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Work Performed Vs. Duties and Responsibilities

Work Performed Vs. Duties and Responsibilities

Work Performed Vs. Duties and Responsibilities

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You've probably seen the above terms on every job application, employment opportunity, and job search site you encountered during your job search efforts.

You may have even thought they meant the same thing at some point. Well, not exactly. We wouldn't blame you for thinking that. These two terms can be confusing to most applicants, especially first-time applicants.

There exists a relatively significant difference between these two terms, and understanding the difference will help you present an informative and easy-to-understand job application if you are a recruiter. For candidates, it will also make the application process a lot easier.

Let's break down some of the confusion!

What Does Work Performed Mean on a Job Application?

So, what exactly does this important and slightly vague term 'work performed' mean?

Work performed refers to a portfolio of work a candidate has worked on, completed, or taken part in at a previous position.

A portfolio of work performed is an individual's collection of works that reflect their skills, knowledge, experience, and accomplishments.

Employers often use portfolios to evaluate job applicants and may include examples of past projects, publications, awards, honors, certifications, or any other relevant information that demonstrates professional competence.

One of the first things an employer needs to consider is whether they want to hire someone who has experience working within the exact same industry or one that is similar or completely new. If they choose a new employee, then they will need to understand that the portfolio of work that is presented in an interview may differ slightly from what they expected.

For example, if a book editor was applying for a new position at a publishing house, their work performed would include a portfolio of published articles they have written, books they have edited and reviewed, or even written themselves, PR communication projects, and so on. The example below shows what this may look like.

However, if this same person above was somehow applying for a job at a news company or a content writing position, then their portfolio of work may still come in handy as they still possess the writing and editing skills needed for those particular jobs.

Work performed is a collection of the more important and interesting projects you as a candidate have worked on in the past.

The work performed section is where you will provide details about each project, including what you did, who else was involved, and what skills you developed.

This section is where you can also include links to any relevant websites or online resources used during a particular project. These could consist of blog posts, articles, videos, online presentations, and so on.

It is a valuable part of your employment history and is mainly used to show your prospective employer what you are capable of and where many of your interests may lie, as well as whether or not you meet the employment requirements for a particular position.

It also shows that you have already done similar work before and are familiar with the tools used, or you have learned how to work with different technologies and can pick up new ones quickly.

So, Where Do Duties and Responsibilities Come In?

Now that we have established a foundation for work performed, how does it differ from the duties and responsibilities listed on a job application?

Well, if work performed is a portfolio of completed projects and assignments, then duties and core responsibilities helped form the foundation for the skills you needed to possess to create that portfolio of work.

This includes the tasks you performed, how often you did them, who else in the company performed similar work, and any special training that you acquired for the position.

Job duties and responsibilities are all the activities you took part in that assisted in achieving and completing your projects and your tasks performed at work daily.

If we use the book editor example again, those duties and responsibilities would be: typing duties like editing articles/manuscripts, reviewing/formatting pieces of writing, communicating with PR departments or the author, and even clerical duties, as every role consists of admin.

How Can Recruiters Make The Difference Between These Two Terms Easier To Digest?

Regarding work performed on a job application, applicants can become confused by the term at first glance.

When job seekers are looking at a detailed job description, they will likely see that a recruiter wants to know about the duties they performed and responsibilities they had in a previous role. When 'work performed' and project expectations are thrown in the mix, it gets a little harder to make sense of at first.

Core responsibilities / essential responsibilities are also important as they provide a recruiter with a strong enough foundation and an idea of what a candidate took part in in a previous role, even if they haven't seen their portfolio of work yet.

But for the recruiters whose job applications do not clarify what they require from the candidate in terms of work performed or work duties/responsibilities, then there is a way an employment agency or company can make it simpler.

Provide More Context

If the application asks a potential candidate for work performed at a previous job, recruiters can provide a little more information about what they are looking for.

The recruiter should explain why this particular role is being advertised, which will help candidates understand whether it aligns with their skillset and their portfolio.

Even if it is a simple addition of 'portfolio of work' positioned next to the question, this will make life easier for applicants to navigate and provide the correct information.

This will help candidates understand what they should include in their portfolio and what kind of projects they should focus on.

Many applicants confuse work duties performed with their portfolio of work. Having a more precise question that is being asked helps clarify for the candidate what exactly is needed/wanted from them and makes their job search efforts worthwhile and less stressful!

Why Is Work Performed Important For Recruiters?

Recruiters have a tough job; they read hundreds, if not thousands, of physical or online job applications monthly.

They then spend hours reading through them, looking at each candidate's resume, and making notes on what they like and don't like.

The work performed category on an application helps recruiters separate the candidates they think will impact and contribute to the company positively from the ones who may not.

It also gives recruiters an idea of what previous employers and project managers entrusted to the candidate and whether or not the candidate met those aspirations.

It helps to gauge whether or not a candidate is at an acceptable level to perform the tasks needed in the new role and whether they can put to good use the wide variety of skills that may be needed in a particular role.

The most important thing to consider with work performed is whether the person has the right attitude and personality traits to fit into the team. This will help them to work well within the company culture and contribute positively to its success.

