Title matters. When I was younger, I was naive to think that the work I did and the people I did it for were what mattered. Then I got promoted. Overnight, everything changed. I was invited to more meetings, asked to weigh in on more situations outside of my department, and had a more significant influence on the organization.
With that being said, some leaders had always treated me with the same respect. Most of the executive team would see me in the hallway and stop for a genuine chat expressing great interest in whatever conversation we had that day - but with others, it was different.
I only bring this up because TITLE should be part of your career strategy. While the title may not change the work you are doing or the satisfaction you get out of your role, it can benefit you in many other ways.
First, sadly, people treat you differently internally and externally. The vendors and consultants you work with externally make initial judgments about you when they see your title. Vendor relationships are critical to your success, and when you lead and influence big projects - your title and competence both play a part in the ease of the outcome. And right or wrong, internally, there are those that will treat you differently depending on your title.
Secondly, your title ensures that you can negotiate an even better title when you get promoted or leave for your next role. Companies often care about the optics, making negotiating your title a process. It may take some back and forth to develop something that works for you and the organization.
Other organizations have strict title protocols, and negotiating titles can be more difficult. So as you move closer to your next role, start exploring titles for similar functions along with job expectations of those positions. Having this information at hand will help you during negotiations as you often have information that they don't always have readily available - making you more credible.
Don't be afraid; it never hurts to ask if you do it in the right way at the right time. And, in the past, if you have been the first to say, "title doesn't matter," during the interview process, you may have been right in that particular situation. But think three jobs down the road - one title negotiation can make the difference in becoming a Manager or Director, a VP or SVP, or an SVP moving to the C-Suite.
Depending on your future goals, start negotiating now. You may not always get the title you want, but as you build your career strategy, remember negotiating your title is an essential part of the process.
For more of what you should be negotiating during the interview process, download my free list with over 70 additional options you should consider as you strategize and grow your career.
More about me, as a former Talent Acquisition leader, I had a front-row seat to see careers rise and fall. I now coach leaders who are hyper-focused on their next steps and the steps after that. If you know it is time to invest in your future, set up a 30-minute discovery call to understand better how a coach can bring clarity and transformation to your career.