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Why Witty Job Titles are All the Rage

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What do ninjas, rockstars and kahunas have in common?

Business savvy, of course!

New trends show that typical titles such as “manager,” “web developer” and even the elusive “CEO” have become blasé. Punchier, more creative handles are taking over.

According to MOO.com, a company that creates business cards, this exercise in originality can make you stand out among a sea of boring, traditional titles.

“We are seeing a real shift from traditional business cards to a more ‘social, personal branding card,’” said Paul Lewis, head of marketing at MOO.com. “Social network-savvy individuals are including their Twitter handles, Facebook accounts, Skype, LinkedIn and so on alongside their phone and email details. This, accompanied by these weird and wonderful titles, makes for a thoroughly modern business card!”

To most people, average job titles such as “executive manager” don’t mean much. Lewis suggests experimenting with titles that sum you up as a person rather limiting yourself to a one-word descriptor.

Of course, success results from more than enthusiasm and a clever job title, but letting personality prevail certainly hasn’t hurt Seth Goldman, president and TeaEO of Honest Tea.

Goldman’s title, pun intended, is featured prominently on his Honest Tea bio. Founded in 1998, Honest Tea boasts a 66 percent annual compound growth rate and became the first Fair Trade organic brand to enter the world’s largest beverage distribution system. Basically, that means this guy rocks at his job.

“I thought, if I’m responsible for the tea, and the tea is the most important thing, then let’s just make my title TeaEO,” Goldman said. “It was also a fun way to let people know we weren’t taking ourselves too seriously and weren’t going to be constrained by the standard corporate approach to business.”

Now, doesn’t that sound like your cup of tea?

Word play aside, creative job titles are also strategic business decisions. Joanna Pineda, CEO and Chief Troublemaker of Matrix Group, a web solutions company servicing associations and nonprofits, began using witty titles her first year in business. Her own receptionist has been christened as “First Impressions Officer.”

“The fun titles are often more than just fun,” Pineda said. “They convey a lot about the job (First Impressions Officer says a lot about the job, don’t you think?), they communicate a great deal about our company, and they help our job postings stand out on job boards.”

Yet don’t make the mistake of overlooking a bit of decorum and political correctness when selecting your official moniker. Your friends and co-workers may lovingly refer to you as a “Grammar Nazi” but the negative connotations might not be worth the laugh. A leader is better than a tyrant. Try titles that convey your role as well as cool confidence, like “Punctuation Prodigy” or “Editor Extraordinaire.”

Company leaders aren’t off the hook either. While you may be the most fabulous head honcho your organization has ever seen, “Bootylicious Boss” could raise more eyebrows than sales. How about the aforementioned “Head Honcho?” Or even the simple yet bold “Boss Lady?”

Imitation is the highest form of flattery, so don’t be afraid to borrow previously successful ideas. Here are just a few of the top modern job titles MOO.com has come across:

  • Happiness Advocate
  • Social Media Trailblazer
  • Head Cheese
  • Digital Dynamo
  • Copy Cruncher

Now it’s up to you to find the perfect sobriquet for your business card. If you’re lacking a muse, try visiting MOO.com’s Inspiration Gallery to see how other up-and-coming wage-earners are marketing themselves. Or, if you have the right idea but the wrong word, grab the nearest thesaurus and reconnoiter the stupefaction of our lexicon.

If you’re still stuck, Pineda recommends reaching out to colleagues.

“Have a beer and a brainstorm. Ask others what the essence of your job is and brainstorm with them,” Pineda said. “For example, one of my project manager’s title is Project Manager/Cat Herder/Master Juggler. This job title perfectly embodies what it means to be a project manager at Matrix Group.”

So, are you a ninja, a rockstar or a kahuna? Whoever you are and whatever you do, don’t be afraid to make it known.

Now get out there and put the pizzazz back in professionalism!

If you could go by any title, what would it be?

Lacey Mason is a former NPR intern actively seeking new opportunities in Los Angeles while she freelances and copy edits for the Santa Monica Mirror. Visit her online portfolio or follow her on Twitter.

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

  • http://www.mehulkar.com mehulkar

    My partner’s title at FridgeWaves is “The Head of the Department of Everything”
    and my title is “Head of the Department of the the Department of Everything”.

    Some people have issues with these titles, so we tell them to go file a report with the Department of Everything.

    #entrepreneurlife

    • Lacey

      I love that title! It’s fun and it’s obvious that your friend is a busy, responsible person.

