How to Negotiate for a Better Job Title

It happens. You get a job offer with an acceptable salary and perks. But sometimes, your job title could use a bit more improvement.

Many years ago, I was a restaurant manager. A couple of years into the job, I was offered a promotion at a different division of the company. I was set to replace a director, but instead of offering me the director title, I was told I was still going to be a manager with a modest salary increase. I negotiated and we reached a compromise. I was promoted to general manager of the catering division.

Had I not said anything, I would have remained at the manager level, for who-knows-how-many-years. I”m glad I brought it up then.

It’s just semantics or a play on words, some might say. I disagree. When applying for an internal transfer or moving to a new job, a lot – most importantly, your offer and compensation package, hinges on your most recent job title.

Think about it. If you were a hiring manager, are you more likely to hire a person who has been a social media coordinator or a social media expert? What would grab your attention more – a volunteer coordinator or a community outreach manager? An executive assistant or an administrative clerk?

Negotiation need not be painful. Here’s how to negotiate with ease:

  • Ask for a re-evaluation. Even if you’re not getting a promotion but your responsibilities and contributions to the company have increased, ask for your job title to be re-evaluated or bring it up during a performance review.
  • Strengthen your case. Keep track of your recent achievements, continuing education credits, certifications and all the relevant qualifications you have. I would list those down. It is not uncommon to forget when you are in front of your supervisor and you only have 10 minutes to be heard. So keep detailed notes and bring those with you.
  • Consider your company’s current structure. If there are a number of people with job titles like yours and all are reporting directly to managers, your assistant manager aspiration might not be in the stars. Yet. You might have to prove some things and have some significant accomplishments before that extra reporting layer is added.
  • Do some research in your industry. If you’re in finance, you might be in luck because managers, assistant managers, directors, assistant directors and VPs that are all too common in the industry. If you’re in the hospitality business, the levels are not that much.
  • Don’t give up. A “no” now is not a “no” forever. Keep persevering.

Does your current job title make you cringe or desiring for more? Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation as I did? Do share your negotiation tactics!

Mira Reverente

Mira Reverente is a journalist, editor and blogger based in Southern California. She is always on the look-out for uplifting and local stories to tell from personal finance to fitness to family events. She currently writes and edits for a few regional publications. More

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