It's just a name, but a job title can make a huge difference in your professional life and in how your company and industry perceive you. The right title can also improve your day-to-day happiness and engagement with your position that bespeaks the value you bring to your company and the investment your employer makes in your career. Discover some ideas for when you negotiate for the title you really want.
The first thing you should do regarding your job title is take some time to think and reflect. Answer a few questions about why you want a new title and if you deserve it. Determine if your responsibilities expanded since you started with the company several years ago. You may receive annual raises based on your performance review, but do you believe your daily duties mean a different title?
Review websites such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor to find people with similar responsibilities and salaries to yours. Note the job title of each one, and then think about which title makes you feel the most valued at your company. For example, take the title "Senior Salesperson." Do you just perform sales, or do you also analyze data ahead of making presentations? Do you face potential customers, or are you a behind-the-scenes person who jazzes up visual sales presentations for the sales team?
If you're great at data analysis within a sales team, perhaps "Senior Analyst" is a more appropriate title. Maybe "Senior Graphic Designer" or "Senior Video Producer" would fit better if you develop sales tools without talking to customers. Your job title should provide information about your daily duties, while the "senior" moniker indicates your level of expertise and longevity in your career.
Examine the Big Picture
What is the end game for the new title? Do you just want the prestige of a title, or do you also want an expanded compensation package? If you feel you deserve more benefits from the company, consider a new title if it's appropriate with your level of experience. You may think a unique title suits your personality, but be cautious about asking for one of those. Your title should indicate the authority, respect and skills you bring to your company.
Learn From Your Boss
Perhaps the hard part of this process is physically asking your boss for a new title. Remember, this is a learning process, and you should start out by having a conversation with your supervisor rather than making demands. Outline how the job title benefits the company and not just yourself. For instance, one employee wanted "Editor-in-Chief" instead of "Senior Editor." Her reasoning was that it gave her more respect among vendors and customers who controlled the amounts of revenue the company generated as the employee sought new ways for the company to make money. The title also boosted her morale, which made her more productive over the long term.
Even if your boss says "no" to your request for a job title you really want, it doesn't mean you should give up on ever having that moniker. Learn from the experience, and start accomplishing goals outlined by your supervisor so you can get the title the next time you ask.
Photo courtesy of Kathy Seyama at Flickr.com