Barista or Counter Person? Cast Member or Parking Lot Attendant? Genius or Clerk?
Starbucks, Disney, and Apple figured out a long time ago that making employees feel valuable makes for more productive employees, attracts better job applicants, and even gives businesses a more upbeat atmosphere that employees and customers alike enjoy. And job titles cost absolutely nothing – they’re just a creative way of presenting something that could be as familiar as cashier or salesperson.
If you’re sick of being just another Administrative Specialist or Project Manager, take some initiative and create your own moniker that will attract clients and potential employers and put a little more caffeine in your identity, your networking, and even your business cards.
Here are a few key qualities of attention-grabbing job titles I’ve noticed lately, and examples as they appear on business cards:
Example: Blo Boss
Really. I’m not making this one up. Blo Boss is the alter title for the Appointment-Setter/Receptionist at a hair salon that specializes in shampoo and blow-dries. Double and triple entendres aside, the title Blo Boss induces, well, excitement, curiosity, a bit of nervous laughter that makes you want to know more about this person. The titillator could be risky, but then again, when the underlying job is innocent of any real monkey-business it can show that you have a sense of humor and that you, as a matter of fact, aren’t afraid of taking a risk to make a strong impression. But, this strategy may not be ideal for more risk-averse careers, such as actuaries or accountants, or careers where any kind of suggestive teasing is more creepy than cute, such as dentists or driving instructors.
The Witty Bombast
Example: SEO Mastermind
His co-workers know him as the guy who does the website. But by giving himself an exaggerated description of his job, the bombast gives off the impression that he is self-deprecating and able to poke fun at himself while still managing to come off as knowing what he’s doing. Bombasts are walking a fine line that people actually buy. If the mastermind didn’t know what he was doing, he’d never be confident enough to poke fun of himself. So maybe he is a mastermind…or guru, superpower, king, or extraordinaire.
Example: The Morning Person (Also Human Resources Manager)
In this case, the Human Resources Manager uses the workplace personality she’s developed to distinguish herself. She’s not just the go-to person for your questions about cashing in your 401K and taking off for a beach somewhere, she’s also the one who turns on the lights in the morning, answers the phone with a pleasant voice, and gets the business day going smoothly and efficiently. Everyone needs a morning person in the office. She’s that person. She’s needed, helpful, and pleasant. If it’s your personality that you offer as much or more than your skills, you may want to try it. Maybe you’re The Motivator, The Coach, The Consensus-Builder, The Organizer, The Problem-Solver, or even The Devil’s Advocate
Example: Relationship and Revenue Builder
Whether this person is a sales exec, a manager, or a marketing associate, what he wantsyou to know is his bottom line. This is what I do. This is how I contribute. This is why I get paid the big bucks. Other bottom-lines include Closer, Fixer, Dealmaker, Collector, Networker, and Budget-Cutter.
A friend of mine who writes all the copies for her company’s promotional materials started out with the title of Copywriter. Not bad, but Wordsmith has such a renaissance-like feel to it, doesn’t it? Elevating her creative position from hack writer to artistic craftsman, she sounds more valuable, her work feels more valuable, and other people treat her time and work with more respect. Other fancy words I’ve seen that add a touch of gravitas and can be sprinkled into more ordinary titles include Liaison, Innovator, Artist, and the word Creative used as a noun instead of an adjective.
The Old Stalwart – With a Twist
Example: Director of Crazy Ideas That Just Might Work
Some words still hold that mystique of cachet and success no matter how overused or everyday they may be. Start with a zany or creative description of what you do and tack on an old stalwart for a memorable and snappy juxtaposition. Good ol’ boys to use: Executive, Strategist, Analyst, Chief, or President.
Job titles can do a lot for you – or they can do nothing. A boring business card with a boring job title gets tossed. A creative job title makes people look twice, maybe makes them chuckle, and tells them you’ve got something unique about you. That special something might be an extremely wacky way of looking at the world, but people want to work with interesting people who will help them see things in new ways. Is your boring job title hiding what’s so great about you? Maybe it’s time to unleash your fascinating self with a new identity. Tell the world what they don’t know about you.
Bill Post, Small Business Research Analyst, has been providing research on issues of concern to small businesses for 123Print.com for three years. Prior to his involvement with 123Print, Bill was a small business owner himself, providing marketing and branding services to other small businesses in the Washington, DC metro area. Before working with 123Print, Bill spent several years after receiving his degree in the fast-paced corporate world. It was there that Bill not only honed the skills he uses to help small businesses get ahead, but it is also where he realized that he’d rather help the little guy prosper than make huge corporations money.