The Different Types of Job Titles
Every position within an organization is assigned a job title, which is associated with certain tasks and responsibilities. The title itself may give an indication of these responsibilities or simply denote a seniority level.
The job titles employed can vary according to industry, with different terms used to denote positions at each level. The same position may also have a different title depending on company size and location.
Despite differences, however, job titles sit within a clear hierarchical company structure in both large and smaller businesses.
Each job function will occupy a place in a company’s organizational chart.
Job titles are of use to employers as they aid HR and recruitment processes, indicate compensation levels, create a chain of command (denoting reporting and line management relationships) and demonstrate a path of career progression.
For employees, job titles help to accurately reflect their work and contribution to the company.
Consistency is important as job titles are used to evaluate an individual’s job history – an inaccurate or obscure job title may lead to an oversight in the application screening processes.
Knowing the importance of a job title can help job seekers research jobs more efficiently, display progression within their careers and write a stronger resume and cover letter to beat ATS software and catch the eye of recruiters.
Job titles are names or designations given to company roles. Linguistically, they most commonly perform the following functions:
They illustrate job level – Job titles may be assigned to demonstrate the seniority of a position and indicate how it fits into the overall company structure. For example, director, supervisor, manager or assistant.
They describe job function – Titles may serve the main purpose of revealing the responsibilities of a job role. These titles are self-explanatory, revealing an employee’s daily or most prominent task. For example, receptionist, events coordinator, programmer, plumber or accountant.
They depict both of the above – Some job titles demonstrate not only rank but role responsibilities too. For example, marketing & communications manager, senior accountant, head chef, customer service manager or paralegal.
Within organizations, job titles are used to categorize roles, create structure and aid governance. From the outside, job titles help clients and customers connect with the member of personnel most suited to fulfill their needs.
For customer-facing roles, a title that illustrates both job level and function is most beneficial.
As an employee, it is important to understand the nuances of different job titles and the impression they make. With this knowledge, you can make sure your job title at your current place of employment accurately reflects your responsibilities.
If it does not, your title may do you a disservice when searching for your next opportunity. When your resume is considered for a role, your past job titles will likely draw first attention.
A job title should accurately reflect your level and role within the organization so it can contribute meaningfully to your resume. If possible, your past job titles should display a narrative of progression throughout your career.
Bear in mind your job title will also be featured in any references you receive from the company, so ensure it is accurate and helps you to sell yourself.
It is also important to understand job titles when you are looking at career development. An awareness of what different job titles reflect in terms of level, responsibility and remuneration will help you to target your job search to roles appropriate to you.
If you are looking for a new job, searching for and securing your desired role can be made easier and more efficient by using job titles appropriately.
Job titles can be meaningfully utilized by job hunters in the following ways:
To help search for a job opportunity – Job postings contain keywords to reach the audience they aim to attract – one of these key phases is the job title itself. When searching for opportunities on career sites, using job titles as keywords will refine your search to return opportunities of interest at the appropriate level.
To give an accurate reflection of your job history on your resume – It is important to use fitting job titles on your resume as they represent the breadth of your responsibility in past roles – condensed into a few easily consumable words. The job title of a role gives an impression of its level, complexity and the talent and skills required. Ensure recruiters come to the correct assumptions about your suitability for a role by maximizing your use of job titles.
To beat applicant tracking system (ATS) technology – It is important to reflect the title of the job you are applying for within your resume and cover letter. Most organizations screen applications using ATS technology which is programmed to recognize keywords and phrases, such as job title matches.
To conduct scoping research into jobs – Sites like Glassdoor allow employees and job seekers to research average salaries by industry, role and location. They also provide information relating to the experiences of people in similar roles across companies or employees within a certain company.
Job titles are important to employers for three main reasons:
- They show progression and can outline a career pathway – When recruiting, employers will review the job titles of candidates’ previous roles as they are handy indicators of career progression, demonstrating ability to handle increasing responsibility. They are also beneficial for displaying a career ladder within an organization, attracting new talent and encouraging employees to strive for the next promotion. Having a structured organizational set of job titles with clear progression pathways will help to highlight future career routes within the company.
