Copywriter, Human Resources Manager, and Marketing Expert
Job titles can tell job seekers and prospective employees a lot about a particular company and position, but job titles have gone through many changes throughout the years. While traditional corporate titles like “Senior Vice President of Marketing” still remain, many company leaders are looking to appeal to younger workers with modern job titles like “Sales Ninja” and “Social Media Guru.” So with things being constantly being shaken up, this is everything job seekers and employees need to know about job titles.
What is a job title?
A job title is the name of the professional work position. A job title may not be exactly the same from company to company but is a useful way for job seekers to quickly assess if they have the right skills, experience, and interests to submit an application for a potential job opportunity. Almost every job posting or help wanted post will start with the job title of the position to be filled.
Where are job titles used?
For people in white-collar office and professional roles, a job title will often be included in an email signature, on a business card, or on a nameplate, but job titles are not limited to just professional roles.
When you’re creating a resume or CV to pursue a new opportunity, your current position title should be one of the first things listed in your work history section. It is also a good idea to use bold or slightly larger text to make your current and all prior job titles stick out for easy readability. The average hiring manage and recruiter spends just six seconds looking at the average resume and this helps them get a feel of your experience at a glance.
The 4 things that affect your job title
Your job title is influenced by the occupation you have, your level of seniority and responsibility, the industry you are in, and the company you work for.
Your job position is the first thing to consider when determining what your job title is. In many organizations, there is more formal guidance about what your job title is based on the tasks you perform or the function of your position. Often the name of your position is also your job title. This is especially true for entry-level, single-task, and hands-on positions. For example, if you are employed to perform on a stage, your title would be “Performer”.
When you are in a management position, it’s likely your job title is no longer just your position name. A supervisor will often have a job title with “Executive”, “Director” or “Manager” in front of a job position-based title. In skilled trades, positions names will often include “Apprentice” for a novice and “Master” for an experienced skilled worker.
The meaning of a job title can change dramatically from industry to industry. For example, a “Developer” in the real estate world is a person who designs, plans, and builds large-scale projects, while a “Developer” in the web design space is a person who creates websites and applications. The positions have completely different tools, skill sets, and businesses, but share the same job title.
The specific workplace will play the biggest role in determining what the positions in a company are called. While some organizations continue to have very buttoned-up and professional business titles, others have chosen to have a little fun and even allow employees to pick their own desired job title. In these organizations, it’s not uncommon for employees to have words like Guru, Rockstar, Ninja, or Wizard in the job titles.
What is my job title?
If you are working for a large company or corporation, it’s likely there is a formal work title format. In these cases, a job title can be correlated to a specific pay band or be reserved for a certain type of employee (salaried vs hourly, seasonal vs full-time, etc). These often include words that denote level of seniority like “Specialist” or “Manager” so that the same title format, along with its company-specific connotations, can be used across the organization.
Within the last few years, more employers have been trying to attract job applicants using job titles that sound impressive and showcase the company culture. This has lead to some interesting job titles like Innovation Sherpa, UX Design Alchemist, and others. This has been especially for startups and technology business positions.
What a job title can tell you about someone
When you know someone’s job title, there is often a lot that can be inferred about their role in a company or organization. This can be very helpful when cold-calling or trying to make an introduction. For example, someone with a leadership title like “Chief Executive Officer” or “Director of Business Operations” is likely to be a decision-maker whereas someone with a title like “Support Specialist” will likely need to get approvals from leadership before making decisions.
How to change your job title
When it comes to changing your job title, you’ve got a few options. The most obvious way is to get a new job, but assuming you enjoy your work and the company you’re with, the next best thing is to talk with your supervisor. This may be a conversation that makes sense to bring up during a performance review as a negotiation tactic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring this up at another time if it makes sense for your situation. If your role has undergone many changes and your job title no longer reflects the work you do, it’s likely time for a new job title.
What is job title inflation?
