Job titles

A cure for the common job title

November 28, 2011: 10:08 AM ET

Manager of this, vice president of that -- yawn. A maker of business cards spots a spate of colorful monikers like Sales Ninja, Web Kahuna, and Head Cheese.

By Anne Fisher, contributor

FORTUNE -- It's the latest tactic in the quest to create a compelling personal brand: Abandoning traditional job titles in favor of more descriptive -- or at least eye-catching -- ways to sum up a job.

"Our research shows that people are trying to stand out more when sharing contact information," says Paul Lewis, head of marketing at business card printer "Titles like Web Designer or Digital Advisor are no longer enough to grab attention, so Web Kahuna or Digital Dynamo may work better. We're also seeing a dramatic rise in gurus, geeks, and captains."

You're a copywriter? Ho-hum. You could dub yourself Word Herder or Copy Cruncher instead.

Lewis traces the trend to the influence of social media. People are looking to "socialize" their professional personae, he says, "adding personal flair commonly associated with social media profiles."

A sampling of unusual titles has seen lately:

  • Sales Ninja
  • New Media Guru
  • Linux Geek
  • Word Herder
  • Social Media Trailblazer
  • Corporate Magician
  • Master Handshaker
  • Communications Ambassador
  • Copy Cruncher
  • Transportation Captain
  • Web Kahuna
  • Marketing Rockstar
  • Problem Wrangler
  • Digital Dynamo
  • Designer Extraordinaire
  • Head Cheese
  • Plumber Hero
  • Movie Magic Maker
  • Happiness Advocate

No false modesty here, which is fine: A business card is a marketing tool, after all. But it does raise a question. If you give yourself a title like Chief Excitement Officer, as one New York City public relations executive did, what happens on those days (everybody has them) when you're just not feeling it? Can a Happiness Advocate ever sing the blues?

  • Why even your ultra-hip startup team needs job titles

    It's not silly formalism. Startups that don't develop a consistent approach to job titles and promotions do so at their own peril.

    By Ben Horowitz, contributor

    "Hmmmmmmm . . . now what's a title to fit me? a champ like Tyson, a captain like Kirk, no Employee of the Month 'cause yo, I do work" -Big Daddy Kane

    Often when I meet with startups, the employees have no job titles. This makes MORE

    Mar 16, 2011 11:30 AM ET
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