Don't Let A Job Title Influence You
An IT Job Title Is Not Always Indicative Of The Role
There is an age-old adage that goes something like this: don’t interview for the job at hand; interview for the job you want. While it offers pretty vague advice, the principle is still somewhat valid in today’s IT job market. If you are looking to start or extend your career in IT, you should be focusing your efforts on looking a little bit deeper.
A mistake that many candidates make is focusing too much on the actual job title and not looking at other factors related to the position.
Often, many candidates can be intimidated by a ‘Senior’ designation or put off by the word ‘Assistant’ in the job title. Don’t let that person be you. You’re smarter than that. Below are some factors that could be better indicators of a position than the posted title:
Larger companies can often be stingy in offering up impressive job titles as recruiting and HR policies have very defined protocols for such matters. So don’t dwell on the big bold letters at the top of the job posting (as it very likely could have been created by someone completely unrelated to your discipline).
A ‘Senior DBA’ at a small company might have a more impressive title, but working as a ‘Database Specialist’ at a large multi-national corporation may be a better overall position for you in terms of exposure, technology and team dynamics. Large companies typically have far greater opportunities for career advancement and may be able to offer better financial and benefits packages. But they may not offer you a sexy title. On the other hand, a small company may be willing to give you the job title that you really want just by asking nicely. You can’t get what you don’t ask for.
Like a good job seeker, you are very aware of the industry that you are researching. As a skilled IT professional, you realize that your skills are very transferable and in demand. A company in an IT-related field (for instance, software development or web hosting) may be in a better position to offer a stimulating and more progressive IT environment than, say, a shoe manufacturer. Bring your skills to the industry that best matches your interests and aptitudes, regardless of what your business card may say.
It’s all about the tech! Read the job profile closely and see if you can get an idea of the type of infrastructure that you would be working on. A job title means very little if you spend your days helping end-users fix Windows 10 problems if you would preferably be deploying large-scale server clusters to the cloud.
Ask yourself a fundamental question when you look at a job profile: would this job excite me? Remember, it is the job that you will be performing and not the title.
Your Interests and Experiences
As each candidate offers a unique set of skills, an interview should revolve around the interests and experiences of the said individual. As a candidate, it is your responsibility to offer this information to an interviewer so that they can be as informed as possible. Do not confine your answers to the limit of the job title at hand: use this meeting as an opportunity to discuss your experiences and knowledge in other related areas. If you are interviewing for an IT Help-Desk position, but you have some web development skills, mention it. The job may have some unpublished requirements that could fit your unique skill set.
At the end of the day, you will need to decide what is a good fit for you and whether you can live with a formal job title that you do not like. Just keep in mind that a job title actually means very little as it is the work that you do that is important.
Ultimately, a future employer will not care what your previous job title was as long as you can demonstrate that you performed it well and it is relevant to his/her current needs. And to be frank, the glory of a sweet job title can rub off very quickly if you don’t love what you do.
My advice: find the right job and then call it whatever you want.