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Searching for a job? Drop the ‘Social Media Ninja’ job title

Lulu Jones - Intern

Lulu Jones is currently interning at RTA from the Job Centre. Here she provides her opinion and some advice.

There was a time when job titles were straight forward, simple, and actually described the job of the person involved. If someone at a dinner party asked you what you did for a living, the reply would normally be a few words which required no more discussion.

Nowadays it’s not so simple, especially with the rise of creative and digital industries who in some cases want to put a unique spin on their employees, but does this actually do anything positive? It does depend on the industry you’re working in, obviously there are some jobs which will always have straight forward titles, but in the current economy the process of ‘uptitling’ is becoming common practise within some companies. In a bid to keep valued employees motivated, companies create new job titles designed to make an employee feel like their job is more important than it actually is whilst not having to spend any more money on that employee. So you’ve been warned if you get a fancy new title!

Sandwich Technicians & Media Distribution Officers

Job titles shouldn’t be used as a function to impress or distort, they should simply indicate the job a person is doing. Titles of C level positions might sound impressive, but this is because on the whole the are important high powered jobs with a serious level of responsibility and accountability. Some people may think that having a creative job title gives them a unique selling point, but in reality when employers spend an average of 10-12 seconds looking at a CV, if your most recent job title is a ‘Marketing Rockstar’ or ‘Social Media Jedi/Guru/Champion/Ninja’ this is more likely to get a few laughs or even irritate the person reading your CV than encourage a genuine enquiry into your skills.


Are you really a jedi at work?

Employers don’t want to be guessing what your job entails, or even assume you know more than you do because of your convoluted title. These job titles are inevitably made up to make the person with them feel more important or that their job is more elaborate than it actually is. Subway employ sandwich ‘technicians’ and ‘artists’, paper boys have been referred to as ‘media distribution officers’ and librarians as ‘information advisers’, this glorification could be seen as trying to be kind to the employee or just downright patronising.

Getting the job title right

However cynical this may sound, this method can be used to an advantage, if words are used in a subtle and correct manner. Though the more creative methods of uptitling may in some cases be detrimental to an employee, and can upsell a candidate too much, for some people they may actually help in their career progression.

For example, if someone’s job title was upgraded from Junior Editor to Deputy Editor, this may make them seem more attractive to potential employers, without detracting too much from the actual role itself.

Even the BBC have had to reassess certain job titles

Even the BBC have had to reassess certain job titles

On a more serious note, job titles which sound like they’ve been made up out of nowhere give the impression that maybe their job is too. Back in 2010, the BBC vowed to axe silly job titles and said that ‘all senior management positions will have to pass a ‘clarity and common sense’ test when advertised.’

This change came about as the heads of the BBC were concerned that certain job titles leant to the idea that the corporation is overstaffed with people in unnecessary and lucrative roles. Examples from the BBC include ‘Vision Controller of Multiplatform and Portfolio’ and ‘Organisational Development and Change Director’, show how convoluted job titles can get even in a huge corporation like the BBC.

Like most things, it’s completely circumstantial as to whether or not your job title will actually affect you in the long run, just be careful that your title is true to what your role entails and make an educated decision as to whether or not your job title is appropriate!

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