Monday, November 05, 2012

Job Titles and Business Cards

Over the years, I've had numerous job titles. I won't go into the details, but most large corporations have a whole range of them, often with subtle little nuances that are not apparent to outsiders but mean a whole lot to insiders as to where one stands on the corporate totem pole.

When I first joined Aspen Research, I was told that I could put whatever I wanted on my business card for a job title as we were just too small to care. So I went big: "Principal Polymer Scientist" or some such nonsense. But what I realized in handing the cards out to (potential) clients, was that they were not interested in the "Principal" but in the "Polymer Scientist" aspect.

So when it was time for a new box of cards, I took a chance and went to the opposite extreme: "Polymer Scientist". Nothing more. No "Advanced", "Senior", "Specialist", "Fellow" or anything else.
The response has been even better. "Polymer Scientist. That's just what we're looking for." In this case, stripping the title to the basics does a better a job of communicating.

I realize that the type of person I am generally handing this out to is different than in the past. This card is going to potential clients, whereas in my previous employments, I was usually handing it out to suppliers. I still keep wondering if there is something better to put as a title, but regardless, this has taught me to think about what I put on my cards and not just go for the most impressive title I can lay claim to. What I put there says something about me and it just may not be what I think it is.

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