Get the Job Title You Deserve

Posted August 7, 2012 by Marcy Farrey in On the Ladder

It may just be a name on paper, but your job title has a hidden, symbolic value.  Think about your job title now — does it adequately reflect your experience and contribution to the company?

A recent article from Angela Smith on ForbesWoman explains why your title is as important as your salary:

Think about it: The title on your resume can have a major impact on your employment prospects in the future.  People use your job title to quickly understand how you fit into an organization, what you do, and your level of expertise or authority.”

Whether you’re joining a new company or you’ve been with a company for five years, how do you know what is a reasonable title for your job?  It all comes down to doing your research.  Smith interviewed a job recruiter, who recommends that you first consider the existing structure within a company.  Are there several employees with the same title as you, or is it a new role?  If it’s a newer or more unique position, making your request will be easier.

You should consider how your new title would appear to your manager.  He or she may not appreciate if you suggest you become Deputy Director.  Instead consider words like “senior.”  When I worked in a newsroom, many producers or reporters would simply start calling themselves a “senior producer” or “senior reporter” after they’d spent three or more years at the station.

You should also look at other companies in your industry: What are the titles for employees in roles similar to yours?  Check out their job descriptions and see if you hold the same — or more — responsibility.

Once you’ve come up with a title, you’ll have to make a good argument for why you need it.  Smith says you should remember to make the argument factual, not emotional:

In addition to the industry research you’ve already done, pull together a list of your achievements, specialized eduction, and relevant experience that will benefit the organization hiring you.  Anything you can show that is above and beyond what’s required for the job will help you in your case for a higher title.”

Another good tip from Smith is to present how the new title would benefit the employer.  Perhaps the new title will impact how your customers view you and the company — they will likely feel differently if they are speaking to a more senior employee.

Above all, you should not be afraid to ask for a new title if you deserve one.  This is a mistake I made early in my career, and I learned that a title really does reflect how a company views your role: It is a sign of respect.  Even if a company is unable to give you a raise, a new title can at least show that your employer values the work you’ve put in.  So do your research, gather your facts, and ask for the title you’ve earned.

Read more of Angela Smith’s tips here.


About the Author

Marcy Farrey

Marcy Farrey is a videographer, writer, and editor. In her previous life, she worked as a broadcast news reporter and producer in Lincoln, Nebraska and as a writer and producer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has a Master of Arts in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University. Learn more about Marcy on her website


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