Top-Shelf Tip No. 143:

"There are few, if any, jobs in which ability alone is sufficient. Needed, also, are loyalty, sincerity, enthusiasm and team play."

William B. Given, Jr.

Why Job Titles Do Matter

A recruiter recently reached out to me on LinkedIn to discuss a job opportunity. I wasn't looking for a job, but this particular job had all the elements of a perfect role for me. It was right up my alley, except for one detail ... the job title was "manager" and my current title is "director." I politely declined the recruiter and explained that I wasn't looking to take a step down. He responded that a "manager" at the hiring company is equivalent to a "director" at most other companies.

When companies say that, my first response is, "Well, what happens when I'm ready to leave your company and the next company that I want to work for has a different view of "manager" vs "director" responsibilities?

While it would make the working world much simpler, there is no guidebook or equivalency scale for job titles and job roles across industries and across organizations. This leads to the question, "Should you even care about job titles at all?"

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share these insights from Chris Alvino of the Career Conservatory, who says, "If it's not important then why won't you give me the job title I'm requesting?"

While many organizations remain constant, job responsibilities have not. From consolidation to growth to new technology development, people's roles have evolved and changed drastically. Shouldn't your title evolve with the skills you acquire?

Alvino points out that your job title is the second thing someone will notice about you after your name. It's usually the second item listed on business cards, resumes, and online profiles.

Your image is your personal brand, and that includes your job title. If you are responsible for marketing your own skill sets that you've acquired, then you should care to make sure your job title reflects who you are and what you want to be. If not, says Alvino, it's a disservice to your personal brand. When you take control of your job titles you're taking control of your brand and how it's perceived. It's a way of empowering yourself and your future.

When people say that job titles don't matter, it's usually from an internal perspective within the organization. As we all know, in some companies, a sense of authority and privilege comes with some job titles, especially companies with top-heavy, rigid hierarchies of structure. This does not allow for empowerment, and it can be a push-down mentality. This can create politics and power struggles.

As Alvino points out, many of these companies also have strict salary guidelines based on job title. When a thing as simple as a job title prevents you from getting the raises and benefits you deserve, then it becomes even more important.

The power of a job title is the power it leaves on your resume, and the power you get from it during interviews with other employers. If your current job title is impressive, without even saying a word you've become impressive in the mind of this hiring manager. And if your job title is non-descript, well then you could go unnoticed.

Give your employees the opportunity to have job titles that reflect how they contribute to the organization. This will empower them and help to elevate your company at the same time.

This could be more difficult than it sounds, especially in a large organization where you have multiple jobs and job levels.

Alvino uses the example of the online retailer, Zappos. This company has a flat hierarchy and so, internally, it doesn't make sense to have normal job titles. This is great for Zappos and for its employees, as many of them feel more empowered in a completely flat hierarchy.

How then, do they communicate what they do to the outside world? Zappos solved this by giving employees external job titles that are on business cards and can be put on resumes. These job titles reflect the roles and responsibilities of what the employee does in a way others can understand.

So, stick to your guns and fight for that title. Job titles do matter.

Source: Chris Alvino is the author of the blog The Career Conservatory. He has completely deconstructed the hiring process from the bottom up. Whether you're a freshly graduated college student looking for a job or a hiring manager who just can't seem to hire and keep the right candidate, Alvino can help you discover the path to true happiness in your career.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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