10 job titles to avoid in 2013

by Patricio Robles

It’s the New Year, that means that career goals are top of mind. Many employees are looking to move up or move out.

Freelancers and consultants are looking to ensure that 2013 is more prosperous than 2012.

When it comes to moving one’s career forward, job titles often matter.

Even if we’d like to believe that they matter less and less each passing year, your ability to succeed may be based, in some part, on what goes under your name on your business card.

With that in mind, here are 10 job titles seen in digital roles that you may want to avoid in 2013.

Guru

Unless you have been practicing yoga for the past decade, guru is probably a job title best avoided, particularly in the realm of social media, where it is generally perceived negatively by seasoned clientele.

Maven

Another popular social media title, a maven is defined as “one who is experienced or knowledgeable.” Your employer or clients are probably expecting you to be one or both of those things anyway, so calling yourself a maven is of questionable value.

Rockstar

A term with some traction in Silicon Valley, don’t be fooled by its sexiness: unless your name is Mick Jagger, equating your impressive coding skills with this title is probably not going to impress once you leave your bubble.

Growth hacker

Even if you believe that this is genuinely a new role, the term growth hacker is somewhat controversial and not yet widely known. That makes it a title worth keeping an eye on, but perhaps not embracing.

Evangelist

One of the more established questionable job titles on this list, what an evangelist does is widely understood but the word is still a conversation starter, a subtle hint at the fact many people don’t believe it’s a great title.

Expert

Unless you’re a new entrant to a market, there’s a good chance that when a company hires you, either as an employee or consultant, it’s hiring you in part for your expertise. That makes a title with the word ‘expert’ in it superfluous.

Ninja

Another Silicon Valley innovation, if your new employer wants to refer to you as a ninja, you should make like a ninja and disappear — as quickly as silently.

Genius

If you get a job at the Apple Store, you have little choice but to accept the title of Genius. Otherwise, using your job title to imply that you qualify for Mensa is probably a bad idea.

Wizard

Your ability to optimize an campaign or boost search engine rankings may seem magical to coworkers or clients, but don’t try to turn your career into a J.K. Rowling novel by billing yourself as your industry’s Harry Potter.

Chief [insert wacky noun] officer

Being a business card-carrying member of the C-suite is a worthy accomplishment, but be careful about accepting a C-suite role that comes with a wacky title.

It may not be taken as seriously and some might be skeptical about your C-suite worthiness as a result, particularly if you work at a startup or smaller company.

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