Job title: How much does it matter to write it well and why
Think about what happens when someone you don’t know or maybe you’ve only heard of asks you for a connection on LinkedIn: the first thing you probably look at is their job title. And yes, because how that person describes themselves in a few words is the essence of their professionalism at that particular moment.
But what is the job title really and how to write it at its best?
Let’s try to understand more starting from the definition of the job title and then moving on to practical suggestions with some examples and trying to understand what are the advantages for recruiters and candidates.
- What is a job title
- How and why to write a good job title
- The job title in the job ad: advantages for recruiters
- Job titles in CVs: advantages for candidates
- Job title: examples and differences
- Skill and job title: how to create the perfect match
What is a job title
If we were to rely on a mere translation, we could say that the job title is a job qualification, a job title that, like the title of a book or a newspaper article, describes in a few words the position a person holds within his or her work context.
It is the role that a person takes on and in which they identify themselves and others identify them.
Depending on the “world” to which one belongs, a job title may include the level of the position one has reached or the degree of responsibility one has in one’s company or team. The job title plays a crucial role in recruiting, both for those who are applying and for those who are looking for people to hire.
On the candidate’s side, it is the fundamental element, the way to introduce yourself to a recruiter and make it clear, in a few seconds, that you are suitable for that role, even if it doesn’t quite match the title of the position on offer.
For the recruiter it is a way to attract good candidates, to make it clear, from the very first lines, who he or she is and what he or she is looking for, and to encourage that matching between those who have the right skills and those who have started a search and selection process.
This aspect is far from negligible because if a recruiter uses a “fancy” job title that can only be understood by those who are in that company, it risks not being understood by those who view the ad, unless the job description does not describe well the role and the so-called tasks.
But that’s not all: you risk your job posting not being easily found. Think about how people actively search: essentially online.
There are those who search directly through Google and the search engine, even taking into account the SEO tricks of those who wrote the ad (i.e. techniques to end up in the top positions), rewards the results that are more in line with what the user has asked.
To give you an example: if an aspiring candidate is looking for a job as a data analyst and the company has instead focused on a job title that is “Data Tamer”, Google may assess that there is no real correspondence between what the user is looking for and what the company offers. The same principle applies to all sites where people are looking for work.
Sometimes companies, as it could be the case just mentioned and as it is very common in the United States, use more creative job titles because they think, in this way, to differentiate themselves from competitors and at the same time to convey their culture, their approach, their values.
But you will agree that all of these aspects are better addressed in the description of the ad rather than in the job title, which must attract candidates because of its clarity and transparency – thus making the company trustworthy especially if it is not so well known – and allow the ad to be found easily.
How and why to write a good job title
At this point, how do you write a good job title and why is it so important?
Here are 5 tips.
1. Find the right keywords
As we were saying before, candidates essentially search online and LinkedIn itself has an internal search engine that, given a certain keyword, suggests the most in-line ads.
That’s why it’s fundamental, before starting to write the job title, to put yourself in the candidate’s shoes and think about how they might come to your ad.
You can do this by using the typical tools of SEO starting with Google itself: start typing the job title you would like to write on the white bar and see what the search engine suggests. Otherwise, you can use a freemium tool like Ubersuggest that also reports monthly search volumes – how many searches for that keyword are made in that time frame – and other related keywords.
Does any of this seem to limit your imagination? Even if it does, searchability is a factor – you can always use your creativity in the rest of the ad.
2. Be specific
A job title must be clear, it must indicate a well-defined role, that’s why it is advisable that you are as specific as possible, not only to make yourself understood, but also to distinguish yourself from all the other ads.
To give an example: are you looking for a journalist? Yes, it’s true that by now everyone knows who they are and what they do, but a journalist in a company might be different than one employed by a newspaper. If you want him or her to have skills of a certain kind and work on your blog, you might ask for a brand journalist or a web writer with journalistic skills. Same thing if you’re looking for an engineer for a research and development project. Add to the word engineer the fact that he or she will be working in a specific lab and other concise details that make it clear from the job title that you don’t want a “simple” civil engineer.
3. Avoid industry jargon
There are job titles that are known to everyone, others only to people in the industry, which is why if you’re looking for a newbie, and if you want your ad to get around as much as possible, it’s best to skip the corporate jargon. The same thing could happen when the HR team wants to include identifiers that, however, only those who work in human resources recognize, such as abbreviations. A few examples? Writing Sr instead of senior and more.
Even then, it’s best to avoid so that you’re understood by everyone.