They determine compensation – Job titles are often used to indicate job levels. These levels help to keep track of employee progression and are also tied to salary brackets. A job title, therefore, specifies the level of compensation for the role. Keeping track of employees in this way helps to ensure labor vacancies are filled through the recruitment of a position of the appropriate level, both in terms of company budget and candidate experience.
They are useful for administration – During the recruitment process, assigning a role to a specific job title helps to identify the vacancy amongst others and track applications. A job reference may also be added to aid this process.
In larger companies, a formal set of job titles are used to indicate position levels and provide clear progression opportunity.
The table below gives examples of some common, progressive job titles within a typical company, along with alternative titles and a brief description of what each role entails.
Note that smaller companies may not follow such a set structure and that not all roles will be found within all organizations.
|Job Title||Common Applications/ Alternatives||Job Role|
|Chief experience officer||CEO||The lead member of any organization. A CEO is usually the owner or majority stakeholder of a company. They are responsible for making major corporate decisions and managing the overall operations and resources of an organization.|
The CEO role usually sits above the roles of the other sector chiefs (see below).
|Other C-level executives/chief XXX officer||Chief operations officer (COO), chief financial officer (CFO), chief technology officer (CTO), chief innovation officer (CIO), chief marketing officer (CMO), chief human resources officer (CHRO), chief user experience officer (CUEO)||The heads of each key department within the company. These are the company’s majority equity holders and owners. They are the main authority figures for the company from internal and external perception. Smaller companies may only have a few of the roles, most likely a COO, CFO and CIO.|
|Senior director, managing director or director of XXX||Director of operations, director of marketing, director of HR||The directors of the company’s departments. These roles report to the chief XXX officer relevant for their department or, if these roles do not exist, directly to the company CEO. These titles are not seen as appropriate for company owners, who should have roles titled from the first two brackets.|
|Assistant director, assistant XXX director, assistant director of XXX||Assistant director of finance, assistant director of marketing, assistant operations director||Supports the role of the director. If directors exist for each company department, assistant director roles may sit under each of these.|
|Executive vice president, senior vice president, vice president||Vice president (VP) of finance, senior vice president of marketing||Vice president roles report to the relevant director or, if no directors are in place, to a C-level executive. A company may have only one, or a selection, of vice president roles. These roles are only usually seen in larger companies requiring a stronger management structure.|
|Assistant vice president, associate vice president||Provides support to the vice president role. Reports to the vice president of the appropriate department.|
|Manager||Supervisor, lead, team leader||Individuals who are responsible for managing a team within a company department. They will be line managed by a senior member of staff within the department.|
|XXX manager||Community engagement manager, social media manager, customer relations manager||The title of 'manager' may also be used for those managing the application of a particular function or process.|
|Associate, representative||Marketing associate, customer service representative, finance associate||Roles with these titles are entry-level positions, which do not have management responsibilities. They will report to a line manager, likely within a specific department.|
|Clerk, assistant||Administrative assistant, office clerk||Assistant and support roles, often performing a specific function for a certain department or executive within the company (such as admin assistant to the COO).|
|Intern, aide||Marketing and communications intern, accounting intern, fundraising intern, nurse’s aide, aide to the XXX minister.||Intern roles are for students or recent graduates looking for experience to build their resumes. These positions may be full or part-time and paid or voluntary. The title of 'aide' tends to be given to an individual assisting the holder of a particular role. Intern titles tend to be more function or process-oriented.|
Different industries follow different conventions and structures when it comes to job titles.
Below is a summary of key industries, their employment growth prospects in the US, and the common job titles encountered within each.
All employment growth figures are taken from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Work in the agricultural sector involves the production of crops and livestock for consumption across the supply chain.
