convincing the interviewer that you were truthful on your resume. If you can address the other two main concerns with details and examples, it won’t be an issue.

As with many things in life, preparation is crucial. Consider the following principles when preparing an answer, and you’ll likely impress:

  1. Match your qualifications to the new job’s duties. Before you walk into the interview room, make sure you remember the key responsibilities from the job posting.

    When asked to describe your current duties, don’t simply list them off. Identify which are relevant to their needs and prioritize explaining those.

    Understanding how companies create job listings can give you insight into the major qualities they’re seeking.

    If the role lists excellent management skills as a requirement, then mention events you’ve planned or teams you’ve managed.

    If the job description mentions key technology skills, then focus on projects you’ve completed using them.

  2. Focus on how you create value for the company. When mentioning your skills or job responsibilities, always include how they’ve brought actual value to the company.

    For example, if you’re a software engineer, don’t say, “at my job, I write programs in Java and Python. Instead, say, “I leverage my extensive Java experience to develop solutions that increase efficiency, reduce costs, and fulfill business requirements for my company.

    Remember, don’t use your skills as a talking point by themselves, but rather a segue towards how they’ve created beneficial results.

  3. Be conversational rather than giving a list. The interviewer doesn’t want to hear a list of bullet points; they could read your resume for that.

    This doesn’t mean you should tell a winding story that wastes time, just to be conversational.

    You can do this by giving a quick example of challenges your company has faced and how you use your skills to bring them over the hurdle on a daily basis.

  4. Don’t be too granular in detail. Depending on the company, the interviewer may be a human-resources manager with only a basic understanding of the job title.

    Giving off a long list of your skills and duties will likely just confuse and distract from what they’re looking to hear.

    For example, suppose the job requires knowledge of specific software tools. Only list those tools specifically or ones you think may be related. Otherwise, your words pass as jargon through the interviewer’s ears.

    Note: It’s essential to understand if the company culture is a fit for you, but ask that question later. Don’t try to explain how you match their culture in your answer here.

Example Answers to “Describe Your Current Job Duties”

When reading through these examples, take note of how the main principles are used:

  • Focus on value

  • Match your duties to the job

  • Be conversational rather than making a list

  • Don’t be too granular in detail

Web Developer Example

Sample key skills in job listing:

  • Excellent troubleshooting skills

  • Improvement-oriented attitude

  • Ability to work well with others

“As a web developer, I maintain the company’s website to function properly for all users and clients.

Employees report to me with any issues on the website, and I use my programming skills to resolve them quickly.

I am continually analyzing user feedback and website performance to provide regular updates and upgrades.

I am also extremely communicative and easy to collaborate with. I work closely with our creative team to ensure my back-end design matches well with their front-end design.

Administrative Support Example

Sample key skills in job listing:

  • Strong office management skills

  • Excellent verbal communication skills in dealing with clients and assisting co-workers

  • Data-entry and ability to maintain detailed records

“As administrative support for the company’s VP, I efficiently organize their schedule so they can effectively steer the team.

I do this by maintaining detailed records, paying close attention to events they need to attend, and clearly communicating any time conflicts with them.

I also assist client and co-worker calls in a clear and friendly manner.

I saw that data entry was an important skill you’re looking for. I’m extremely experienced in Microsoft Excel and use my skills to create concise reports that summarize important metrics to my manager.”

Marketing Coordinator Example

Sample key skills in job listing:

  • Social media competency

  • Understands how to build brand awareness

  • Strong research skills to build targeted campaigns

“As a marketing coordinator, I’ve used my skills to build a strong online presence that has expanded brand awareness among the company’s target audience.

I did this by researching the trends and interests of our target audiences. I also studied marketing strategies from competing firms to refine our edge.

I then incorporated this into a social media advertising campaign that successfully reached the target audience and increased our conversion rates by 30% over four months.”

Sales Representative Example

Sample key skills in job listing:

  • Exceptional interpersonal skills

  • Highly self-motivated

  • Ability to meet and exceed sales quotas

“As a sales representative, I’ve used my interpersonal skills to drive high volumes of yearly sales for my company.

On a day-to-day basis, I communicate with clients in a friendly and conversational manner. I listen closely to their needs and use my knowledge of our products to steer them towards a correct purchase.

I’ve been able to exceed sales quotas by 20% consistently. I attribute this to my drive to work hard and continuously hone my skills.”

High School Teacher Example

Sample key skills in job listing:

  • Excellent communication skills and a friendly personality

  • Experience and knowledge in the subject area of the class

  • Able to connect with students, keep them engaged in learning, and personalize lessons

“As a teacher, I’ve used my passion and experience to create welcoming learning environments that kids really engage with.

My students have told me personally that they have tons of fun learning in my class. I’ve seen drastic improvements in test scores and class engagement since I first started.

I do this by taking the time to understand every student’s needs and making an effort to create fun assignments and learning materials.

In addition, I have a diploma in mathematics and several years of tutoring the subject.”

Construction Supervisor Example

Sample key skills in job listing:

  • Knowledge of all types of tools and the ability to operate machinery

  • Able to interact with subcontractors and customers with respect

  • Demonstratable skill in organizing a team

“As a construction supervisor, I oversee a team of six that operates in residential construction.

I listen closely to customers to understand their requirements and then communicate these effectively to my immediate team and our subcontractors.

I listen closely to any issues my team has and frequently operate all types of tools myself to help get the job done.

By efficiently scheduling and organizing my team according to their strengths and weakness, we have never missed a deadline and have always exceeded customer requirements.”

Notice how each major element of the job listing was incorporated conversationally in each of the above answers.

They did this through examples of actual results, which showed how they provided value.

For example, “ability to meet and exceed sales quotas” is answered by “I’ve been able to exceed sales quotas by 20%.”

Prepare Your Answers Ahead of Time

Interview preparation involves many other things, but now you know how to answer one of the most common and dreaded questions at least.

Your dream job may not have been listed above, but just keep in mind the four main principles and use our examples to guide you along. You’ll be sure to impress.

Prepare hard and good luck!

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Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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