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3 Titles that Can Kill Your Executive Job Search

3 Titles that Can Kill Your Executive Job Search

I was searching my LinkedIn feed and saw a number of “titles” that reminded me of a LinkedIn post I wrote a while back titled C’mon You’re Not Really a CEO. In short, it’s about how what you are and what you call yourself need to align in your executive job search.

Unfortunately, a fair bit of time has passed, and post and position titles have gotten worse, not better. In what I can only assume is an attempt to be edgy or stand out on LinkedIn, business cards, or otherwise, these titles have instead caused me to actually laugh out loud and shake my head. Here are some of the titles used in executive job search that I’ve seen with the definition along with a translation that occurs when a recruiter or hiring manager reads them.


Definition: Teacher, comes from the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit. A guru is a spiritual master in Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism who is able to transmit the wisdom of spiritual study and meditation to others.

Recruiter/Hiring Manager Translation: I need to hire someone who can get things done, not just think about it.


Definition: Often rude and belittles people, believes that everyone is beneath her and thinks that she is so much more loved than what she really is. Selfish, spoiled, and overly dramatic.

Recruiter/Hiring Manager Translation: Please can I hire you? This sounds like fun.

Change Agent

Definition: Anyone who helps an organization transform by improving business processes and interpersonal interactions.

Recruiter/Hiring Manager Translation: Great, I don’t even need to interview you, I’ll hire you and take your word for it.

I understand the need to differentiate during the executive job search process and that these terms are not meant to be literal definitions, but they are open to wide interpretation to the audience who reads them.

According to DMR (formerly Digital Marketing Ramblings), 94% of all recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates. We want to see who you are, where you’ve been and what you have accomplished. These vague, odd terms may be intended to provide insight into your personality, but that’s not what we use LinkedIn for. We can get a sense of your personality during the executive job search interview with you. These titles are getting in the way of you getting the interview, so please stop using them.