It can also extend to encompass land management, horticulture and plant scientist roles.
Employment of agricultural and food scientists is projected to grow 6% by 2029, whilst employment of farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers is predicted to decline 6% in the same period.
Job titles in agriculture include:
- Forestry manager
- Tree surgeon
- Food scientist
- Animal geneticist
The animal science and care sector covers a wide variety of jobs involving animals and has a diverse range of titles to match. Veterinary medicine is often the first sector that comes to mind, but there are many other care roles.
Employment of animal care and service workers is predicted to grow 22% by 2029, employment for animal trainers by 13% and opportunities for veterinarians by 16% – this is a much faster growth rate than the average projected across all occupations.
Animal care job titles include:
- Animal trainer
- Animal control officer
- Veterinary technician
- Rehabilitation specialist
- Veterinary radiologist
- Veterinarian (often with a specialism attached; for example, equine veterinarian, aquatic veterinarian)
- Veterinary chiropractor
- Veterinary pathologist
Jobs in business and business development can be found in a variety of sectors such as technology, finance, government, marketing and communications.
Employment in business occupations is estimated to grow by 5% by 2029.
Business job titles include:
- Project manager
- Assistant buyer
- Business development associate
- Business analyst
- Regional representative
- Global business administrator
- Director of international growth
Construction roles are available on residential, commercial, industrial and infrastructure projects. The sector has a range of unskilled and skilled roles, requiring different degrees of training and education.
Employment in the construction sector is projected to grow 3–4% by 2029.
Construction industry job titles include:
- Construction laborer
- Installers (for example, flooring, glaziers)
- Operating engineer
- Site manager
- Assistant project manager
- Project manager
- Construction manager
Customer service roles are client-facing roles within an industry, which maintain the connection between the service or product provider and their customers.
They may provide support with purchases, answer queries, provide technical support or handle complaints.
Customer service roles are found across most industries but tend to be most commonly associated with the retail and hospitality sectors. Employment in customer service is predicted to decline 2% by 2029.
Common job titles in customer service include:
- Help desk technician
- Online customer support
- Customer liaison officer
- Customer care operator
- Retail associate
- Customer service ambassador
- Account coordinator
Jobs in education have titles that represent a clear structural hierarchy based on levels of experience and academic qualifications.
There is a range of positions available in Education – beyond teaching roles – within primary, middle or high schools, or colleges and universities.
Demand for education roles is predicted to grow 4% by 2019.
Job titles in the education sector (school):
- Educational assistant
- Guidance counselor
- Resource coordinator
- Special education teacher
- Speech and language pathologist
- Business teacher
- Head of English literature
- Head of year
- Academic director
- Vice principle
Job titles in the education sector (college/university):
- Teaching assistant
- Research assistant
- Postdoctoral researcher
- Research associate
- Assistant professor
- Visiting assistant professor
- Associate professor
- Head of department
Engineering job titles vary depending upon the area of engineering an individual specializes in.
Engineering roles are expected to grow 4% by 2029.
Engineering job titles include:
- Aerospace engineer
- Materials engineer
- Biomedical engineer
- Quality control engineer
- Construction engineer
- Petroleum engineer
- Plant engineer
- Chief engineer
The banking and financial services industries have a wide range of career roles on offer, requiring different levels of training and education.
Most companies and organizations have a finance department, so there is potential to be in finance and work within another sphere, such as the NGO sector.
Employment of financial professionals is projected to grow 5% by 2029.
Job titles in finance/banking include:
The hospitality industry is broad and covers roles in restaurants, hotels and other recreational or leisure facilities.
Common areas of the hospitality industry include concierge, food operations, event planning and hotel management.
Employment in event planning is predicted to grow 8% by 2029, employment in foodservice management by 1%, and opportunities for chefs and cooks by 6%, whilst hotel management opportunities are projected to decline by 12%.
