How to Come Up With the Perfect Job Title

Crafting the ideal job title is an art and science. The title needs to accurately convey the role resonate with top talent align to the company culture, and comply with regulations. While it may seem simple, a lot of thought needs to go into determining the best job titles.

An impactful title helps attract qualified candidates, gets more applications, and sets proper expectations. However, generic, inflated, or confusing titles have the opposite effect. They deter prospects and result in mismatched applicants.

Follow these tips and best practices to create titles that magnetically draw your ideal candidates:

Keep it Simple But Descriptive

The best job titles clearly communicate the essence of the role in a compact phrase They balance brevity with enough specificity to indicate the core functions, seniority level, and domain

For example, “Social Media Manager” quickly tells applicants they will be handling social platforms and strategy. It’s far better than vague titles like “Digital Marketing Specialist” or inflated ones like “Senior Director of Global Digital and Social Media Engagement”.

Aim for 2-3 common words that concisely describe the position’s most vital responsibilities and the area of expertise. Cut down on fluffy adjectives and unnecessary qualifiers that just make titles excessively wordy.

Focus on Key Skills Needed

Highlight must-have hard and soft skills in the title to attract candidates who possess those capabilities. This helps filter prospects with the right background and qualifications.

For instance, “UX Designer” indicates needed user experience abilities vs just “Designer”. Sales titles can specify B2B or B2C expertise like “Enterprise Sales Executive”. For management roles, “Engineering Manager” clarifies oversight of technical teams.

Align with Company Culture

Job titles signal company culture through the language used. Startups tend to use casual, creative titles compared to corporations. Ensure titles fit your employer brand personality and values.

Fun titles like “Technical Wizard” or “Happiness Hero” convey a laid-back culture, while authoritative ones like “Global Marketing Director” or “VP of Customer Success” imply more corporate hierarchies.

Avoid Exaggerated Titles

Resist the urge to exaggerate titles with unnecessary seniority levels or scope descriptors. Inflated titles set unrealistic expectations that just lead to disappointment and confusion later.

For example, calling an entry-level role “Senior Strategist” or mid-level individual contributor “Director” is misleading. Scope descriptors like “International” or “Global” should only be used if truly applicable.

Use Established Job Titles

Leverage recognized industry job titles whenever possible, especially for common roles. This helps attract the right applicants by signaling standard expectations.

For example, use established titles like “Web Developer”, “Accountant”, “Sales Representative” instead of invented or ambiguous ones. However, some creative license can be taken for very novel or specialized positions.

Consider Regional Differences

Certain terms hold different connotations based on geography. For global companies, recognize when familiar titles take on different meanings across locations.

For instance, “Engineer” indicates specialized technical roles in the US, while it has a broader meaning in Europe. The title “Director” also holds greater weight in the UK compared to the US.

Adhere to Regulations

Be aware of legal requirements regarding job titles, especially in government and healthcare roles. Using restricted titles when criteria are not met can have consequences.

For example, the term “Officer” requires election or appointment formalities in some states. Protected clinical titles like “Nurse” or “Physician Assistant” have defined educational requirements.

Mirror Internal Title Conventions

Review existing titles used within the company and aim to follow similar conventions. If descriptors like “Associate” and “Senior” carry specific meaning in your organization for hierarchy and pay bands, stick to those standards.

Consistency across titles for comparable roles enables equitable compensation benchmarking. For instance, all entry-level individual contributor titles end in “Associate” (like “Sales Associate”) while management titles start with “Senior Manager”.

Write for the Job Seeker

Craft titles from the candidate’s perspective using language they’d search for their skills. Include terms used in the industry to capture passive prospects open to new opportunities.

For example, a “UI Designer” is more compelling for talent than “Visual Design Associate” even though they describe the same UX role. Market-facing titles tend to resonate strongest.

Test Titles with Employees

Get feedback from current employees in the department with the open role to validate the title. See if the suggested phrase accurately reflects day-to-day responsibilities. Employees can provide context on how titles are perceived internally as well.

Also discuss candidates the current title is likely to attract and whether that matches the intended target profile. Iterate on titles until they resonate both externally and internally.

Avoid Gender Bias

Certain words in job titles like “tech wizard” or “sales ninja” can alienate women by perpetuating stereotypes. Use inclusive language and avoid aggressive, competitive, or coding-focused terminology to prevent deterring diversity.

Gender Decoder is a useful tool for identifying and troubleshooting gendered language in titles and other texts. The key is crafting titles that sound equally compelling regardless of gender identity.

Differentiate Seniority Levels

Have clear conventions to signal junior vs mid vs senior level roles in the title nomenclature itself. This quickly sets expectations on the years of experience needed.

For example, append “Associate” for entry-level individual contributors, “Manager” for first-time people managers, “Senior Manager” for department heads, “Director” for the top role before VP, and so on.

Highlight Company Name

Prepend the company name to give titles more context and improve comprehension. This is especially important if using unconventional or compact titles.

For example, “Acme – Happiness Hero” clarifies the role better than just “Happiness Hero”. This technique helps attract candidates specifically interested in your company’s open positions.

Reassess Periodically

As companies scale and evolve, revisit job titles to ensure they still accurately reflect the role, resonate with talent, and align to internal levels. Outdated legacy titles that no longer fit may need to be updated.

