What's in a Job Title?

  • February 07, 2022
What's in a Job Title?

Today, with LinkedIn being the main way you’ll get checked out online for work, you totally need the right title to fit your job description. We recruiters base our searches on key words and job titles to find the right candidates. 

But, therein lies the problem, job titles can differ from one company to another. The responsibilities and pecking order of an Associate Director in one firm may be more Director in another. It’s tricky. 

You want to progress your career and boost your commercial status, but turn your nose up at a bigger salary and new league of responsibility, simply because that step up, doesn’t have the right title attached. 

“It would be a side step.” 
“Wouldn’t look good on my CV.”
“Why move there to do the same job I’m doing here when I know I’m safe here?” 

I could go on but you know what you say when a new opportunity is presented and you’re not sure. Industry wise, it would be ideal if there was some level of consistency - it works in bringing new talent in and as well as keeping it. 

Job titles often vary from department to department let alone company to company. A clear description of the seniority ladder on the company website helps a bit, it’s far from ideal but at least it’s transparent and explains what career paths are open if you wanted to join. 

I can’t remember which one I read last year, but there are dozens of studies that categorically show employees who are given the ability to choose their titles which reflect what they do can, increases productivity and creates a less stressed office.   

I’ve also read (and forgotten which ones) other studies which contradict that, saying titles should reflect the positions within the company and salaries expected. It’s not just external. Problems arise internally when retained staff want to move up the chain of command; to keep them motivated and loyal, you’ll often see new positions created or new titles given. Upside for the individual concerned, downside for the rest of us trying to work it all out. 

When staff compete against each other, and fight for bigger and better titles, as well as all that goes with them, you get a very unpleasant office vibe. And, because of that, it can create mass exodus – the very opposite to what was trying to be achieved! 

So now we’ve established there is no global solution. It’s kind of up to you, the job hunter. Here’s some advice …

Keep your eyes wide open.

Yes, titles can differ from company to company but, if there is actual career progression and a financial win on the table, then you should seriously consider it. 
There are two camps of people: the “title is everything” folks, and the “job is everything” folks. Which one are you? Keep an open mind, it is always worth exploring these new avenues of possibility because one of them may just be the one that is a perfect fit for you and projects your career forward exponentially.

Enjoy the ride.