The phrase, individual contributor (IC), shows up often in job descriptions. So, what does IC mean?

Let’s define it, along with some examples of where (and why) you might use it in your JDs.

Individual Contributor Meaning  

We here at Ongig define individual contributor is…an employee who is only responsible for managing themselves.

An individual contributor might not have a team to manage, but they are most often in high-level professional roles.

…And they add value to a business’s current projects. Individual contributors work most effectively with support from a leadership team member.

4 Individual Contributor Characteristics

So, what does an individual contributor need to excel in a non-management role?

RD & Partners reviewed 360-degree performance data on over 300 individual contributors (for several years). The review found they share 4 key competencies:

  1. The ability to effectively plan & organize their work.

“They excel at identifying goals, developing plans, estimating time frames and monitoring their progress without much oversight by management.”

  1. Strong interpersonal communication.

“They are able to articulate their thoughts and ideas clearly, present information in a straightforward and logical way, and they ensure they are understood.”

  1. Effective at collaboration.

“They complete their own tasks for group projects in a timely and responsible manner and directly contribute to reaching the group goal.”

  1. The ability to deliver consistent results.

“They are dependable and responsible.”


Examples of Individual Contributor Roles

Individual contributor roles vary by job family, or industry. Here are a few examples from different sectors:

  • a software engineer at a tech company
  • a key salesperson in a sales team
  • an animator at a motion picture company
  • a statistician at a think tank
  • a content writer for an online publication

These roles are key to a company’s success, even though they aren’t management-level positions. And, many individual contributors prefer to manage themselves (and their work) instead of a team of people.


When to Mention an IC in a Job Description

Candidates who thrive in non-management roles might be more likely to apply if you use “individual contributor” language in your JDs. Here are 4 examples of where you might add “individual contributor” to your job descriptions:

  • In the job title — A job posting for a SI Practic Manager at Splunk uses “(Individual Contributor)” in the title.
  • In the job summary section — CrowdStreet uses the phrase “individual contributor role” in the job summary for their Copyeditor opening.
  • As a job level (or category) — A posting for Promotions Manager at Bergdorf Goodman lists the Job Level as “Individual Contributor.”
  • In a “required” section — has the phrase “strong individual contributor” in the “Minimum Requirements” section of their Customer Success Agent posting. (this is where I found “individual contributor” listed the most)

Note: If you need more ideas on what to include in your JDs, check out our post on How to Write a Job Description — Best Practices & Examples.


Why I wrote this:

At Ongig, we love sharing all things JD-related. Including common phrases you might find (or use) in your ads to attract top talent. Check out our Text Analyzer software if you’d like to see how Ongig can help you optimize your JDs and job titles.



  1. Top 4 Characteristics That Make Individual Contributors Indispensable (by Robert Denker)
  2. What are individual contributors? (by Ali Miles-Jenkins)
  3. What is an Individual Contributor (by the Indeed Editorial Team)

by in Job Descriptions