Creating a Good Job Description

When composing a job description for a personal assistant, keep the differences between licensed and unlicensed assistants in mind. Depending on the licensing status, your assistant might be legally prohibited from carrying out certain tasks. Unlike a licensed assistant, an unlicensed might not be allowed to hold open houses, show property, or answer consumers’ questions during a call about a property, other than what’s covered in an ad or MLS listing sheet. Check your state licensing law for lists of activities that require a license.

In general, whether they’re licensed or unlicensed, assistants should demonstrate adaptability — an essential quality, says Kristina Garcia of RE/MAX Realty Executives in Kissimmee, Fla. Among other skills, personal assistants should be able to handle stress and deal well with a fast-paced environment to keep up with the demands of the real estate profession.

“Most importantly, they should be able to support salespeople, to anticipate their needs, and always be a step ahead,” Garcia says. Remember, the personal assistant’s role is to free salespeople to focus on what they do well: selling. “Ideally, you want a really professional person, a go-getter with high-energy and an ability to multitask.”

The main objective of any job description is to clearly define the job’s responsibilities, providing the employer and employee with a mutually agreed-upon guideline of what the job entails.

There's not just one correct way to write a job description. But there are some general rules you’ll want to follow. Remember, before writing the description, check with your state real estate commission to see what assistants might be legally prohibited from carrying out certain tasks, depending on their licensing status.

Step 1. List the position’s primary functions and responsibilities.

Each sentence of the job description should consist of three parts. Lead off each sentence with an action verb, such as "organize," "plan," or "schedule." Next, follow with a short description of who or what this action applies to. Finally, conclude by stating why or how it is being done. For example:

verb | who or what | why or how

Perform | routine office duties related to personal marketing | to ensure that personal promotion activities are carried out in a correct and timely manner.

Maintain | routine contact with graphic designers, printers, and other venders | to ensure that deadlines are met.

Step 2. Provide examples of specific duties for each task.

Divide these examples into two categories: responsibilities that assistants can carry out independently and those that are subject to your approval. This step fleshes out the list of functions created in the first step. For example:

Task: Perform office duties related to personal marketing.
Independent: Update mailing lists.
Seek approval: Schedule for performing mailings.

Task: Maintain contact with graphic designers.
Independent: Send payment upon project’s completion.
Seek approval: Final authorization on brochure design.

Step 3. Estimate how much time each task will require.

Specify how much time the various tasks will take as a percentage of the position’s total workload. Also indicate how frequently each task must be carried out — for instance, daily, weekly, or quarterly. The total percentage should equal 100 percent. For example:

1. Perform routine office duties related to personal marketing to ensure that personal promotion activities are carried out in a correct and timely manner.

a. Independent: Update mailing lists
b. Seek approval: Coordinate mailing schedule for brochures
c. Frequency: Biweekly
d. Percentage of Annual Time: 15 percent

2. Maintain routine contact with graphic designers, printers, and other venders to ensure that deadlines are met.

a. Independent: Send payment upon project’s completion
b. Seek approval: Final authorization on brochure design
c. Frequency: Monthly
d. Percentage of Annual Time: 5 percent

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