Are you caught up on your job title?

Man's hands hold a business card

As recruiters, we often see candidates place a disproportionate amount of importance on the title of the job. If you are searching for your next job and only considering the role title, you may be doing yourself out of a great career opportunity.

As someone who interviews candidates and takes job briefs from clients all day every day, I can honestly say that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to job titles and remits. We often have five candidates in a room with the title “Marketing Coordinator” and no two job remits would be the same. Candidates who are equally qualified for a role are likely to have different title variations such as Marketing Assistant, Marketing Executive, or Marketing Specialist.

People I talk to often place such high value on the job title when trying to find a job. For example, candidates currently in a Brand Manager role may only consider making a move for a step up into a Senior Brand Manager role as they see it as the best step in their career for continued development. While I appreciate the importance a job title plays in career development, any professional recruiter or hiring manager will consider much more than your job title when considering you for a job opportunity – so you should too! When you are making your next career move, consider aspects beyond the job title.

5 things to consider for your next career move:

1. Role scope

No two roles are created equally - the size of the portfolio you manage, or the breadth of your remit can vary greatly between businesses, especially between industries or companies in a large, multinational versus an SME environment. If you are a Marketing Manager within a smaller organisation, it may appear on paper to be a backward step moving into a Senior Brand Manager level role, however depending on the scope and commercial exposure of the role, moving into a differently titled role may open up further career development opportunities in the long term.

A role may be more broad or narrow, depending on the size of the team or business, as well as the structure and reporting lines. So, in addition to reading the job description, it’s important to understand the environment you will be working in and the extent of the role’s deliverables and responsibilities.

Likewise, to explain the remit of your roles to recruiters and potential employers when presenting yourself as a candidate, it’s important to ensure your resume includes a summary of role responsibilities. In addition to a summary on the company and context you were operating within, each job on your resume should include 1-2 sentences summarising what you were individually responsible for in your role. The Six Degrees resume template provides a professional layout to follow and includes tips and tricks of what to write in each section.

DOWNLOAD: Professional resume template

​2. Salary

Nearly always in the top considerations when considering a new job, salary can vary greatly by job title. As specialist recruiters, we can clearly benchmark salary ranges for different roles and levels. Potentially a Brand Manager in one business can have the same salary as an Assistant Brand Manager level within another company. So while a change in job title may sometimes appear to be a sideways step in terms of the title, you will still be bringing home more bacon at the end of the week. And when working with recruitment experts, they will be able to assess your career development by a number of different factors.  

3. Long-term career development

When trying to find your next career step, think about what the next three years within your business will look like. Are there development opportunities for you internally? It’s worth exploring what this may look like within a new business if opportunities are limited in your current job. Potentially, making a sideways move will see you progress faster within a flatter organisation. If you can set clear career development opportunities in place, a short-term sacrifice in job title may be more beneficial in the long term.

4. The market

When applying for jobs, you do never really the competition you are coming up against. There could be 50 people with the same job title but with different amounts of experience. For example, a Marketing Coordinator with one year of experience who is ready for your next challenge could be up against other candidates applying for the same role with the same title but with 3+ years’ experience under their belt, or with exposure to broader responsibilities, experience in a larger organisation, or with the exact industry experience sought by an employer.

To understand where you sit in the market, and the nature of the space you are playing in, speak to a specialist recruiter to get advice on where to pitch yourself in the current market. Depending on the number and quality of candidates in the market, you may be trying to compete at the wrong level, and it may be worth considering taking a sideways step into a role at the same level.

READ MORE: Tips and tricks from recruiters to help you find a job

5. Values and work-life balance  

It’s important to assess what you value most in your career and what you want out of your next job when it comes to job flexibility, working environment and support. Do you want to sell your soul for your career? Are you happy working 12-14+ hour days in your role or prefer not to head straight to burnout town? Perhaps you are you sitting in a team with no mentorship or support from senior leadership where you are expected to sink or swim?

Consider where you will have the right tools to set yourself up for success, and where you can gain the right fit to achieve your goals in work and life. You may realise that gaining more flexibility and work-life balance is a step up and is really the most important piece of the puzzle for you. You may be currently spending two hours a day in traffic, so a role closer to home be more worthwhile to give you more time to spend with family, going to the gym, or doing what you love. Ask yourself if you would prefer a supportive environment that will give you your sanity back, provide you development opportunities and align with your personal needs and values or if progressing your job title is more important?

Overall, if a role sounds interesting, but you’re not quite sure, my recommendation is always to be open to having an initial conversation or go to an interview so that you can get all the information and make an informed decision.

READ MORE: Just go to the interview

​If you are struggling to take the next step in your career, it is worth reaching out to a recruiter who may be able to give you further insights on the current candidate market within your industry or specialisation to give you further insight around how to realign your job-search and expectations. Getting an accurate benchmark, honest feedback, and expert advice may be just what you need to set yourself up for success.

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