Work Ethic

A recruiter can look at a potential candidate's application and determine, based on the collection of work they have completed, whether or not they may have a steadfast work ethic or not.

One of the most common ways to determine if someone has a stable work ethic is by looking at their portfolio. If a person has worked on projects and business operations similar to those listed on their resume, they will likely continue working on them after being hired.

It helps to find candidates that stand out from the crowd and showcases a candidate's strengths and weaknesses regarding project completion and their approach to their work. **

**Work ethic is probably one of the most critical factors contributing to a candidate's success with their application. It determines a candidate's capability with discipline and responsibility for their tasks.

It also helps identify if a candidate can fit in with the company culture and if they would enjoy working on similar projects in their new role.

If a candidate can fit in with the company culture, this will lead to increased productivity within teams and with their particular tasks.

Employers want someone with the skillset they are looking for but also fits in with their team's personality.


A portfolio of work showcases a candidate's skills more indirectly based on the difficulty level or the number of projects they worked on. **

**Someone's skillset can often be seen best within the projects they have worked on, and the actual hours spent on such projects in practice, instead of a plain list of their skills.

Digital Portfolios provide a great way to show off your skills and experience. They allow you to demonstrate what you've done in the past, which will help you stand out from others who may not have had similar experiences.

It's important to keep them updated, so they reflect the most current version of yourself.

Employers who are looking to hire someone new know that it's essential to know what kind of work a candidate has done before. What projects did they work on? How well do they communicate? Do they have any experience working remotely? These are all things that are considered before making a decision.

Different types of jobs require a different skill set, and work performed lets recruiters see if a skillset is present in a potential candidate's work portfolio section in an application.


Experience is essential in meeting employment requirements. A portfolio of work can showcase a candidate's experience through working on different projects and the problematic duties that may have needed to be performed throughout each project.

Employment experience, whether vast or just starting out, can give recruiters an idea of the level of risk associated with a hiring decision and if they should choose to hire a particular candidate.

An entry-level position may not gather candidates with a large body of work. Still, a candidate may have gained a large amount of experience out of working on only one assignment/project, depending on the degree of skills and actual time needed for such work.

Recruiters usually understand that the work performed by an entry-level applicant will not be a large body of work. Still, anything that the applicant can provide will only help their chances of being considered and hired.

A senior position will require a candidate to have worked on many projects at different levels of complexity. The candidate should have demonstrated the ability to handle both simple and complex tasks and be able to manage several assignments simultaneously.

Why Is Work Performed Important For The Candidates?

Having a portfolio of work performed gives a candidate more confidence in their accomplishments.

Candidates may not always realize how many projects they have worked on or contributed to. Having a portfolio of all these projects can instill confidence in applicants and help them creatively showcase their skillset.

Candidates will also be more prepared to discuss the work they have done in the past with an interviewer as they have the documentation to prove it and help guide them within the interview process.

Candidates should also aim to make their portfolios diverse so that they are not pigeonholed into only one area of expertise. You want to show off what you know and demonstrate that you have succeeded in multiple areas.

Some candidates who have not worked before and are worried about not having anything to show a potential employer can still provide important information about their skills, even if their experience level is low or non-existent.

The best way to build this type of portfolio is by getting experience under your belt. Start volunteering at local non-profits or organizations that may align with your desired career path. That way, you can gain hands-on experience working with people who could benefit from your skillset.

Creating A Portfolio Of Work

Creating a portfolio of your work performed can be daunting at first, but you need to focus on where your strengths lie and how to showcase those strengths. A person's portfolio may differ from another person's, depending on their area of expertise and the best method of presenting their work.

You want to ensure that you have enough examples of what you're capable of doing. You have to make sure that you are not only good at what you do but also that you know how to market yourself.

You can build your portfolio of work in a variety of ways; one of the best ways is creating an online presence in the form of a presentation. This can be done with a variety of portfolio-creating tools and business tools out there. Having a table of contents within your portfolio will also help it look more professional and be easier to navigate.

You want to focus on bringing your personality into the portfolio while maintaining a level of professionalism. Your portfolio needs to reflect who you are and what makes you unique. Motion graphics and interactive slideshows are some great ideas for showcasing your work and talent and the different periods you worked on each task.

Another way to start building a portfolio is by creating a blog where you share your knowledge and expertise. This will help you build credibility and show recruiters that you're not just another job seeker who's looking for any opportunity.

Final Thoughts

It is important to differentiate between duties/responsibilities and work performed; even though both concepts can interlink, they do stand alone.

Employment services and companies need to ensure that the job application, whether an online application or a paper job application/s, provides clear differentiation between questions asked about duties/responsibilities and work performed.

This way, a compelling job description and a clear set of questions can attract applicants with the skills and portfolio of work to go along with the job title.

The best candidates will likely have experience working within a similar industry, but they should also demonstrate strong communication skills and a willingness to adapt to new situations. They must be able to manage their workload and prioritize tasks appropriately.

Your portfolio needs to reflect who you are and what makes you unique.


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