Creative Job Titles: How They Can Hurt You
Creative Job Titles: How They Can Hurt You
Creative job titles are becoming normal. I’ve come across job seekers with the title of “Chaos Manager,” “Strategy Partner,” “Growth Hacker,” “Sustainability Advocate” or “Director of Corporate Responsibility.” Many of those titles reflect recent business trends, such as those toward disruptive technology, collaboration, social responsibility, and marketing with stories (“Chief Storyteller”). Others are simply misguided attempts to be clever.

Fortune Magazine recently described the problem with creative job titles: “Not only do ‘creative’ job titles confuse clients, but they can also seriously hurt job seekers in the digital era. ‘Nobody reads resumes — we search our database using keywords and if your resume turns up, then we scan it — so no one’s impressed by cool stuff like witty job titles,’ Henry Goldbeck, president of a Vancouver-based recruiting firm, stated.”

Applicant tracking systems have many limitations. A lack of humor and a failure to appreciate creative expression are high among them.

While some creative titles are self-evident, others require that job seekers carefully explain what they do in terms more likely to be familiar with their audience. For example, Chaos Manager has its roots in the attempt to manage turbulence in companies, perhaps due to a change in culture or to extremely fast growth. Therefore, a Chaos Manager might also want to use the words “organizational development” or “cultural change agent” or similar words in describing accomplishments and skills. Better yet, the Chaos Manager may want to re-title the job to fit the expectations of hiring managers and recruiters in other companies.

Job applicants also have to be careful of artificially inflated titles (Chief Marketing Guru) in smaller companies that do not transfer well into larger companies (where a “guru” may be equal to Marketing Director). An inflated title alone will not carry a job applicant into a position; it has to be backed by real achievements and contributions.

By all means, you and your company should be able to indulge in creativity and fun when choosing titles, but be aware of the drawbacks once you start looking for that next great job. At Robin’s Resumes®, your Writer-in-Chief is happy to help.