When reaching out for work, does anyone find it difficult to convey the skills they have in one title?

As a contractor I could apply for a UX role, or something completely creative and visual, but I'm wondering whether I should change my title each time or always stay the same?


  • Maybe don't think about the job title.

    Think about why you do what you do.

    For example; I help people..., or I help businesses...

    It may have more resonance.

    The best question I was asked was not ‘what do you do?’ but ‘what attracted you to the industry?’
  • We all have multiple skills to offer. That is not the question you should be thinking about. Rather, what is it that the person you are reaching out to will buy?

    What is the problem you - and only you - can solve, FOR THEM?

    It's more work for you, because that may mean multiple variants of your "offer" or title - but then different jobs will require a difference balance of your own skills. So... address the balance before you apply and dont try to summarise yourself in one oft-repeated phrase.

    But if you do, write it in a way that the right person will find you, and you dont have to go searching for them. Here's mine:

    "I work with senior leaders of forward thinking, purpose-driven brands to grow revenues by +£50m through culturally relevant, innovative communications using art, science, passion and guts. I don’t push product onto customers; I engage them so they repeatedly buy and impact the bottom line for the long term."
    (I am a CMO at a fashion house)
  • No.

    I'm a book designer.

    I can work in several roles in design, but my principal role is as a book designer. You can add writer - fiction, non-fiction, academic, et al - to that, presenting, research.

    The point being I have a lot of skills but I function under one or two titles. Often I might use "writer & book designer."

    Unfortunately, we're in a world of selling yourself as everything. I see countless graduates listing themselves as seven different things despite no evidence that they can encompass the roles into which they're inserting themselves. Often, illustrators call themselves designers with little or no design skill on show. Designers claim to be web designers despite a portfolio full of logos. It's a bit... iffy.

    As you grow in your career you take on more skills but listing them all in one place can be wearying. When reaching out for work, I focus on the role in question. If it's book design then it's easy to use my specialism. If it's branding, I have years of banding experience with which to label myself a brand designer. If it's a journalism role, here's my written portfolio - I'm a freelance writer. For me, it's about tailoring how I present my skills to the role in question. It might get tiresome to put together proposals, CVs, etc for different roles but it's better than presenting your job title as a "delete where applicable" list full of slashes.

    Your CV generally includes all your skills anyway, there's nothing wrong with limiting yourself to one or two titles upfront.
  • Hi Purdie. This is the age of the 'slashy', so take heart, people expect you to have more capabilities than just the one, it shows a hunger for learning, an agile mind and a useful level of fearlessness.

    Do not invent new 'envelope' roles, be vague or say what you're not, just because you think it will get you a role – list the skills you have in order of strength, make sure your seniority/level of experience is clear and the titles conform to 'industry-standard'. I think 3 are fine in a job title listing, the rest can go into tags or a precis.

    If you're targeting jobs, just play the game – with the use of AI prevelant as a recruitment tool, recruiters look for a shopping list of skills, so if you genuinely have them, make sure they're all listed and the right mix will get you shortlisted.

    Hope that helps!
  • @Elliott Starr Hi Elliot, you know what, I had this thought this week. Just list the top 3 things you're good at and enjoy doing. On my landing page I've stated I like X and Y and my speciality is....
    No need to apologise, I appreciate your example. Thank you :)
  • @Katja Alissa Mueller Hi Katia, thank you so much. A tag line is a great idea. I've been working on my copy this week and am happy with the skills I put myself under and my revised introduction. Just got to add it to my cv now and test it out :)
  • @Michael Piggott hi Michael, that is super helpful. Thank you :) I like what you said about when adding 'editor' it just clicked. It's great when things just fall in to place like that. Thanks so much!
  • Hi Purdie,
    Completely agree – conveying one’s role through the title alone can be tricky. From experience it’s always worth adding a tagline and additional short biography across all channels: website, linkedin, CV, you name it.
    Most recruiters/employers will want to read more about you than title alone to gauge if the brief is the right fit. If they only focus on your title you’ve probably dodged a bullet already…

    I probably keep the same title for consistency over a longer period but amend tagline and bio depending on specific roles. Then amend title when you promote yourself into a new position as a freelancer
  • I don't know if this is useful, or teaching you to suck eggs. I hope it is not, and apologise if it is. But I always try to summarise in the following way:

    I like to do X and Y. I particularly like to do Z.

    X and Y being the two things you are good at, and enjoy.

    Z being the two of them combined.

    An example from my bio:

    I like to make things and solve problems. I particularly like to make things that solve problems.

    May be a little reductionist. But, hopefully is helpful in some small way
  • I get that. I recently moved into freelancing after the last 16 years in a variety of full time roles. I created a landing page as a profile page for myself the other day and had to sum up what I do. In the end I opted for my name with a tagline of 'editor, writer, podcast creator'. Some might consider it a bit pretentious, but three things tends to be the max you can tell people - and if those three things go well together, that helps. I do other things, like digital stuff, social media and things, but I decided to leave that out. I can always mention it elsewhere. For a time my job title was 'Digital, Content & Social Media Manager'. Once I moved up to 'Editor' it just clicked. It was simple - people figured it out. For you, perhaps you could combine things, like 'Creative UX Designer'. Not quite knowing your field that well I am not sure if that would work. In my mind you're a Designer above all... one that does UX, creative, graphic, visual etc. Maybe that: Designer - UX, graphic, art, visual. Sorry, I'm out of ideas now. Hope some of that helps, maybe.
  • Hi Purdie, I have same dirama. Recruiter always said to change the title according to the job you are applying for.
    Lets hope this changes some day ;)

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