Job titles can often become a very controversial subject for many people. In reality, the most important aspect of your job should be what you actually do. Your job title should not really matter as long as your responsibilities are aligned with your goals. In reality, however, the truth seems to be that job titles are very important.They designate pride and self-respect as well as respect amongst your peers and your network.
In the world we live in, where employers’ loyalty to the employee is fairly low, your job title and the trend through which you progress at your company or through other jobs you might take, is very important and paints a sound picture of your personal brand.
Back in the day when employees would get a job and stay there for 30 years, one could argue that job titles were not as important.
However, in today’s world your job title is very important because it is just not typical anymore to be with one company for your entire career. When you are looking to further your career in different companies it is extremely beneficial to show that you progressed throughout the years and your history of job titles plays a very important role in this.
In addition, with very low employer loyalty, many people are going out on their own to do their own thing. Is it helpful for you to be able to say you were a manager or director (or higher) in your last job when trying to establish credibility as new provider of products or services? Absolutely.
What Kind of Problems Can Arise From Your Job Title?
Admittedly, when I look at prospective employees job history, I get concerned when I see that someone was a manager or above at one time and no longer is – unless I notice that there was a career change somewhere in their path.
I also get concerned when I see a long history of the same job title. I have seen candidates with 10+ years of work experience with the same or similar job title and I can’t help but wonder, “how come this person has been doing this type of job for so long and was never promoted?”
I would advise that (prospective) employees should raise the issue about a job title if they are offered a position with a seemingly lower ranked job title or if your current responsibilities warrant you having a higher-level job title.
But, Do Not Get Ahead of Yourself!
I can’t stress this issue enough: it is very important, for your future career path, that your job title be in line with your job responsibilities.
More and more, I see people with impressive higher-level job titles but their job responsibilities do not match that title at all.
Some companies are highly structured with their job description and job title processes, but others are not and even create titles as they go along. I know of several companies where almost everyone is a Vice President!
If I am looking for a Customer Service Manager with the requirement that you have management experience, I would expect that the candidates who apply have experience managing people.
Surprisingly enough, there are Customer Service Representatives out there with the title “Customer Service Manager” who do not manage people, they manage their customers. But because they have the same title, they apply for a job, which is responsible for managing a department of Customer Service Representatives.
A lot of the blame for this problem lies with the company as many do not not have a structured job title/description system.
As exciting as it is, to get promoted to a higher level job title, here is where the problem lies: If you leave that company or get laid off, you now have a high level job title but you are not qualified to do that job in most companies. Therefore, it will be very difficult for you to find a job with that same job title.
Subsequently, you will have to apply for jobs with lower level job titles. The hiring managers will see your resume and wonder why you are applying for a lower level job when you “appear” to have done higher level work. This is a less than ideal scenario for you.
The best advice I can give you is to try to take an active role in what your job title is if you don’t feel it matches your job responsibilities. This is all part of creating your personal brand.
The website, Salary.com gives typical descriptions and salaries for most job titles which are “fairly” standard across industries. Look up your job title or a job title you want or are being offered and see what it says. Does it match what you do?
If your job title is lower than what you do (or will be doing) talk about it with the manager. If your job title is higher than what you do, talk to your manager and ask to be trained in the additional responsibilities. The best thing you can do, if that is your situation, is to try to work up to that job title within your current job.
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Jessica Simko is a seasoned senior level Human Resources professional with over 15 years of experience in all facets of Human Resources Management. She is a Freelance Writer and Entrepreneur specializing in career/ life coaching, social media and personal branding. Striving to help people connect their passions with their jobs and life, she offers great career, personal branding, and life tips on her new blog, Work and Life Solutions. Feel free to connect with her on: