What is a Job Description?

What do job descriptions for high schoolers typically include?

It’s time to look for a job. You go to Google or a job board or a company’s website to see if they have any openings. But how can you tell if a position is right for you? Here’s a breakdown of the useful information typically included in a job description:

Job title

This is the name of the position the employer is hiring for. Sometimes, the titles are general (e.g., tutor, delivery driver). But sometimes titles can give you a clue about the hours you’d be expected to work and the level of responsibility (e.g., full-timefull SAT tutor, weekend delivery driver). For high schoolers, it’s possible that job descriptions will contain words like “part time,” “assistant,” or “entry level,” so be on the lookout! Also be aware that some companies have moved away from traditional job titles in favor of more fun and creative names (e.g., sales ninja, design unicorn). If you come across one of these, you’ll need to rely on the rest of the description to see what the job is really all about and if it would be right for you. 

About us

This is the section in which the company provides information about itself. The information can include topics such as its history, culture (i.e., what it’s like to work there), and a description of the department or team that this job would be with. You can get an overview here, but it probably won’t learn specifics about the job.

Job description

Here you’re given details about the job itself. You’re told what will be expected of you in this role. You may get information about pay, growth potential, and what skills you can expect to learn or develop on the job. Read this section carefully. You want to make sure you’re comfortable with the responsibilities. For example, if one of the tasks includes lifting heavy boxes, and you don’t want a job that is physically demanding, that’s a clue that this may not be a good fit. You don’t need to be 100% confident you can perform all the skills described. You do need to believe these are skills you’re interested in and could learn.

Candidate description

Here the company highlights the qualities they’d hope for in their ideal candidate. This section includes education and work experience requirements. Requirements are useful because they indicate the level of a job and whether it would be a good match for you. For example, if the position requires a college degree and five years of work experience, it’s likely not the right job for a high school student. Look for qualifications that match your age and experience (e.g., must be 15 or older, must have taken high school biology, must have at least one year of work experience in food service). In addition, many companies include personality traits that they want in employee (e.g., self-motivated, comfortable working with customers, good at meeting deadlines.) Take some time to think about whether these traits describe you and your work style.

Breaking Down a Real Job Posting 

This may appear a bit abstract. Let’s examine an actual job posting. Imagine you want to apply for an internship, and you want to work at College Board. You go to their website, browse the openings, and find this posting:

Jump To: Job Title   About Us   Job Description   Candidate Description


What does this mean for you?

This is the job title. It includes the word “intern,” which indicates an entry-level position. “Intern” can mean this is a job geared toward students or recent graduates. It also tells you which department you’d be working in.


The Strategy Team at College Board tackles some of the organization’s most interesting and challenging problems.

Former members of this team have gone on to leadership roles at mission-driven organizations, like Guild Education and the Gates Foundation, and to high-impact roles within College Board. Others have pursued advanced degrees in business and other fields.

What does this mean for you?

This is the “about us” section. It provides detailed background information on this specific program. It also tells you what you might gain from this job based on where past interns work now.


As an intern, you’ll work closely with strategy team members to support projects. 
You’ll assist a team that: 

  • Works on all stages of the problem-solving process.
  • Defines problems. 
  • Formulates and tests hypotheses. 
  • Conducts market research. 
  • Develops and communicates recommendations. 
  • Presents results. 

What does this mean for you?

This is the “job description” section. It tells you who you’d be working for. It lists specific tasks and responsibilities to give you a sense of what your day-to-day work would include.


To qualify for this job, you should have:

  • A minimum of 2 years of professional experience, ideally with low-income communities.  
  • A high school degree (preferred).
  • An interest in problem-solving and strategy, (though formal training not necessary).
  • Strong writing skills.
  • Interest in building relationships across lines of difference.   
  • Resourcefulness, intellectual curiosity, and empathy.

What does this mean for you?

This is the “candidate description” section. It mentions “high school degree preferred,” which lets you know that many applicants will be high school graduates, but this isn’t a requirement.  It specifies the number of years of work experience required and describes the preferred field. It lists skills and abilities that will help you be successful in this position.