Knowledge

Is your job title too confusing?

Posted on Jan 21st, 2011 | Running a business

Let’s face it, everybody wants to sound fancy. One of the fun things about being a freelancer is choosing your own job title. No longer are you stuck with a corporation-mandated title such as “Phone Operator #4237”, you can let your imagination soar and appoint yourself Captain of the World if you want. However, at what point does a fancy job title stop making you sound exciting, and start confusing your potential clients?

The more perceived importance you can pour into your job title the better – but it should also be succinct and to-the-point. Avoid using “and” – simply adjust your title depending on the job you’re pitching for. Stick to established and well-known job titles, and expand on them to add a little bit of spice.

For example, if you’re a copywriter, you probably need to include the term “Copywriter” in your job title somewhere. “But Jon!” I hear you wail, “There are so many Copywriters out there!”. Indeed there are, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that you are one too. So don’t differentiate yourself by calling yourself a “Creative Vision Sculptor” or something silly like that. At least make your area of expertise clear.

“Wordsmith” would possibly be acceptable, but deviate too far from your core functions and you’ll come across as pretentious, annoying, costly, or a mix of all three. I recently read the CV of a copywriter who listed his job title as “Poet-in-Chief”. I don’t want to hire a poet – I want to hire a copywriter.

At least make your area of expertise clear. “Wordsmith” would possibly be acceptable, but deviate too far from your core functions and you’ll come across as pretentious, annoying, costly, or a mix of all three. I recently read the CV of a copywriter who listed his job title as “Poet-in-Chief”. I don’t want to hire a poet – I want to hire a copywriter.

Social Media consultants are particularly regular offenders in the field of confusing job titles. Social Media is such a new and fluid industry (and there are so many snake oil salesmen at work), that using words such as “Holistic” and “Trans-Medial” will mean your CV will end up in the bin more often than not.

It’s a mundane but pertinent fact that corporate job titles are boring because they are purely functional. You want to speak to the person in charge of marketing, you find out who the Marketing Manager is. You can use this established structure to your advantage – if you want to add a bit of gravitas to your persona, call yourself a “Manager”, “Director of”, or “Head of”.

Your CV can be rejected for any number of reasons. Your job title will be the first thing a client reads after your name, so don’t fall at the first hurdle.

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Written by Jon Norris

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