Yes, Virginia, Job Titles do Matter
By RDBA Executive Director, Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Years ago when I was negotiating a new job offer, the position title lead to quite a bit of discussion. The company was a start up and still developing their human resource policies. I wanted to ensure that the position title was equitable within the structure of the company but also meaningful to company customers and potential partners. Fortunately, I was able to convince the company CEO that the position title did matter and secured my recommended option.
To this day, I am convinced that the position title made a difference in my access within the company, how I was viewed as a decision maker and leader to external partners and clients, and my ability to be successful within the role.
Here’s why job titles matter:
- Job title shows relevance in your company. It tells everyone in the organization where you’re at on the totem pole. It allows or denies access to certain levels of meetings and discussions.
- Job titles can help you be more productive at work. Job titles lend credibility. They suggest experience. They hold power, respect, and authority. All these factors can impact others’ willingness to buy into you and/or a project you’re working on.
- Job titles indicate decision-making ability. Whether negotiating a referral partnership with a local health care system or a support of a strategic initiative with a vendor partner, job title can give an indication of your authority to make decisions regarding budgets, deals, timelines and projects. Even “senior” in a job title gives an indication of decision-making ability.
- Job title matters when searching for your next role. A hiring manager can review a position title and quickly understand your implied responsibilities and level. They use titles to assess if they should read further into your resume. Often, hiring managers aren’t willing to bump a candidate multiple levels, for example from Manager to Vice President, and a mismatched title may prevent you from getting the interview.
Review your title against others in the company with similar levels of responsibility. Consider retail RD titles within the industry. Review titles at partnering organizations. Then fight for the right title.