Rick Sanders has studied the IT staffing and services industry from every angle. As former head of marketing at MATRIX, he understands the (sometimes conflicting) motivations of hiring managers, consultants, and IT job seekers. Along the way, Rick has participated in the evolution of marketing from the print, to digital interactive, social and beyond. Working now as a contractor, Rick offers acute insight into the contracting world based on his own experience.
How Important Is Your Job Title?
Put yourselves in the shoes of the hiring manager looking at your professional experience. He or she won’t know the details of your story until you meet. That is why it is critical to do everything you can to put your best foot forward.
When it comes to your resume, how important is your title relating to getting that first meeting?
According to MATRIX Recruiter Kevin Oill, titles are an important recruitment tool and can make or break some hiring managers’ decisions on whether or not to proceed with you as a candidate. Especially if you are early in your career, and still trying to make your mark in the industry.
And does it matter where you obtained that job title? As with many things related to your IT career, “it all depends,” Oill said. Oill explained how he advised one job seeker to choose between two job offers to make the best decision for her career.
“I’ve had job candidates with multiple offers in hand from variously sized companies, and depending on their career trajectory, it makes a big difference which one they should choose,” he said.
“The most recent example would be a more junior level candidate who had been doing Project Management work for a large telecommunications company. Ready to leave, she interviewed and got two offers. One was for a similar sized company with a worldwide reputation, and one was for a local government agency.
I spoke with her and explained the difference between the two roles. In this situation, for her career, it would make more sense to go for the government agency role because she would have more opportunity to influence a project, and influence her own specific role, as opposed to going to the large company and likely becoming siloed.
She has already proven in her career that she can work for a big, recognizable company, so I recommended that she go the route of now going into an environment where she could really make a difference with her PM skills.
In a small shop, the title of PM might not be as well defined compared to a large company. You might be a PM one day, and act as a BA another day. Maybe do some testing. Or interact with the end user to determine what they really want. Overall, she would obtain better hands-on experience with the entire SDLC process.
Smaller shops will also offer more leeway to use different technologies. And for a junior level consultant, “having that well-rounded experience was better,” Oill said.
Some hiring managers look at those generalist skills favorably, especially in this age of Agile-based collaboration where it is important to understand other roles in the delivery of a big project.
Which is better for your career? It all depends. A good recruiter can help you decide whether it looks better on your resume to have been a Project Manager (or other title) for a large, prestigious company or a small, nimble shop.