| Don’t disregard the value of your job title
AWWA Articles

Don’t disregard the value of your job title

This is an excerpt from a column by Journal AWWA Editor-in-Chief Kenneth Mercer that was published in the October 2022 issue

Career Zone, Kenneth Mercer, Editor-in-Chief, Journal AWWAWith the current labor market trends and high competition for good talent, water professionals would be wise to make sure their job titles reflect the critical functions that are the basis of experience and expertise. While contributions and accomplishments are most important, a job title is probably the first thing used to determine rank and compensation.

When seeking a new job, understand first how different positions are perceived in the industry. If looking for a promotion, recognize that those who decide career paths and compensation don’t often fully understand the vital roles and contributions of every position.

When reviewing your resume, consider the keywords and facets important in your field. And while a job title and position description can be a quick way to generalize, ensure that they accurately reflect current responsibilities and functions and that they fit meaningfully into an organization’s structure. Similar titles at different companies may have significantly different roles.

Ideally, think about how to grow your career while contributing to your organization’s mission. At the same time, try to avoid getting pigeonholed, and carefully consider taking lateral roles that may ultimately limit or even hurt your career path. Use caution in accepting a title change without a raise if the next several steps in that path are not clear.

A job title is the basis for future jobs and higher salaries, so always advocate for yourself – professionally, of course, but constantly. Stay attuned to what decision makers are focused on and reinforce your value and career goals within that context.

The water industry stands to benefit from your talent, so keep growing.

AWWA offers resources related to professional development and workforce, including a compensation survey series. More career resources and job opportunities are available at AWWA’s Career Center and at Work for Water.