When you've been working in one position for a long time, it's not unusual for you to start having more responsibilities than the ones you were originally hired for. Perhaps you've been working at your job for a few years now and while you're not looking to get promoted or make any changes career-wise, you're not satisfied either. The problem is that you don't feel like your job title accurately describes what you do.

Besides being an accurate description of what you currently do, a new job title can open you up to new opportunities and over time, possibly a raise. A job title is also going to have a home on your resume and essentially your career. Though it may seem unimportant, that title is what may help or hurt any new prospects.

Also, it has nothing to do with imposter syndrome. Instead, it's about getting credit where credit is due. Here's how you can negotiate for the job title you deserve.

1. Do your homework.

You may not even be aware that your responsibilities are overstepping your current job title until you've experienced adversity at your job a few times. Likely, those adversities are hindering you from doing your job properly.

When you discuss this with your boss, don't tell them that you can't do your job right. They may think of your request as a complaint that might not be valid at all. You'll need to do your homework.

Search on sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn for ideas, or ask around to see what job titles your current responsibilities align with. Besides researching job titles that accurately explain your responsibilities at your job, also search for job titles that your company is already using. When you're negotiating a title change, you don't want your request to be ignored because it doesn't fit your company's existing hierarchy.

2. Explain your reasoning.

Now that you've done your homework and you've confirmed that your job title isn't fit for your current responsibilities, you'll need to prove that your job title isn't sufficient anymore.

For instance, if you were hired as a content writer but now you're in charge of other writers, the editorial calendar, and content marketing, show them the data. Talk to them about how your responsibilities go far beyond an average content writer. Explain to them how you can't successfully dictate who should focus on blog content for this month and why you're having trouble assigning white papers because other content writers don't think you have that authority.

Sometimes not having the appropriate job title can mean other departments not giving you the right information or even the respect needed to do the job. Maybe the social media department is not taking you seriously because your job title suggests otherwise. If you can show how the job title is affecting your work, you have a better chance of getting the change you seek. 

3. Show how it's mutually beneficial.

Successful negotiations should benefit both parties. Explain to your boss that by changing your job title, it'll give you the authority necessary to guide other coworkers, get the information you need without resistance, and consult with clients that wouldn't have taken you seriously before.

Then, you need to show how this benefits them and the company. Explain how if your title changes from "Sales Associate" to "Sales Manager", clients will see you as an expert instead of just another worker at the company. By having this credibility, it makes it easier for you to gain clients' trust and close more deals.

If you're a business owner, I recommend allowing your employees the chance to voice their concern through quarterly meetings. 

4. Be professional if they deny your request.

The truth is that even with all the evidence being in your favor, some employers won't approve a job title change. If this does happen, don't get offended. There's usually a reason why they declined.

If anything, they'll start to watch you and your actions after your request more. Continue to manage your responsibilities and ask again in a few months.

Negotiating for a job title change isn't rocket science. If you truly believe that you deserve it, finding the evidence you need won't be hard.

Not all negotiations are successful the first time but that doesn't mean you should give up. If you do need to ask them again, repeat this process and you should get what you want. Either way, asking for a job title change, without a raise, will show you how valuable you are to your company. Depending on the outcome, you might get what you want. If not, perhaps it's time to dust off your resume.

Published on: Feb 28, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.