Do Job Titles Really Matter?

John Krautzel
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Some companies give job titles little thought, while others try to come up with creative titles to boost their employees' confidence. Knowing the value of a relevant, descriptive job title is an important aspect of a company's dynamics. Here are a few reasons why job titles really do matter.

Job Titles as Guideposts

When you have an accurate job title, coworkers and customers know what to expect from you. For example, anyone who comes in contact with a digital marketing manager understands that this professional manages all forms of the company's marketing via the internet, mobile phones and other digital media. On the other hand, a social media marketing manager is restricted to platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, so this employee wouldn't be the person to ask about Google ads. This also applies to job titles with "junior" or "senior" in the name, allowing workers to understand their rank in relation to their colleagues.

The Effect of Job Titles on Pay

Businesses should set competitive pay rates that are on par with other companies with similar job positions. Business leaders who simply choose their own titles and pay rate risk cultivating distrust, or worse yet, losing employees to the competition. Online sources such as Glassdoor, along with salary surveys and other job-related research, can help managers find the market rate for a particular position.

Job Titles as Part of a Whole

Receiving a new job title is exciting, but if it doesn't come with a shift in responsibilities, a bonus or a salary increase, a fancy title is nothing more than a quick ego boost. Job titles should always come as part of a whole. On a similar note, team members in smaller businesses may need to take on multiple roles, and each role should be listed separately rather than jumbled into a single, unclear job title.

Hiring and Job Titles

When a hiring manager uses an unclear job title, he may end up attracting the wrong talent, which wastes everyone's time. Job seekers should stick to solid job descriptions with a recognizable title to find the best match for their skills and experience. Vague job titles can be a red flag that the organization either doesn't know what it's looking for or is afraid to share important details regarding what the position really entails. Standard job titles also allow job seekers to quickly and easily search for relevant openings on aggregate sites.

In the professional world, your title is more than just a name. It's an identifier to help you more efficiently work with others, find the right openings, and determine whether your pay is just. Have you ever suffered the effects of a misleading or unclear job title?

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Joseph G. thanks for your comment. It's true it can be frustrating but there are many sites out there that can help you translate what you did in the military to civilian speak. Just off the top of my head - or But there are many others out there. Also, if you use LinkedIn, there are sites out there for veterans. Check them out and see if they don't help you with the translation. I was an Aviation Maintenance Administrationman in the Navy. Now translate that. In addition to the sites, if you live in an area where there is a Vet Center, you should check them out. They may be able to offer free resume assistance.

  • Joseph G.
    Joseph G.

    I also think that employees try to inflate the title also, and use it define who they are. It does become a fine line on what we do. My military contract job titled "Test Officer" sometimes does not translate well at all in the outside world. It is frustrating at times.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Melanie A thanks for your comment. I agree that our skills and experience should count far more than a job title! When you apply for a position that allows you to send a cover letter, that's where you can explain or even list some of the titles that you had/have so that the hiring manager can see what you have done. I loved the old days when employers didn't care what your title was as long as you could get the job done. We didn't have fancy titles back then,, either. Now titles seem to be everything. Do the best you can and try to match your skills to the job posting - even if your title is out of whack with what they are seeking. All the best.

  • Melanie A.
    Melanie A.

    Unfortunately I found when looking for a new job , titles matter to employers far to much. The problem is that one company called it one thing, another calls it something else. And worse yet, multiple "titles"aply to what ever I was, because I wore so many "hats".I think enployers should look at skill sets inatead..

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