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what’s in a title?

After having a conversation with one of my work colleagues from a previous position about how her role has evolved over time and due to changes out of her control (company merge), her job title has changed making it look as though she is in a lower position than previously and it doesn’t reflect what she actually does. We had a chat about the importance of it and how it will look on her resume. It got me thinking… what is in a title? How important is it to your resume, linkedIn page and performance?

We, (society) put enormous pressure on ourselves, and dedicate our careers to developing, growing, building and moving up in this world that we get a sense of fulfilment when our job title reflects this. Understandably, right!

And, especially when you are in the development stages of your career, your job title is super important. Job titles can act like a badge of authority and more importantly make it feel like you are being underutilised or valued and potentially be seen as someone who is actually at a lower level of achievement than the one you have attained.

It is a hard one.

I can’t stop thinking that it is the pressure we put on ourselves to continue to climb that corporate ladder and shopping for job titles that makes it seem more important than it actually is. Having said that, I do remember the emphasis I put on my title when I was starting out. Eager to push through the assistant level as fast as I possibly could.

Each organisation will position you differently and your job title may or may not reflect your role. From my experience, larger organisations value titles differently. A coordinators role in a larger organisation is valued higher – you will actually be coordinating people and their tasks, managing projects and the responsibility lies with you. When in a smaller organisation a coordinator doesn’t always mean you will be coordinating anything – you may simply be assisting the manager and following up on their projects. On the flipside, you may have title that is above what you are actually doing… but that is a whole different post.

The role is valued depends on the organisation. I also find, if you entered an organisation in a junior position, it will take hard work and long man hours for managers to see you as something else other than a junior.

I pose that if your job title sucks and you are feeling like you are undervalued, prove them wrong. Give your manager reason to think that maybe you are in for a step up and role change. Be aware of what is happening around you and how others see you in the organisation. Are you taking on tasks that are at a higher level?

AND, have a chat to your manager about it. They may not even realise it is a concern of yours and you are feeling as those you are performing at a higher level than what is reflected on your title. Be honest, open and upfront. Share examples of how you are performing tasks above your title level (refer to my look at all you have achieved post and do this activity). If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.

Remember, a job title doesn’t define who you are and what you do. You are the one who can make that change and developments in your career. Don’t let a lousy job title get you down and hold you back from being the best you can be at your role (even if it doesn’t reflect it on your business card). Don’t be embarrassed, it is just a title.

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How have you overcome job title blues? Are you in a position where you are feeling undervalued?

4 comments

  1. Great post!! I could not agree with you more about this!
    I have fought with my title for years. First it was that I didnt deserve the title I had and then that the title I had was not enough!
    And its so stupid! It should be the person in the role that is most important, not the title!
    Love your thinking here!
    xxx

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