Tossing resumes

Why Job Titles are Useless for Job Search

We know that some job titles are less than useful, especially when digging through thousands of listings in a job search. A “Social Coordinator” or “Regional Event Specialist” position that requires basic word processing and sending of emails is really an administrative assistant or secretary. A “Director of First Impressions” is really a receptionist. So why do employers feel the need to talk up what otherwise would be a normal or even mundane title?

Job Titles Confound

The simple answer is that, for various reasons, we as humans like to complicate things. Instead of listing a job with the title of “Director’s Assistant” or “Mid-Level Manager”, a company may go with the impressive title of “Group Director Of Policy”. From an employer’s perspective, offering a prestigious sounding title may be an effort to market the position as more interesting, but there are many problems with these kinds of titles.  They are hard for job seekers to search for, many people don’t understand what they mean, or they lose interest once they really understand what the position entails.  Job seekers often discover their expectations or qualifications do not quite match with the employer’s.  The same can said for employers or applicant tracking systems trying to understand exotic job titles on a resume.

The Work Itself Is What Counts

What you actually do on the job is what matters, or what should matter. For the last half century or so, mid-level management has exploded. So has consulting and the practice of adding technical jargon to positions that haven’t really changed much. Case in point, the use of the word “Analyst” to basically mask any job title. In the past, these people were technicians, but now a more lofty title is added. This phenomenon also includes words like specialist or evangelist.

How To Avoid Useless Job Titles

If an employer can’t break things down to their simple parts, then chances are it’s needlessly complicated. A “Beverage Dissemination Officer” is obviously a hilarious way of describing a bartender. In other cases, an employer has so many unique business processes that they have created a new title for every position.  This may work for the employer, but wreaks havoc for anyone trying to find such positions through a search engine.

The only real way to avoid hassles with job titles in your search is to understand that it is an extra layer of complexity. At Acuspire, we do not believe job seekers should rely on searching by job title.  In major cities, the proportion of unique titles in major job boards may reach higher than 75%. For this reason, we consider the importance of the work description above everything else.

The truth is, although a fancy title can seem to offer an attractive opportunity, it’s easy to see right through these titles once you read the job description. Forget chasing after that “wizard” or “ninja” position. Let the work speak for itself. Are they looking for a petroleum engineer or a receptionist? Focus on what the work really is and go from there.

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