4. Enter the level of seniority
In addition, it is important to make it clear from the job title whether you are looking for an experienced person or a junior profile. This is because if your recruitment process is reserved for a profile with a certain seniority, you will avoid people with little experience applying. If you state this from the outset, you avoid wasting time.
The opposite is also true: if you say in the job title that you are offering an internship or entry level position, you will avoid candidates with a lot of experience who, at the first interview, whether by phone or live, might be disappointed by the position you are offering and not proceed with the selection process. It is better to make all the necessary aspects clear.
5. Consider publishing the ad with different job titles
If it is true that you need to be specific, you can also consider giving different job titles to the same ad. This is because maybe not everyone is looking for the same thing, and there are contexts in which the same position can be searched for, as well as defined, in different ways (the so-called related ones we were talking about earlier).
A web writer can also be an excellent content manager or content editor, they are not entirely synonymous, but they have several things in common.
Write the job title well: advantages for recruiters
That said, what are the benefits of using the perfect job title for a recruiter and for recruiting in general? There are several and among them, as we mentioned, there is the possibility to facilitate the matching between the company that is looking for new resources and the most suitable candidate.
This allows you to carry out, even if unconsciously, a sort of “preliminary assessment”: a person who does not know that professional role or who does not identify with it, will think twice before applying or may ask you for further clarification before doing so. All this avoids wasting resources and time and reduces the cost per hire which, as we know, includes recruitment expenses, subscriptions to job listing sites, the use of ATS software for search and solution, administrative costs and the delicate phase of onboarding.
The correct job title, together with an effectively written ad text , are therefore fundamental elements in creating that first relationship between company and candidate.
Also, from the point of view of employer branding and attractiveness, the job title represents the way in which the company communicates: if it is cryptic, if it is not understood, it is certainly not a good business card.
Job titles in CVs: advantages for candidates
From the candidate’s point of view, a clearly and specifically written job title means several things: it means immediately understanding whether the job is right for him/her and what skills he/she should bring to the table. And when it is the candidate himself who identifies with a job title, it means that he can condense the skills he has acquired and the ability to carry out a certain type of profession into a few words. Knowing how to define yourself in a concise way is not easy, but it is important to give value to what you have done so far and to find the ideal job.
It is therefore essential for candidates to avoid imperfect translations from English that in Italian do not mean anything – and this is also true for recruiters – as well as to avoid writing a job title that is too long. At the end of the day, it’s still a title and as such it should be concise and announce what’s coming next.
Job title: examples and differences
To give a few examples that are useful to both recruiters and candidates, if a company is looking for a growth hacker, they should use this job title, even if most people don’t know what the role is or what it does. Why? Basically, because it’s specific and targeted to those who have developed the necessary skills for that position. It goes without saying that if a recruiter has to explain what a growth hacker does and make it clear to everyone, he or she is not targeting the selection towards the right profiles. This is the classic example of a “difficult” but necessary job title.
The case of a job title as a brand champion is different: if there are no other words to accompany it and define what it does, even the mere translation does not help the candidate. Of course, those who already work for the company might understand what you’re looking for because they know the jargon or know colleagues who are brand champions, but from the outside they don’t necessarily understand, on the contrary. Same thing for “Ninja marketing expert” or “Executive Sensei.” If it’s clear who a ninja or sensei is, it’s not clear what role they should play in the company….
Skill and job title: how to create the perfect match
In addition to what we have said so far, a great help can be the new Skill and Job Titles system by Inda, a solution that helps recruiters not only to have more options to write the job title, but also to use the suggestions given by the technology to search for the right candidate.
If, as a recruiter, you are clear about the skills that the candidate should have, you can simply insert them to get a list of skills to go with the original. This is also true in the case of a specific job title, you only need to enter it for Inda to return a list of job titles similar the one you entered.
In this way, you are sure to publish the accurate ad and to give the title that works best in terms of talent attraction.
Of course, if, as we were saying, the job title is only a part of the ad, it is very important to write it ad hoc and paying attention to different aspects. We at Inrecruiting can help you.
Giornalista, content strategist e formatrice
Siciliana trapiantata a Milano, città che ama molto come la sua terra. Giornalista, SEO copywriter, formatrice e amante del live tweeting, scrive per varie testate e blog aziendali di lavoro, risorse umane e tanto altro.
Ha scritto nel 2020 il suo primo libro “Scrivere per informare” insieme a Riccardo Esposito, edito da Flacowski e nel 2021 altri due: “L’impresa come media” e “Content marketing per eventi“.
Ama il mare, la bici, la pizza, i libri, le chiacchiere all’aperto.