  • http://twitter.com/stuckaholic Alex Dogliotti

    Hey Lacey, overall I like your article and I think that yes, creative job titles are indeed nice as a way to let people know what you actually do. Here’s my problem with it though: in a company you can never choose your title. Unless it’s a start-up and you’re the boss of course. Titles are for the most part assigned to you. And look, do a brief search on Monster. How many fun titles do you see? None. That’s because titles are not just there to make people understand what you do, but also to let others know where you stand on the corporate ladder. A Head of Marketing Department stands quite high, a Project Manager stands lower, a CTO stands very high. And a Cat Herder? Where does she stand? We don’t know.
    Again, even though people will rarely find themselves in the condition of choosing their job title, I do like the idea. There’s nothing preventing them from asking HR to better identify what they actually do in a fun way.

  • http://twitter.com/stuckaholic Alex Dogliotti

    asdsa

  • http://twitter.com/stuckaholic Alex Dogliotti

    Apologies for the comment below, wrong button. Moderator could you please delete? Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/profkrg Kenna Griffin

    How about “Your Profness”? Yes, that sounds nice.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joel.terrell Joel Terrell

    I came up with a title that fit me to a tea, and since I couldn’t seem to find a job that fit the title, I started my own business because it was the only thing that fit. Creative Content Developer @ Falcon Reid Design.

  • http://alexisgrant.com Alexis Grant

    Love this post! One of the benefits of working for myself is that I can call myself whatever I want :) I chose Innovator-in-Chief. Why? Because the most important thing to me is feeling creative and innovative, and my clients count on me to come up with smart, unique ideas.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jane.hinchey Jane Hinchey

    Awesome article – it’s great to get away from the staid job titles of the past – as long as it’s kept respectful! Of course I work from home, in my own business Ace Video Marketing and I took it to another level, incorporating my cat into my business. Her name is Minnie (the wondercat) my personal assistant. Every now and then she gets her picture in the newsletter as well!

  • Tonya

    Here at Organic Valley, we’re a farmer-owned cooperative. Our ‘CEO’s official title is C-E-I-E-I-O. :)

  • Anonymous

    I like the examples you gave here! They’re fun but they still convey what the candidate’s skills are. I think that’s really important. I’ve seen some crazy job titles out there that make me wonder “what in the heck does that mean” as much as “executive manager” does.

  • Jrandom42

    In some tech companies, the title “Chief Wizard” is a position that has the loftiest of status amongst the employees.

  • http://plasticstorage.com Plastic Bins

    in this day and age it simply wouldn’t make sense to not put your social media info on your business card. As long as you actually tweet about business, and are available to talk or video chat via these platforms then you should definitely put the info on your business card.

  • http://howtobecomeavet.co.uk Dimitrihouse

    Business cards full of buzz words from people full of buzz words. What happened to whoever is the most qualified gets the job?

    • http://writtennessa.com Nessa

      “Most qualified gets the job” has never, ever, not in the history of working, been the case.

  • 619Suzanne

    As an Executive Search Consultant of Creative Talent, among other types of exec’s I think it’s a good idea to sort of “break out” of the mold at times. However,, with all things, some are ridiculous. What is more important are day to day responsibilities, no matter what title one has been bestowed~

  • http://www.hire-me-dammit.com Megan Dougherty

    I love this!

    I think that a fun title like this is also a great thing to put onto a Resume under your name. Probably not if you’re looking for a job with “the man” but if there’s a possibility that a human with discretion will be looking at it, you could give them a giggle.

    I’m fortunate to be self-employed and totally in charge of my own branding. I call myself the “CBA”. I find it a great screening process – if a potential client doesn’t like it, we wouldn’t be a very good fit for each other.

    Megan
    Chief Bullshit Artist
    at Hire Me, Dammit!

  • Dead hedge

    I got a brochure mailed to me by someone who was the Director of Capture Management. I did not want to be captured nor treated like prey so I promptly threw their material away.

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  • http://knewton.com/jobs Jessica

    We’re currently hiring a “Master Data Storyteller”…how’s that for descriptive?

  • Anmaru

    You have to think about the situations you’re likely to be in, though. I had to make a complaint about appallingly bad service recently and the title of the person I spoke to was “Chief Adventurer, which just irritated me.

  • http://www.interviewquestionshq.com Interview Questions

    Hahaha, very funny job titles. I thought this article was heading in the “Digital Strategist” direction, but TeaEO-esque titles are much funnier. Great post!

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  • http://www.shovan.co.uk/ Shovan

    Digital Dynamo is cool!