Daily Tip: Dump the Ninja

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It’s one thing to refer to people colloquially as “coding ninjas” or “programming wizards,” but it’s quite another when such terms begin appearing on business cards—which they do, periodically, at startups.

And that’s great for startups: Nothing conveys a sense of fun and creativity like switching out stodgy ol’ “Chief Technology Officer” for “Grand Czar of Macbooks” (even if you end up on a Buzzfeed list of “Worst Startup Job Titles Ever” as a result). But such titles won’t fly when you’re searching for a job, or even startup funding.

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For starters, most job-centric search engines won’t return many results for “ninjas,” “beasts,” or “superstars.” Second, most recruiters and corporate HR staff aren’t on the lookout for people with resumes full of rhetorical cuteness: they want developers, programmers, managers, and others with straightforward job titles that hint at professionalism and seriousness.

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Even at startups, a roster full of ninjas and superbeasts can prove problematic when the time comes to solicit funding from VCs who sleep better knowing their money is in the hands of responsible, levelheaded human beings. Be aware of that, the next time someone asks, “So what do you want printed on your business card?”

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