The job of writing job titles is tricky – challenging, to say the least.
Add to that the complexity involved when employers have an open position and need just the right attention-grabbing title to lure quality candidates to click on the advertisement. Searching job titles is how most careerists research job openings.
According to Leonard Palomino in 5 Rules for Effective Job Titles, “As the first thing candidates see, in bold colored lettering, the job title (has) greatest impact on whether candidates will click on a listing.”
In reading the explanations behind each of the five tips Palomino provides, the gist of the message seems to be to keep the job title simple and to the point, while also not making assumptions – such as assuming all applicants will search using abbreviations and acronyms such as “Mgr” for Manager.
As well, he encourages employers to make the title pop with brevity and cross-organizational clarity, saving additional information to be presented later in the actual position description.
Specifically, Palomino lists the following five rules:
1. Be specific
2. Avoid abbreviations and acronyms
3. Make it easy to understand for candidates outside of your company
4. Avoid superlatives or idiomatic phrases
5. Leave out extraneous information
MATTERS OF LENGTH
In the article, Long Job Descriptions and Titles Can Hurt You. And So Can Short Ones, Chris Forman addressed the dichotomy between too much or too little in regard to job titles. He also dove into “click-to-apply” ratios, explaining that, “Click-to-apply tracks the number of candidates viewing a job advertisement who then go on to complete an application.”
Using a specialized application that tracked “400,000 job seekers looking at job advertisements across various platforms,” the analysis concluded there was “a clear ROI hot spot for titles containing 50–60 characters,” outperforming other titles 30–40%, according to Forman.
[Related: How to Write the Ultimate Job Description]
WATERS THAT ARE MUDDIED
While shorter job titles performed a bit better than longer titles, Forman also explained that the drop off for longer job titles wasn’t all that much and that “clear and descriptive title content may have greater influence on a candidate’s decision to apply.”
VALUE OF KEYWORDS
Focusing on keywords is another important aspect of creating a job title that draws in applicants.
In Alison Doyle’s article, “Learn About the Different Types of Job Titles,” her advice to job seekers sends a signal to employers to ensure they are using the most commonly searched keywords in their job titles: “Using keywords to job search will help refine your search to quickly find jobs that are a match. You can use job titles to narrow down jobs you’re interested in based on responsibilities or level.”
Doyle continues by offering a robust listing of job titles, categorized by business area like Administrative, Banking, Consulting, Corporate, etc.; by industry, for example, Creative Industry or Service Industry; by Skilled Trade and more. The lists are intricate and link through to even more lists.
Some of the takeaways from Doyle’s article include that clarity and brevity are essential, with some job titles focusing on the function, some focusing on level, and yet others focusing on both.
It’s important to understand when to use which type of job title. Oftentimes, one industry may get swept up in certain types of titles that become the standard throughout the rest of the industry.
As such, writing an effective job title – one that initially gets clicks and ultimately draws the candidate to apply for a position – means being easy to locate (i.e., using more commonplace and easily recognizable job titles with the right keywords).
[Related: Use Our Easy & Effective Job Descriptions]
That said, while some employees assert they aren’t attached to impressive job titles, others may feel differently, desiring a title that proves their stature and level of expertise.
Maybe it’s because they have scratched their way to the top and want to have the title to show for it. Or, perhaps they desire a title that sells their value to potential clients. Further, it could be that they desire a sexy title, one that sings when they see it on their business card or published in their digital signature.
Since the employer may get dinged for using too-creative titles because they won’t be easily discovered during keyword searches, one solution may be to prominently expand on the position title within the position description. In other words, home in on the most-crisp and commonly used position title to lure the candidate in, but then quickly entice them further with a more compelling position description that appeals to their goals for career advancement or innovation or digital exploration or people influencing, etc.
Or, take a calculated risk and blend both when creating a position tile: a commonplace title spiced up with a bit of flair to draw in those seekers who may otherwise continue looking for that right, more well-developed title and opportunity. A quick functional keyword search on Glassdoor’s Jobs link will help get the creative juices flowing.
Attracting quality applicants who apply for the right opportunity requires a multifaceted approach, not the least of which is authoring a job title that crushes. It also involves a world of nurturing.