Doyle (2019) refers to a job title as a term that describes in a few words or less the position held by an employee. Depending on the job, a job title can describe the level of the position or the responsibilities of the person holding the position. When you are job searching, you can search for particular job titles based on the qualities you are looking for.
Job titles are important because they have massive social implications (Bushnell, 2020). Some employees might accept a job that pays a little less but has a more impressive title. Inflated job titles designed to reward loyal employees may become problematic when the business grows and it is time to bring staff on board who fit those titles. Creative job titles are fun but may cause confusion in terms of seniority, and they may also make it more difficult for employees when applying for jobs at other companies.
Job titles come in different forms. A job title can describe the responsibilities of the position, the level of the job, or both. For example, job titles that include the terms “executive,” “manager,” “director,” “chief,” “supervisor,” to mention a few, are typically used for management jobs. Other job titles reflect what the person does on the job for example, “chef,” “accountant,” “housekeeper,” “social media specialist,” “programmer,” “guest services coordinator,” “mechanic,” to mention a few. Whilst some job titles reveal both the job level and the job responsibilities, such as “head chef,” “lead accountant,” “electrical superintendent,” “marketing manager,” and others like that.
Employers use job titles to categorize positions in their organizations. A company's organization chart will show all the positions in the company, listed by job title, the reporting structure, and company management. Some of these job titles are as follows: Progressive Job Titles: Large organizations typically have a formal set of job titles for each set of positions with a clear progression, such as “assistant,” “junior,” “lead,” “associate,” “manager,” and “senior.” A small business or startup may have a more flexible list of job titles, with only one or two people in each role (Doyle,2019).
Compensation Management: Employers also use job titles as part of their compensation management system. Certain job titles can be tied to pay grades. There may be a salary range for new employees coming on board, and for what current employees can expect to earn in a specific position. Career Paths: Job titles are also used to determine a career path at a company, both by employees eligible for promotion and by employers who are evaluating candidates for employment. There is typically a stepped progression from entry-level positions for new hires to senior staff or management roles for employees who have progressed with the company. When employers post jobs, the job posting will include a job title. That makes it easy for the company to track candidates, and for applicants to apply for relevant positions.
When job hunting, one can search using their current job title or the title of the jobs they are interested in as keywords. Using keywords to job search will help refine your search to quickly find jobs that are a match. One can use job titles to narrow down jobs they are interested in based on responsibilities and/or job level.
The best job titles are those created through a defined process so there is a level of consistency that can be scaled with ease. If uncertain about how to title a job, it may be beneficial for employers to start with the job description instead. Outlining the tasks that they expect the employee to perform (and the types of tools they will be required to use) first may give employers greater clarity on the scope of the job (Bushnell, 2020).
Additionally, employers can use their written job descriptions to work backward toward a job title. By searching the types of job titles they think apply to their open position and comparing the descriptions posted to their own, they can inch closer to finding the ideal job title for the role they are trying to fill. It is best, however, to only compare job descriptions to those posted by established, reputable companies, not an unknown startup.
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Bushnell (2020) emphasizes that this method can also help determine the years of experience employers would want their new hires to have. Employers might begin the process thinking someone with about 10 years of experience and a master's degree is the ideal fit and end it convinced that a bachelor's and five years' work experience is ample. Of course, this could add up to massive savings in terms of salary. Another option is to reach out to a recruiter and ask them for their advice. Recruiters deal with job descriptions and job posts every day, and they may be willing to consult with you to not only help you come up with the best job titles but also find qualified candidates.
Job titles are the key search terms one will use during their job search. They can denote job types, experience levels, and / or responsibilities. Different organizations use different types of job titles in their organization chart to clearly define their chain of operations and leadership and available career paths. When applying for jobs, one should use the specific job title listed in the job posting in their resume and their cover letter. The job title is one of the most important keyword phrases that employers’ applicant tracking systems will look for when screening the applications they receive.
- Bushnell, M. (2020). How to Choose the Best Job Title. [online] business.com. Available at: https://www.business.com/articles/job-titles-to-attract-job-seekers/.
- DOYLE, A. (2019). Learn About Different Job Titles and See a List Sorted By Industry. [online] The Balance Careers. Available at: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/job-titles-a-z-list-2061557#:~:text=A%20job%20title%20can%20describe%20the%20responsibilities%20of%20the%20position [Accessed 29 Sep. 2020].
Ifeoma is a Business Analytics and Research Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a business management and human resources consulting firm.
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