Differences Between Job Titles, Roles, & Duties

I have a client who was once hired as an Office Assistant, but was in the process of taking on a larger and more complicated role in her company.

I helped her negotiate a new title of Office Manager to reflect this change. It was important to be clear what she did and who she was, both inside and outside of the company. It wasn’t enough that she just negotiated a higher salary.

Why?

ROLE

This is a description of what you generally do within an organization. It defines your relationships with other employees. You can have more than one role in a company.

You might be a Regional Sales Manager for Northern California, responsible for the revenue generated by that team. A concurrent role might be as a Sales Executive to bring in revenue from customers assigned solely to you.

JOB TITLE

This is a specific title that is on your business cards and your employee records. It can describe your position within an organization. An Assistant General Manager reports to a General Manager, for example.

RESPONSIBILITIES or DUTIES

These are the specific tasks for which you will be accountable. They might be listed in a job description, or they might be more informal. For example, you might be tasked with relocating an office to another building, which is a one-time project. Or you could be processing payroll twice a month.

Let’s take a look at a very common job title: Receptionist. This is the first person you see as you come into a corporate office.

  • Their role is to be a gatekeeper to determine who you are and who you will be meeting with.
  • Their job title is understood both within and outside of the company.
  • Their duties may include notifying the person you are meeting that you have arrived and giving you a security badge so you can be in the building.

EVERYTHING IS NEGOTIABLE 

During my three years as a recruiter, I learned that everything is negotiable, not just salary. Making sure that job titles matched the roles and duties was an important part of putting together a good job offer.