When departments get restructured or responsibilities change, take the opportunity to reassess titles. Especially review customized niche titles to see if more standardized industry terms now apply as the business matured.

Avoid Role Confusion

If using the same terms across very different roles causes confusion, append qualifiers to differentiate. Add keywords like “Marketing”, “Technology”, “Sales”, or “Finance” to clarify the scope.

For example, instead of having both a “Project Manager” and “Product Manager”, tweak to “Marketing Project Manager” and “Product Manager” to distinguish between the two.

Highlight Remote-Friendly

Given the shift to flexible and remote work, calling out if a role can be done fully remotely in the title helps. For example, “Remote Customer Support Representative” or “Remote Frontend Engineer”.

This allows location-agnostic candidates to easily filter for open opportunities suited for telecommuting and hybrid work environments.

Optimize for ATS

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) filter candidates algorithmically based on titles and keywords. Ensure vital terms will be picked up by ATS to correctly classify applicants and aid discoverability.

Use Title Case

In English, sentence case titles like “senior accountant” are harder to quickly parse than Title Case ones like “Senior Accountant”. Exceptions can be made for fully uppercase abbreviations like VP or CFO.

Proper capitalization improves skimmability of titles and aids comprehension for applicants quickly scanning numerous potential openings.

By taking the time to thoughtfully craft job titles tailored to each role, companies can maximize applications from qualified, engaged candidates. Well-written titles also build trusting employer brand perceptions.

Conversely, generic, confusing, or inflated titles have the opposite effect – deterring target prospects and wasting resources screening mismatched applicants. They signal sloppy recruiting practices.

While seemingly minor details, job titles significantly impact hiring outcomes. Get them right by applying the strategies above and your next role is sure to attract the perfect candidates.

Key Takeaways for Creating Impactful Job Titles:

  • Keep titles concise but descriptive – 2-3 words that communicate the core responsibilities.
  • Highlight key skills needed and critical areas of expertise.
  • Ensure titles fit company culture and personality.
  • Avoid exaggerations or unnecessary seniority levels.
  • Use established industry terms and conventions when possible.
  • Consider regional differences in meanings for certain titles.
  • Comply with any regulations on protected professional titles.
  • Mirror internal title conventions for levels and conventions.
  • Write titles from the applicant’s perspective using searchable terms.
  • Solicit feedback from employees in that department to validate relevance.
  • Use gender neutral language and avoid potentially alienating terminology.
  • Differentiate seniority levels clearly and consistently.
  • Prepend company name for context.
  • Reassess titles periodically to ensure they still fit.
  • Append qualifiers if needed to disambiguate similar roles.
  • Call out remote-friendliness for location flexibility.
  • Optimize keywords to get picked up by ATS filters.

how to come up with job titles

PR Job Titles List

Public Relations can also be its own island. In those cases, heres how the titles for a PR team often look. Heres a hierarchy/org chart of the 6 core levels of public relations job titles:

Top 20 Public Relations Job Titles [+ Descriptions] shows a list of the most common public relations titles candidates search on the web — here are the top 10:

  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Publicist
  • Public Relations Assistant
  • Public Relations Manager
  • PR Assistant
  • PR Manager
  • Senior Public Relations Manager
  • PR Consultant
  • PRO
  • Public Relations Director

What are some examples of funny job titles?

Some companies come up with creative job titles for different roles. Take these examples:

  • Chief Happiness Officer — (Google had a “Chief Happiness Officer” position (also known as Jolly Good Fellow) filled by Chade-Meng Tan. 72 companies are listed on LinkedIn as having this cool job title.
  • Cast Member — Disney famously calls every employee in its park a “Cast Member” (this applies not only for Disney characters but also for any person operating rides, serving food, sweeping up, etc.
  • Muse — Kate Spade uses the cool job title “Muse” for its sales associates.
  • Director of Storytelling — Blue Cross Blue Shield used this for a copywriter/marketing director type position.

These creative job titles can be attractive for an employee to possess.

Other companies try to be outright funny. Here are a few funny job titles Ive seen over the years:

  • Señor System Administrator (instead of “Senior” System Administrator)
  • Direct Mail Demi-God (Direct Mail Account Manager)
  • C3PO – Chief Power Plugs & Patches Officer
  • Ruby on Rails SCAP (Super Crazy Awesome Programmer)

We also list some Creative Titles for Sales Reps.

How to Come Up with Job Titles

How do you list job titles on a resume?

Be consistent in how you list job titles. Whether you decide to place them before or after the company name, make sure to do the same throughout your resume. Generic titles like “Manager” or “Professional” can leave hiring managers guessing about your actual responsibilities.

How do I find a good job title?

Google for each task – you are looking for some kind of job description/title that fits the task; make list of the job titles that you have found that appeals to you – if your list is empty, you’ll have to come up with the job title on your own; choose the job title that you like best, customizing for your situation.

How do you title a resume?

Resume titles should remain simple and accurate when you create them. Here are some steps you can take to title your resume: Research job titles. Consider your most relevant experience. Capitalize your headline. Use keywords. Create targeted headlines. Make the title stand out. 1. Research job titles

Should you list your job title correctly?

Listing your job title correctly can also increase your likelihood of getting an interview, as it can help you get past software that scans for specific keywords. Learning about the most commonly used job titles for each industry can help you determine which titles are best for your resume and cover letter.

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