We all have aspirations in our professional lives, no matter how unrealistically or realistically grounded they may be. The first step in understanding how far you’re capable of progress — as well as the level of experience and education required, before they’ll even see you as a viable candidate — is knowing what those much-coveted positions mean.
When applying for a new position, how do you know you have what they’re looking for? Having ambition beyond your expertise may be noble but applying for jobs you don’t have the qualifications for can lead to that carefully tailored CV being tossed directly into the trash.
Here’s what you need to know about job position titles, what they entail, and how best to advance.
In this case, it helps to start furthest from where you’d likely first apply — every office or company structures around a pyramid of power with senior positions being the highest level. Several factors determine seniority levels, including length of time spent with the company, experience, and education.
Those in senior-level positions are those with the highest loyalty, experience, and education. Their responsibility is to offer guidance to those at lower levels. The seniors also make decisions affecting other workers, including financial compensation, layoffs, and benefits.
Often, to advance further, employees are required to take exams. Jobs that fall under the senior title include:
- Executive Director
- Chief Financial Officer
- Vice President
- HR Director
- Head of Advertising
- Senior Architect
After gaining experience and time with the company, employees will have a chance to advance to mid-level positions such as:
- Team Lead
- Accounting Officer
- Accounts Manager
- Regional Manager
- Project Superintendent
- IT Supervisor
Obtaining a mid-level position means being responsible for managing the entry-level employees, while at the same time reporting to and following the instructions of the seniors. Further advancements will lead to mid-senior level positions.
When first starting with a company, without some extraordinary circumstances, the assumption is you will be starting in an entry-level position like:
- Junior Marketing Associate
- Research Assistant
- Sales Coordinator
- Banking Trainee
- Human Resources Intern
Entry-level positions are likely the first you’ll get after graduating from post-secondary school or even during it.
Your main goal at entry level is to gain as much experience and education as possible to advance more quickly to jobs with higher salaries. At the same time, you’ll want to prove yourself a loyal and responsible employee who should clearly advance further within the company.
If the posting is unclear on which job level is being offered, words such as “associate” and “assistant” will usually apply to the entry level. If standard descriptions for job offers don’t apply, your best option would be to research the company or call the HR department.
However, occasions will arise where you honestly may not know the appropriate job level to apply for. Often, people have the experience or education, but may be missing another key factor. If you find yourself on the cusp between two levels, it’s recommended to be bold and apply for the higher position, though you may want to mention that a lower position would be satisfactory.
Kenny Hedges | Contributing Writer