How Important is Your Job Title, Really?

Author: Biron Clark
Source: Career Sidekick

Are job titles important? The answer might surprise you.

The perception of job titles is that they’re extremely important. I’ve seen people get their dream job offer in terms of salary, but they were unhappy because the title wasn’t what they wanted.

A job title doesn’t put food on the table though, does it? That’s why if you’re job searching or negotiating for a new role, there are 2 things that are MUCH more important than job title.

I’ll explain everything in the information below. We’ll also talk about why job titles are still somewhat important… just not nearly as important as most people think.

Why Are Job Titles Important?

Job titles are important because they allow members of your organization to know the type of work you do and the level of experience you have. They also allow people from other organizations to better understand what your role involves, whether you’re talking to a recruiter, a hiring manager, or someone else.

However, how important are job titles? They’re not nearly as important as you may think.

Why Job Titles Aren’t as Important as You Think

The truth about the importance of job titles is: The power of a job title is greatly overblown.

As a recruiter, I’ve seen a lot of people get completely caught up with the job title in their job search. They were a Manager, so now they want to be Senior Manager. Or they want to have the word “consultant” in their title, because that’s what they had in their last job.

The reality is – the work you’re doing and the pay you’re receiving matters much more.

A job title doesn’t put food on the table or put money in your bank account. 

And if a company gives you an odd-sounding job title, you can easily put a more fitting title on your resume and LinkedIn profile.

For example, if a company hires you as a “Customer Happiness Specialist” and you want future employers to know what you do, you could list it like this on your LinkedIn and resume:

Customer Happiness Specialist (Customer Service Representative)

Now you’re showing what you do AND adding a great keyword (“customer service representative”) to get found more on LinkedIn, and to get past automated job application systems with your resume.

Also…

Job Titles Vary From Company to Company

Job titles just vary so much between companies. You might find a Director job paying $80,000, and then a Manager job paying $100,000.

Which job should you take? The $100,000 job with the “worse” title, because title isn’t nearly as important as pay.

That $100,000 job is likely to be more advanced and more challenging.

And if you have any concern about communicating to future employers what level you were at, just mention the pay!

Imagine a year down the road, the interviewer asks, “Why do you feel you’re ready for the Senior Director role you applied for? I see you’ve been at the Manager level for the past year.”

You’d respond and say:

“Great question. I’ve found that my current employer has job titles that aren’t as inflated as the overall market, however, my role here is equivalent to a Director role in most other firms. When I took this role, the starting pay was $100,000, while I saw some Director jobs paying $80,000-$90,000 in this same industry. My responsibilities are also on-par with Directors in other firms. I’ve been managing a team of 12, including hiring, firing, and performance reviews.”

The 2 Things More Important Than Job Title

At the beginning of this article, I mentioned there are two key factors that are more important to get than job title… whether you’re negotiating to improve things in your current job, or looking for your next job.

Here they are:

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