Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Is Your Job Title Hurting Your Career?

When you decide to change jobs, you may have certain criteria in mind about what jobs you will take and the ones you will dismiss.

Some of your criteria may be based on salary, location, company culture or perks.

One area that often is overlooked is the job title. I think part of that is because people have gotten into some wacky titles such as "ninja salesperson." Or, they think the title doesn't really matter -- they just want a better salary and more vacation time.

But a recent study by Comparably shows you need to pay more attention to the title that comes with the new job. Specifically, in a look at tech jobs, it shows that "sales representative" and "sales engineer" garner bigger jumps in salary over time. The jump  in salary over a decade can be as high as 55.9% -- that is a much bigger increase than the 3% annual bump you might receive in other jobs.

While it's true that tech may have bigger jumps in salary than some other jobs, it's also a good reminder that in any industry you need to pay attention to job titles.  For example, if you're doing management work, then "manager" should be in the title and not just something like "team visionary." When you go looking for another job someday, another employer may not have a clue what a "team visionary" is and conclude you're not ready for an upper management job. While you may explain that you really were a manager, that employer may have doubts and move onto someone else.

The same thing should be top of mind when you're given promotions within your company. Make a case that you want a job title that matches your job duties. If not, then the company may be able to keep your salary lower than you deserve and prevent you from future career opportunities.

Take a look at your resume this week and try to determine if your job titles show a steady progression in the right direction. If not, it's time to rethink how your current job title can be improved -- and the next job title you want to reach.

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