In a Small Business, Everyone Does Multiple Jobs. How Do You Choose Accurate Titles?

by Evil HR Lady on October 10, 2018

I always find the job title “secretary” fascinating. It’s both an administrative support person, almost always non-exempt, and not responsible for high-level activities, and an exceedingly high government official, with incredibly complex and varied responsibilities, some of whom are responsible for literally hundreds of thousands of employees.

The first definition of secretary has fallen out of fashion and been replaced with the “administrative assistant” role, but if we say, “Mary is a secretary,” it’s doubtful your next question will be, “Which cabinet post does she hold?”

 In small to medium businesses, titles can be just as confusing because people often do numerous different things. When I worked for a company with more than 30,000 employees, I was one of 300 or so HR people, so my title could very accurately reflect the actual job I did. But, if you’re one of 20 people in an office, your responsibilities can be completely varied. You could be a trained accountant that also handles payroll, new employee onboarding, and helps out with the marketing. You could be the operations director who works with your manufacturer in China, and creates marketing plans and is responsible for keeping the bathroom stocked with toilet paper. (The last part, which an extremely important responsibility, can probably be left off your resume.)

So, when you’re trying to come up with job titles “Jack of All Trades” isn’t the best solution for your business card or LinkedIn Profile. Here are some ideas to help you pick job titles for your staff or help you advocate for the title you want.

To keep reading, click here: In a Small Business, Everyone Does Multiple Jobs. How Do You Choose Accurate Titles?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Joshua Diamand October 10, 2018 at 1:04 pm

Great advice on how to think about job titles in a small business.

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Mr Nomenclature October 10, 2018 at 2:30 pm

Jill of All Trades, of course.

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Kara October 10, 2018 at 4:01 pm

This is how I ended up with the title “Business Development Consultant.” My client-facing role is that of an HR/Business Strategy consultant, developing total compensation packages, drafting employee handbooks and business plans, advising on payroll compliance, etc… but I also manage the marketing for the (very small) firm, inventory the office supply closet, draft emails for various people, help the tax department with admin/data entry/client communications, design and maintain the website, replace the water cooler, and occasionally fix the leaky sink. So we just came up with a catch-all title that encompasses “all the things.” Small businesses are fun to work for!

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AB October 10, 2018 at 11:21 pm

I think i need a new catchy title. I am an accountant by trade, I also look after HR, do customer service, pack pallets, deliver products, build office furniture, paint walls, and wash windows. I really would like to learn how to drive the forklift (just to say I can) but my boss said if the production guys knew I had a forklift licence they would expect me to do that too.

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