Hospitality role titles include:
- Hotel receptionist
- Guest services supervisor
- Front-of-house manager
- Events manager
- Sales and marketing manager
Individuals working in human resources (HR) manage the relationship between a company and its employees. They oversee recruitment and training & development, as well as legal compliance and employment law.
Employment of human resources specialists is estimated to grow 7% by 2029. This is faster than the average growth rate for all occupations, which stands at 5% over the same period.
Human resources job titles include:
- HR administrative assistant
- Assistant HR manager
- HR manager
- Employee relations manager
- Director of talent
- Director of employment
- Vice president of HR
- Director of human resources
- Chief human resources officer
IT jobs cover work involving all aspects of computers and assisting infrastructure – software, hardware, servers and networks.
Employment of software developers is projected to grow 22% by 2029, employment of developers and digital designers by 8%, opportunities for computer systems analysts by 7% and computer and information systems managers by 10%.
Employment of information security analysts is projected to increase by a huge margin of 31% by 2029.
Common job titles in IT include:
The manufacturing industry involves constructing or compiling products from their components or raw materials. It is a wide field with roles available in fields such as agricultural or food manufacturing, textile manufacturing, or technology manufacturing (such as computer or automobile manufacturing).
Employment opportunities in manufacturing are largely projected to decline over the next decade. Whilst industrial production employment is expected to grow by 1% by 2029, other manufacturing roles (such as assembly and quality control) in sectors including food, metal, plastics and stone manufacturing are expected to decline by a range of figures between 7% and 16%.
Manufacturing job titles include:
- Plant operator
- Packaging engineer
- Production technician
- Process control technician
- Instrument & automation technician
- Design engineer
- Development engineer
- Assembly supervisor
- Operations manager
- Assistant plant manager
- Chief manufacturing executive
- Chief quality control executive
Jobs in the marketing industry involve promoting products and services, to help raise brand or organizational profile and increase sales.
Work areas include brand strategy, optimizing communication and building client relationships.
Opportunities in marketing (at the management level) are predicted to grow by 6% by 2029, whilst market research analyst positions are expected to grow by a substantial 18% in the same period.
Common marketing job titles include:
- Adverting intern
- Market research analyst
- Account executive
- Product manager
- SEO manager
- Marketing and promotions manager
- Public relations coordinator
- Brand strategist
- Advertising director
- Director of marketing
- Chief marketing officer
Operations involves streamlining logistics and production, managing inventory, controlling quality, and ensuring each stage of the supply chain operates in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
Employment of logisticians is expected to grow 4% by 2029, whilst opportunities for business operations specialists are predicted to increase by 6%.
Common operations job titles include:
- Warehouse supervisor
- Operations assistant
- Supply chain specialist/coordinator
- Logistics coordinator
- Distribution supervisor
- Operations manager
- Chief operations officer
Sales jobs involve selling a product, service or concept to clients or customers. Entry-level sales jobs are often customer or client-facing, with more experienced roles covering sales strategy.
Employment for manufacturing sales representatives is expected to grow 2% by 2029, financial services sales roles by 4%, insurance sales roles by 5% and sales engineering roles by 6%.
Sales roles include:
- Sales assistant
- Sales associate
- Account manager/account representative
- Brand manager
- Sales engineer
- Sales operation coordinator
- Major accounts manager
- Director of sales
Job titles are important because they either explicitly reflect or become synonymous with a certain job function, its responsibilities and its level of seniority.
They create organizational structure within a company and clear career progression pathways – both within companies and across the industry.
Job titles can be used to aid job searches by using the relevant industry titles as keywords on career sites. This speeds up the process and increases the number of relevant roles returned by each search.
Using the right language when it comes to job titles strengthens a resume and cover letter, helping your application to beat ATS software. Also, ensuring the job titles listed on your resume accurately reflect your past roles will convey your comparable or foundational experience to recruiters, helping you to secure a new role at the next level.
Used correctly, job titles help you to sell yourself, displaying both your career progression and potential.