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Define your ideal role
How to match your ideal role with the job title
Job titles say nothing about day to day job

Most probably, you already have an idea of what you want to do in your next role. But do you know all variations of possible job titles for this role? Do you know which job listing you have to be seeking? This chapter will help you define your ideal role and match it with the right job titles.
The role description is first, the job title is second. Define your ideal role, and find out how it may be called in different companies.
People have their perspectives on organizing the work, and the title doesn't matter that much if the job is done. The same departments and the same teams would have different functions, hence different roles and responsibilities.

Why? Let's think about how new roles are typically created within a company. Some work area has been developed to the extent where extra human resources are needed to handle it. The manager evaluates the scope of work and writes the job description drawing on job functions that he thinks are needed now and/or later on from his own experience or maybe lack of it. Thus, the same job title doesn't mean the same job role because every time, job descriptions are written by different people, for different scenarios, and within a different context.
Research job titles
Build a vocabulary of job titles that match your ideal role

Roles at different companies mean the different scope of responsibility. But how should you know which roles you should be seeking? You should already have an idea of how your ideal role looks like. Write down the list of responsibilities you would expect to see in the job listing for this ideal role, ... and google it. Create a list of all possible variations of how your ideal role might be called in different companies.

Example: I want to build content strategies, manage content creation, and not write the content myself but rather manage a team of writers of an external agency, have the impact of inbound acquisition channels, manage content distribution, and maybe work closely with product teams.

From this list, I'm taking the main keywords and try to google them via, the world's largest startup community and ecosystem where you can find a job in fast-growing companies. From our experience, this is one of the most extensive databases of high-quality job listings. Cool startups do care who to hire, so their job descriptions are very carefully written down.

So I google "develop content strategies, manage content creation, content distribution" (this combination of "site:+domain" allows searching exclusively on this website.
Here is the full list from only the first page of search results from Content Manager to Head of Content or Director:
  • Content Marketer
  • Content Marketing Director
  • Head of Content
  • Senior Content Marketing Creator
  • Content Officer
  • Content Marketing Manager
  • Manager, Marketing Content Creation
  • Content Strategy Manager
  • SEO Content Manager
  • Content Strategy Lead
  • Head of Content
  • Social Content Producer
Once you build your vocabulary, let's dive deeper into three fundamentals of how to read job listings and understand where this role fits in the company structure.
Define essential criteria
A narrow or broad scope of responsibilities? Startup vs. Corporates

The scope of responsibilities highly depends on whether you're working in a startup or corporate world. Among other things discussed in the previous chapter, startups differ from corporates by the freedom to experiment.

If you want to have a narrow scope of responsibility, then corporates are your choice. If you want to try yourself in a broader role, consider startups and scale-ups.
Early-stage startups usually have roles with a broader scope of responsibilities. As companies grow, the scope narrows down and becomes very specific in the corporate world.
Wearing multiple hats in a startup is common for so-called Head of Marketing, Engineering, Growth, HR, Customer Success, etc., who are constantly solving the problems here and there as required. There is nothing wrong with that. Just the scope of work, responsibility is at a completely different scale than in a bigger company.

Applying for a Head of Marketing at an early-stage startup, you have to build the marketing department from the ground up. Applying for a Head of Marketing at a series A or B startup, you have to manage many reports and sometimes even multiple teams. But since your company is relatively new on the market, you're still more flexible and have more freedom than a Head of Marketing at Amazon or Google.

Take a look at these two scenarios of how the same job title is completely different at a startup and corporate scale.
Lead people or be in the field?

Individual Contributors (ICs) are specialists who get the work done on their own, without having to manage other people. They are collaborating with others but are responsible for their own scope of work and their own personal growth.

Managers, on the other hand, are responsible for the team performance, deliverables, and growth as a whole. Instead of working in a field, like writing code or setting up marketing campaigns, they enable others to do their work best. They lead the team, communicate priorities from company leadership, set goals, build team culture, conduct 1-1s with team members to give feedback, and create individual growth plans.
Do you want to get things done or enable other people to get it done?
In some cases, there is no clear line between the two types of roles. In startups or smaller teams, the manager may participate in the IC role and start working in a field. On the other hand, senior ICs may manage people serving as thought leaders.
Does the contract T&C matter for you?

Full-time employees are critical human resources at a company. They are part of it and usually hired for an indefinite period of time. Contractors are hired for project-based roles and very often for a predefined limited period of time. So the contract terms are built based on these preconditions.

Full-time employees have more stability. They have more benefits and perks such as essential insurances, retirement plans, stock options, extra vacation days, and some more perks such as gym access and extra budget for professional development. Tech giants are poaching top talent from each other, offering new and upgraded packages in addition to good compensation.

Contractor employees are more flexible.
They are usually paid a flat rate for the job completed and don't have access to any perks. However, it's much easier to move between different projects and teams.

The important takeaway here is that contractor and full-time roles have different employment contract terms, but they work on the same projects.
Contractor and full-time roles have different employment contract terms, but they work on the same projects. You can gain good experience in every role.
While full-time employees remain the strategic assets of the company and are considered as roles with better contracts, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't apply for contract roles. Your team and the complexity of projects would define your experience, not the job title and not the T&C of your contract. Check the full context of the role carefully before applying — the team and project you'll work with — this will bring the added value to your CV and eventually boost your career growth.

1. Job titles say nothing about the day-to-day job.

2. The role description is first, the job title is second. Know your vocabulary of roles.

3. If you want a broader scope, consider the startup roles. If a narrow scope — corporates.

4. Both Individual Contributors and Managers should get the work done. Either you lead the team or are in the field.

5. No matter your contract T&C, you can gain good experience with both full-time and contract roles. The project and the team you'll be working with - that's what matters.
Action items

1. Make a copy of My ideal role [Template].

2. Research job titles that match your ideal role. Define what you want to do. Google all possible job titles. Write them down.

3. Define essential criteria to narrow down your search by answering these questions:
- Do I want to have a narrow or broad scope of responsibilities?
- Do I want to lead people or be in the field?
- Does the contract T&C matter for me? What are my essential needs?

In the next chapter, you'll find the resources brocked down by the company's stage of growth. You should shortlist all roles from companies that match your criteria and add them to your Application Pipeline.