By Perminus Wainaina
From a company perspective, a job title describes in a few words the position held by you.
Did you know that a job title can make or break your career especially if you are job searching?
Think About These Common Titles.
- C.EO or M.D: If someone has such a title, it means that they are heading an organisation; it means position of responsibility at the highest level.
- Manager: The title of a manager refers to a section head. Someone who has a team working below them. It could also mean someone who has other responsibilities such as budgetary control and interaction with contacts outside the company.
- Supervisor: What’s the difference between a supervisor and a manager? According to Berkey.edu, Managers have a significant, external focus (to the world outside the unit), whereas a supervisor has a more internal focused responsibility for implementing the manager’s decisions through the work of subordinate employees.
- The way you title is worded tells a whole lot about your experience, level of expertise and responsibilities. Compare finance manager with chief financial controller, marketing manager with group marketing manager etc.
Job Title Shortcomings:
Now that you know job titles carry a lot of meaning and that others will perceive you based on your title I want to share with you some of the common mistakes I see with job titles and how they can do a great disservice to you especially if you are looking to change jobs or advance in your career.
- Job titles that do not match your responsibilities. Say your title is senior accountant and yet you perform the roles of a finance manager or you are the finance manager. So long as you have the title of a senior accountant on your CV, few employers will regard you as a finance manager material and most likely will not consider you for a finance manager role. Does your title match your responsibilities?
- Titles unique to your organisation but not widely used out there. I know of a customer service manager who had a title of customer delight specialist. The first thing I recommended when she come for career coaching was for her to request the company to change her title. Internally her title made sense but out there no one knows or cares about such a title as customer delight specialist. You are better off with a title that others can easily recognize.
- Your title is executive this or that and yet you are looking for a senior role. This is closely related to point one above. If you are a sales executive, brand executive, marketing executive etc and yet you have many years of experience, employers will mostly ignore you when it comes to senior or managerial role regardless of your current duties. Reason? We normally associate such titles with entry-level roles.
There you have it. Re-examine whether your current title is working for or against you.
It is all part of your personal branding.
Remember others will judge you on first impression. Job titles matter alot.
Perminus Wainaina is the C.E.O and Managing Partner at Corporate Staffing Services, a leading HR consultancy and recruitment firm based in Westlands. He has wide experience in coaching, leadership development, recruitment, and HR consultancy.