Wednesday, 17 August 2011

What's in a job title?

In line with developments in our industry, my role at work is going to change somewhat and in turn so is my job title. Unlike previous experiences, the company I now work for does give us input and has asked our opinions on what we think we should be called. And now the time has come to vote and decide which of the three shortlisted options we should move forward with.

For some reason I am finding this quite a difficult task – there are only three choices, but it got me thinking what sort of judgements do people make, just how important are job titles?

To me the work you do, the skills you have and how you prove yourself is more important than the title assigned to your job. However, we all know in reality that when scanning a CV employers will consider the job titles listed and when you’ve had a naff sounding name for your role you won’t be so quick to tell your friends and family about it.

We all know people do deem job titles important and do judge, hence modern day updates to more traditional roles and the importance of ensuring said titles are politically correct.

I can remember friends teasing me for one previous role I had, entitled Desk Head – not the most glamorous sounding of names. If people asked me what I did I tended to revert to describing my responsibilities and tried to avoid mentioning my actual job title. In reality it involved being in charge of a team of journalists and managing them, ensuring all online content and articles were delivered to brief and on time, and much more. Not exactly positively reflected in the label assigned to it.

On the flip side are people who have glamorous sounding job titles, which suggest a higher level of expertise than is the case. Throughout my working life I have on more than one occasion been amazed at the lack of knowledge so-called industry ‘experts’ have had. This elaborate naming can be seen on the likes of sites such as LinkedIn, I know in my previous role some people listed their titles in a fancier way to improve their profiles. However, this was picked up on by other departments who advised them if they were going to claim to be something then they better ensure their skills matched up to it.

How do you know the best way to label a job, how do you ensure it encompasses most, if not all, of the tasks you carry out on a daily basis. How will your clients view them? Will the name reassure them they are dealing with experts and an experienced, professional company? Or instead could it make them concerned you’re trying to blag about knowing more than you actually do?

I’ve found I prefer two of the three options so I managed to get the list down to two. To aid my decision making I also decided to enlist the help of some of my Facebook friends and see what title seemed best to them. I’ve got friends across various industries and contacts working in the same sort of area as me so I thought this could help me get some balanced opinions. I obviously kept it a rather general status update though as I didn’t want to start revealing things about the company, so perhaps it wasn’t ideal as people didn’t quite have the context in which to judge them by. Hence, I have so far ended up with near enough a 50/50 quota, with people split pretty much equally for each title.

Interestingly, people who I feel have closer ties to my industry have tended to opt for references to communication. Whilst those who are more creative, or are not really linked to what I do have preferred a media reference. I can see good points for both job titles and so it seems so too can my Facebook friends.

Oh well, I am going to just make myself decide one way or another tomorrow and one good thing that has come out of this debate so far is the fact that voting has given me something to blog about. After all I have been rather quite of late. Not to worry though, after getting a bit wound up by a so-called ‘friend’ recently and just witnessing some extremely irritating young layabouts on one of my typical trashy TV delights I am feeling quite inspired for ideas.

No comments:

Post a Comment