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What is the difference between job title and job role?

For example, from the Google documentation on rich snippets:

title — The person's title (for example, Financial Manager)
role — The person's role (for example, Accountant)

I can't see a difference in meaning between the two.

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1  
Titles are succinct; roles are more descriptive of responsibilities. –  cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Mar 17 '13 at 1:20
    
A RECEPTIONIST is usually the first person you see as you enter a corporate office, for example. That's a job TITLE. His or her ROLE is gatekeeper. The gatekeeper is the person who keeps the "gate" to employees further up the food chain closed to undesirables or people who do not have appointments, whether these people present themselves in person or over the telephone. –  rhetorician Mar 17 '13 at 1:35
    
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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

A "job role" is a description of what a person does. A "job title" is a convenient name for a role.

For example: At my last job, my role was to write code that helped us be sure that our product worked as well as we thought it did. My title was Software Engineer, because it's (as noted in the comments on your post) short and to the point. People know what a Software Engineer does in general, without a long explanation.

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A title is the name of a position within the company heirarchy. "Production Engineer," "Maintenance Engineer," and "Reliability Engineer" are examples of job positions that various kinds of engineers (Chemical Engineers, Mechanical Engineers, etc., by their training) may be hired into.

A role is the part that is played within a specific work process within the company. For example, during a large maintenance outage at a chemical plant, the Maintenance Engineer might be placed in charge of crane lifts, as a safety liaison; a Production Engineer may handle the plant shut-down and start-up logistics by interfacing with outside Utilities people--his role might be called "shutdown coordinator"; and a Reliability Engineer might fill the role of a "gatekeeper" that evaluates unplanned problems found during the planned work, to decide if the additional work should be accomplished during the outage or put off until later.

So a job title speaks to certain abilities and typical tasks based on training and experience, but also speaks to the level of the job within the organization (consider an Assistant Professor versus a Professor) and determines pay grade. But a job role is the application of talents and abilities specific to a situation. A person holding a job title can have different roles in different situations.

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