Job title inflation is when an employer creates new and/or more prestigious-sounding job titles without an increase in pay or benefits. In many cases, the goal is to flatter and reward an employee when the budget is not available for a pay increase. Job title inflation has also helped to rebrand careers moving from “Garbageman” to “Sanitation Engineer”, for example. A move toward more inclusive language (ie Stewardess to Flight Attendant) is not an example of title inflation, but rather is simply a job title change toward inclusivity.
Is a job title the same as a job description?
A job title and job description are not the same thing. A job title is the specific name of the position a person holds or is applying for. A job description is a full description of the job tasks and duties as well as the requirements needed for potential job holders. There are many cases where a job title can be the same across industries with very different job descriptions such as “Engineer” being used to refer to a train conductor or a person with advanced math and technical skills.
What is a jobs title’s best placement on a resume?
Job titles should be one of the most prominent things on your resume after your name. Your position title helps hiring managers and recruiters get a quick idea of your past experiences and field of expertise.
This rule of prominence is not always true, though. If the truly impressive thing about your past professional history is the companies you worked for, not necessarily the position titles you held, you may want to format your resume to highlight company name instead.
What should my business title be?
Whether you’re choosing for yourself as an independent business owner or you’ve been asked to come up with your own title by your boss, choosing your own business title can be a great way to take ownership of your role.
Consider what your day-to-day job looks like when choosing a job title. If you’re doing a lot of different tasks pertaining to one specific part of the company (marketing, sales, accounting, customer service, etc) it’s a good idea to include that in your title.
If you work in a formal professional office, you’ll also want to pay attention to management and operational titles — you’re not likely to get a chief-level title with specialist-level experience. If your company is more laid-back or witty, feel free to ditch the traditional job titles altogether and suggest something like “Vice President of Misc. Stuff” or “Head of First Impressions.”
What to do if you job title doesn’t match your position’s responsibilities
Many employees in small businesses and startups often find that the job that they get hired to do is not the role they end up holding after a few months or years. If you find that your position no longer is reflective of your job title, it’s time to talk to your manager.
Looking for a new job and don’t want to have the talk to officially request a title change? Most recruiters say that in limited cases, changing a job title is acceptable. Keep in mind when deciding to alter your title that prospective employers are likely to check your LinkedIn and/or contact your previous employers and any discrepancies will not look good for you.
Job titles list
As mentioned earlier, job titles are generally broken down by company hierarchy and seniority. Leadership positions have fewer job title variations while management and operations job titles can include many sub-levels.
Leadership titles often denote the highest rungs of the corporate ladder. Depending on the size of the organization, there can often be several levels of middle management, but these are examples of job titles that, in most cases, only appear once per company.
- Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
- Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
- Chief Operating Officer (COO)
- Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)
- Chief Information Officer (CIO)
- Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
- Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO)
- Chief Security Officer (CSO)
- Chief Analytics Officer (CAO)
There are also many industry-specific leadership job titles including Chief Medical Officer (CMO) or Chief IT Architech (CITA), for example.
Organizations can consist of many different levels of management, with up to three levels being common. Imagine corporate structure as ladder with the “Chief” positions at the top, followed by “Vice President”, “Director”, and “Manager” positions. These are all management level positions and therefore manager titles. Examples of manger titles include:
- Senior Executive Vice President (Sr. EVP)
- Executive Vice President (EVP)
- Senior Vice President (SVP)
- Vice President (VP)
These job titles generally also include the division of the business the person is responsible for (ie. Executive Vice President of Marketing or Senior Vice President of Sales). Very large companies and organizations may include several Vice President roles having a Senior Executive Vice President, Executive Vice President, Senior Vice President, Vice President, and even Assistant Vice Presidents.
- Executive Director
- Managing Director
- Director of the Board
- Director of Operations
- Finance Director
- Marketing Director
Director is a common job title in the non-profit sector and job titles for Director positions can be written as “Director of X” or “X Director” depending on preference.
Operations jobs titles
Operations jobs titles can range from straightforward task-descriptions (Welder, Line worker, Butcher, etc) or can have additional modifiers that signal increased expertise without management duties like “Analyst” or “Specialist.”
