Dear Matt: I'm in the process of looking for a job and I'm wondering, do I choose a job that looks good on my résumé or take a job that I know I will thrive in, even though the title is not as impressive? I know a management job would take me to the next level, but I really don't like managing people. What advice can you give me?
Matt: It sounds to me that if you are looking for a job that looks good on your résumé, you are already looking for the next job after that. What I mean is, it looks like you want to take a job now to get you another job in the future. Keep in mind - a title is only that - it's the skills and accomplishments that you develop and achieve in any job that employers want to see. It's easy to say you are president of a one-person company, but it's more impressive to show employers how you have led teams, saved money, helped earn new clients or cut costs - no matter what your title.
I also ask you to think about this: Do you want a career you are a happy with or an impressive job title with a job you despise?
"Working purely for title wears off quickly and may be a bad move in the long run if you're not successful or happy in the role," says Patrick Foss, CEO of ThinkTalent (www.thinktalent.net), a Minnetonka-based staffing firm.
I also think you really need to define what it is you want to do. If you don't like managing people, how will you succeed in a management job? That seems counter-productive. Can you get to that next level in your career or field without being in management? Who can you talk to in your profession that can give you insight on how to do that? What skills do you need to add? What educational background or training can you complete?
"The best individual performers seldom translate into great managers," adds Foss. "Your best bet is going after a job where you can be happy and successful - titles can always follow based on accomplishments. Finding a new position, doing what you enjoy and working for a solid, reputable company are exactly what people who recently lost their jobs are hoping for."
And so should you.
Matt Krumrie is a freelance writer from Inver Grove Heights, and has nine years of experience reporting on the employment industry. This column will answer readers' questions. E-mail questions or subject ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.