No One Applying? Change Your Job Titles

Recently, I did a job post rewrite for a Utility Forrester. Now, I know what you’re thinking – what the hell is a Utility Forrester? Don’t worry; I didn’t know what it was at first, either, and I’ve seen a lot of job titles. Utility Forresters maintain powerlines in the woods. They literally clear the path for power lines in the middle of nowhere.

I mean, I get why the job exists. It makes sense now that I’ve become familiar with it – both while driving across America #vanlife and hosting hiring manager intake. I’d just never heard of it before, and let’s be real: I’ve heard of a lot of jobs. Thousands of jobs, at this point.

For each job post I rewrite, I analyze the current job title. We did a quick Google search, and you know what also has the title “Utility Forrester”? A Subaru. Yes, the car. “You’ll never beat Subaru for search engine results,” I said with a laugh.

If You Can’t Be Found, No One Can Apply

If the only thing a candidate can find when they Google your job title is a car – a Subaru, in this case – then they’re going to end up making a big purchase instead of emailing you their resume. It doesn’t matter how good your job posting is if candidates are stumbling upon the CarFax instead.

Or your title is not something any person searches. I talk to teams every single day that have numbers in their job titles – but no one is searching for a job and willingly calling themselves a number two. Poop joke intended.

Then there’s a wild variable that’s hard to admit: all job titles are made up, so no one knows what to search – the recruiter or the candidate. We’re as hopeful as a recent divorcee logging into Match.com on a Saturday night. Probably have the same odds of success finding each other, too.

Research Your Job Titles

If you want to improve your odds, you need to change your job title. Before you change anything else about your posting, do this analysis to make sure your job title is being searched by the right people.

Here are a few easy steps to help you retitle your job postings:

  1. Google the job title and the word resume, then click on the image search results: I.e. HR Business Partner Resume. Would you hire any of these results? If no, you might want to find another job title.
  2. If you would hire these folks, scan qualified resumes for the most common job titles. Pick 3-4. Write down different acronyms and order of words (HR vs. Human Resources, for example). Variations will produce different results. 
  3. Use Google Trends to compare traffic.
  4. Look at the related queries. Are those related to job searches or something wildly unrelated? If they aren’t related – you’re using the wrong job title.

Repeat this methodology until the resumes you see in the image search and the related queries align with the type of talent you’re looking for. Then you have the right marketing job title.

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Kat Kibben View All →

Katrina (Kat) Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive, unbiased job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.

Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.

Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.

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