In the era of multi-hyphenate career, should we still define ourselves in one to three words? Let’s look at the alternatives together.
Whenever I go out for a networking event, there is one question that I dread more than any other.
" So, what do you do?"
I find it hard to answer with a short sentence. It's just that feeling you get you are looking to update your LinkedIn profile, and you have no idea I want your job title is.
At first, I thought it was just me. Then, I stumbled across Emma Gannon's book Multi-hyphen method.
Moreover, the rise of portfolio careers and the economic instability of the mid-00s forced Millennials to reinvent themselves - something I talked about in Reclaim Your Time Off in great length.
The question still stands, do we need job titles?
Like my old flatmate used to say, everybody is the jack of all trades and master of none these days.
In a world that loved labelling them sells and others, it's unsurprising to see that we are now breaking free of all labels, including job titles.
More and more, I am seeing people switching job titles for elevator pitches. All we need to share our expertise and how we can help other people. Because, honestly, that's what your audience cares about.
So that's it, we'll throw away job titles altogether? Not necessarily.
Who benefits from job titles these days is ourselves
More and more young entrepreneurs are using job titles as a way for themselves to define their roles and their core expertise.
A job title allows me to have a clear message about how I can help people and which services I can offer my clients.
As a consultant, people have a clear idea of the scope of work I can deliver with my sessions. I often create strategies, checklists, and implementation sheets and provide practical guidance and tools.
It sounds ridiculous, but it does help me to define my boundaries. Boundaries about what I will do I want I will not do when it comes to my work.
How to find the best job title for yourself
Are you working for yourself (so pretty much you are your boss), and you are unsure how you should define yourself?
There are a few ways you can go about it, but here's my favourite for jobs focused on attracting new clients: ask others (especially clients and peers) how they would define you.
If you had to sum up the work I do for you in one word, what would that be?
Another option, if you are primarily looking to find a title that can help you define yourself more than helping others, would be to list a long string of verbs that describe what you DO on a daily to weekly recurrence.
I consult, write, direct/manage, speak and teach.
Among all of those verbs, I'd usually choose the ones that resonate with me the most, like consulting and writing.
Those would be the ones that I'd more often than not represent what you do and how you effectively help people.
- Job titles are less and less common, as many entrepreneurs switch to elevator pitches to define themselves
- People want to know how we can help them, above anything else
- Job titles can help determine what you do and your expertise
- Labels can still be beneficial when setting boundaries and clarity
Whether we like it or not, people love to label themselves and others to know what they can expect to engage with and receive from us in terms of value and help.
Redefining and broadening our job titles is simply a response to time changing and evolving. Embrace your multi-hyphen title and move on.