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How to Ask Your Boss for a Title Change

by Lisa McQuerrey, studioD

Certain job titles carry a sense of respect and accomplishment, and the title you hold can impact your career outlook and the way colleagues and customers see and respond to you. If your title is not a reflection of your position or your responsibilities, have a talk with your boss about changing it. Provide supporting evidence to explain why you think the move is in order.

Confusing Title

In some instances, a title doesn't accurately describe what you do, which can create confusion for customers or clients. For example, titles like “specialist” or “representative” are vague and don't provide enough information. In some cases, clients and colleagues might not understand what you do, and won't look in the right place to request your services. If you find that your title gets in the way of how you perform your job, relay this information to your manager when you ask for a change of title. Explain the problems with your current job title, and the benefits of changing a generic title such as "Marketing Specialist" to something more specific like "Online Marketing Director." Make sure the new title you suggest doesn't interfere with or supersede any existing titles in your organization.

Lack of Authority

If you’re in a position of managing or supervising others, or if your job requires you to interact with customers and make decisions for the company in an authoritarian role, your title should reflect your standing with the company. If your title doesn't convey your position, customers and subordinates might be less inclined to respect your authority. Explain to your manager how a change in title will make it official, or at least more apparent, that you have company-sanctioned authority.

Increased Responsibility

If you’ve seen your work responsibilities slowly increase over time without a change in your title or compensation structure, it might be time to sit down with your boss and negotiate both a new title and a new salary package. Develop a written proposal that details your responsibilities and highlights significant achievements or contributions. Arrange a time to talk privately with your boss, perhaps in conjunction with a performance evaluation, and state your case. Consult the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook to gauge typical salaries for the position you hold.

Negotiation Points

If your company is on a tight budget, your boss might be happy to give you an elevated title rather a raise. Lofty titles can be beneficial to your resume in the event you conduct a job search, so the trade-off can be worth it. When you talk to your boss about changing your title, do so in private. If you have a particular title in mind, suggest it to your boss, using caution not to overstep your bounds by jumping title categories, such as going from “coordinator” to “vice president” if the normal progression is to become a “manager” and “director” before becoming VP.

About the Author

Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

Photo Credits

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