5 Rules for Effective Job Titles

Oct 29, 2013

As the first thing candidates see, in bold colored lettering, the job title greatest impact on whether candidates will click on a listing. Here’s how to write good ones.

  • Be specific. An effective title contains information regarding the industry, function, and level of the role. For example, instead of using “Analyst” as a job title, use more descriptive titles like “Senior Financial Analyst” and “Entry Level Business Analyst.”
  • Avoid abbreviations and acronyms. Terms like “Mgr,” “Mgmt,” and “Sr” are not consistently used and can be confusing to candidates. Spell out words fully to ensure that the title is comprehensive and distributed to the correct audience. The exception to this rule is use of common industry specific abbreviations or acronyms. For example, it is preferable to use “CRM” in place of “customer relationship management.” Industry accepted acronyms are also acceptable, such as “RN” for “registered nurse.”
  • Make it easy to understand for candidates outside of your company. Your company may use fun and eccentric job titles like “Customer Happiness Advocate,” or perhaps your company uses internal job IDs like “Team Lead II (028959).” Remember that external job candidates are likely to be unfamiliar with the unique naming and hierarchy of your company’s positions. Well-qualified candidates may not make the connection between the job title and their own qualifications and therefore not click on the ad. Keep your job title basic but descriptive.
  • Avoid superlatives or idiomatic phrases. Some companies like to use idiomatic phrases to describe employees, like “rock star,” “ninja,” and “guru.” Spoken informally, such phrases imply expertise and high performance. However, colloquial phrases are easily misclassified by search engines and can negatively impact the relevancy of your job description. Your job listing might appear on the wrong queries or to fail to show for the right ones.
  • Leave out extraneous information. Since the job title is the most important factor in determining relevancy, keep it clean and uncluttered. Do not include salary or location information, job codes, non-alphabet symbols or any other information not relevant to the title itself. Place these details within the job description.
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