Analyst job titles
- Business Analyst
- Data Analyst
- Financial Analyst
- Human Resources Analyst
- Marketing Analyst
- Operations Analyst
- Research Analyst
- Systems Analyst
Specialist job titles
- Accounting Specialist
- Development Specialist
- Human Resources Specialist
- Marketing Specialist
- Customer Support Specialist
- IT Specialist
- Business Support Specialist
- Supply Management Specialist
Specialists are often well-versed the full spectrum of a field, while analysts use data to solve problems in their field. Both Specialists and Analysts can require specialized training to perform their job duties. In the corporate ladder, these operational job titles sit above entry-level position titles.
Job titles – List of examples
Job titles can range from common, if not a little boring, to job titles that are very unique. Here are a few job title examples.
Professional business job titles
- Chief (Executive, Operations, Marketing, Financial, Technology, etc) Officer
- Director of (Operations, Finance, Marketing, Sales, Human Resources, etc)
- Senior (Vice President, Executive, etc)
- Executive (President, Vice President, Chief, etc)
Creative job titles
- (Marketing, Sales, Communications, IT, etc) Guru
- Master of (Marketing, Sales, Design, IT, etc)
- (Marketing, Sales, Data, etc) Ninja
- (Marketing, Sales, Retail, etc) Rockstar
Inflated job titles
- Beverage dissemination expert (Bartender)
- Pneumatic Device and Machine Optimizer (Factory Worker)
- Conversation Architect (Marketing Manager)
- Grand master of underlings (Operations Manager)
Most common [unique] job title by state
The United States has a lot of diversity when it comes to jobs and job titles. These are the jobs that people are more likely to hold in each state versus the rest of the country.
- Alabama – Information Assurance Manager
- Alaska – Helicopter Pilot
- Arizona – Respite Worker
- Arkansas – Category Analyst
- California – Amusement/Recreation Attendant
- Colorado – Mining Engineer
- Connecticut – Private Duty Companion
- Delaware – Fraud Analyst
- Florida – Community Association Manager
- Georgia – Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) – Intermediate
- Hawaii – Educational Assistant
- Idaho – Farm Manager
- Illinois – Associate Director, Creative Services
- Indiana – Expanded Functions Dental Assistant (EFDA)
- Iowa – City Clerk
- Kansas – Stress Engineer
- Kentucky – Sailor or Marine Oiler
- Louisiana – Sailor or Marine Oiler
- Maine – Direct Support Professional
- Maryland – Groundskeeper
- Massachusetts – Principal Software Engineer
- Michigan – Automotive Engineer
- Minnesota – Personal Care Attendant
- Mississippi – Deputy Clerk
- Missouri – Community Support Specialist
- Montana – Head Housekeeper
- Nebraska – Medication Aide
- Nevada – Gaming Dealer
- New Hampshire – Landskeeping or Groundskeeping Worker
- New Jersey – Drug Safety Coordinator
- New Mexico – Educational Assistant
- New York – Associate Fashion Designer
- North Carolina – Clinical Trial Assistant
- North Dakota – Agronomist
- Ohio – State Tested Nurses Aide (STNA)
- Oklahoma – Landman
- Oregon – Gardener
- Pennsylvania – Financial Sales Consultant
- Rhode Island – Social Media Associate
- South Carolina – Early Intervention Specialist
- South Dakota – Business Banker
- Tennessee – X-Ray Tech
- Texas – Reservoir Engineer
- Utah – Framer – Construction
- Vermont – Loan Officer, Consumer
- Virginia – Senior Intelligence Analyst
- Washington – Technical Program Manager
- West Virginia – Mining Engineer
- Wisconsin – Tech Services Rep
- Wyoming – Mining Engineer
A job title is a great way to understand the role a person plays in a larger organization. Modern job titles and relaxed professional standards have led to new job titles that showcase not only the kind of work an employee does, but also the kind of culture a company or organization has. Job searchers can use job titles as an indicator of the kind of work to be performed as well as the kind of environment they can expect from a prospective employer. For employers, job titles are a convenient way to organize company hierarchy and reward employees when financial incentives may not be available.