Friday, December 21, 2012

A Job by Any Other Name

The above linked article asks whether job titles are going the way of "the 8-track tape player, the Edsel, and the Dodo bird." Are job titles sooooo 20th century? 

It's a good point, though, and might give you some insight into how to construct your resume. If you have previous experience, whether part-time or fulltime, how does it help a prospective employer if you set down only that your title was "Chief Compliance Inspector of Widget Regulatory Qualifications" at XYZ Company?

Job titles have become obscure and obfuscatory. A secretary is now an "administrative assistant." A garbage collector is a "sanitation engineer." A "language arts pedagogical specialist" is still an English teacher. Hey--these are jobs with dignity, no problem there. But why add more syllables and specialized language when that only makes it harder to know what a job is?

Beyond my beef with ways to torture the English language, in many cases the job title often tells only a fraction of the story. In order to survive in a lousy economy, workers need to make themselves indispensable. In order to make themselves indispensable, they end up doing a little of this, a little of that--stuff they are good at, stuff the company needs, but not necessarily stuff that is in the job description.

Next time you put together a resume and think about job titles--or when you look at postings for jobs you might want to have--think about what value added you can bring to the table. Go beyond the job title.

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