Now Hiring: Social Media Steamboat Captain
There are lots of titles I like to call myself. Reddit Overlord, Social Media Lumberjack, Marketing Fisherman – just to name a few; however, I find that the appropriate time for those names is when I’m among friends discussing people who actually refer to themselves like that. I’m sure you’ve all come across the sometimes funny, generally obscure, and usually head-scratch-inducing titles some companies use to promote positions within their organizations. After doing some online digging I’ve pulled out some of the pros and cons to coming up with these titles and really what having a goofy name boils down to.
I’d like to preface the rest of the article by saying this is solely my opinion, so don’t let my view take away from your dreams of becoming the next “Search Engine Sherpa”.
First up and probably most importantly, why bother coming up with a tongue-in-cheek job title? Simple: it may help you get noticed. If you’re job hunting in this economy, you need all the tools you can muster to help you stand out. If you can brand yourself as something outlandish, and are able to back up your title with solid experience, you’ll send a great message to an organization.
Second: silly titles can help you expand a company’s brand. I would advise against “Mortgage Magician” if you’re applying to Goldman Sachs, but if you’re applying to a company that’s laid back and encourages a fun working environment, a goofy title might help you assimilate into the company culture faster.
Third: a unique title could potentially lead to more conversations and aid in networking. Keyword – potentially. Unique titles will aid in networking if you’re engaging with other people and companies that share the same values as you do. I highly doubt a financial institution would take you seriously if you described your lending strategy as “ninja-like”.
Now to the part which seemed to come easier: The Cons.
For starters, some of the job titles you want to use are too obscure. Remember, you’re trying to create a title that emphasizes what value you bring to a company. This isn’t seventh grade: the luxury days of choosing a ridiculous AIM screename are behind us. It’s time to really demonstrate why you are good at what you do, not that you’re the DaSureShot112.
Next up, having a creative title can make you come across as bit pretentious. If you’re going to say you’re a “guru,” you’d better be able to wow everyone you talk to with your knowledge of an industry, and I’m not talking about just knowing your info, I’m talking about you needing to have thought provoking statements flowing out of you every time you open your mouth. That sentiment is echoed throughout the hiring community and lot of decision makers are starting to get on board with the idea that the creative titles are becoming too overplayed. 2012 could be the year this trend dies out. The industry is becoming saturated with gurus, champions, and masterminds leading to the question, whatever happened to common titles like coordinator, director, and executive?
Another con, which a lot of people don’t think about, is a creative title can distract the person who is trying to hire you. Unless you plan on working at hip, new-age company, a lot of organizations are still old school when it comes to hiring new talent. This means some of your recruiters are probably your parent’s age. Your mom may think it’s cute you call yourself the “Happiness Advocate,” but the person interviewing may think you’re a moron.
Finally, if you’re going to have a creative title, you need to think about the long-term implications. Today, you’re riding high as the “Web Kahuna,” but what about 10 years down the road? Nobody wants to be known as the creepy person who continually refers to him/herself as the “Big Cheese” when everyone else is going by “Director,” “Coordinator,” or “Executive.”
Really, having a title depends on the person and the organization. If you’re trying to get noticed by a younger, more laid back company, you have solid experience, and you’re able to carry a title without becoming too full of yourself, go for it. Just know how to adapt your title if you ever decide to look elsewhere for employment. That being said, I am still against creative titles. I’d probably get fed up really easily if I had to take direction from a “Corporate Magician” or a “Master Handshaker” as opposed to a “Director” or an “Executive.”