Guideline UL-HRG20 Working Job Titles

Main Policy Content


  • Purpose
  • Background
  • Guidelines
  • Approval Process


To state the University Libraries’ guidelines on the acceptable use of Working Job Titles, and to define the process for review and approval.


The University Libraries converted to Penn State's Competency Job Evaluation System in November 2010.  The Competency Job Titles are broad and very general.  In some cases, it may be beneficial to use a Working Job Title that is more specific, especially when dealing with the public, vendors, or other units of the Libraries or University.


  • Working Titles may be used in all areas of the Libraries.
  • Working Titles may be used in correspondence, on business cards, on name tags, or anywhere else that a job title would normally appear.
  • Working Titles will be shown in both the University Libraries' Directory, and the University-wide Directory.  If no Working Title is used, the Competency Title will show.  
  • Working Titles must be approved (see below) before being used.  
  • A Working Title should not be used if the Competency Title is sufficient and/or self-explanatory.
  • The Working Title must not imply a status or authority level beyond that which the person holds.
  • An existing Competency Title should not be used as a Working Title for a different Competency Title.  
  • Acceptable working titles are:  
    • Competency Title + a designation of department, area, function, or specialty (Example: "Information Resources and Services Specialist, Lending")
    • Specialist, Coordinator, Assistant, or Cataloger + Function, Specialty or Area (Examples: "Preservation Specialist" or "Maps Cataloger")
    • Supervisor or Manager + Function or Area (Example: "Supervisor, Acquisitions")
  • Distinctions of position levels, such as "Senior" or numeric or alphabetic levels should only be used when they distinguish between levels of authority that are relevant to people outside the unit.  
  • "Manager" and "Supervisor" should only be used for jobs that are classified in the Information Resources and Services Supervisor/Manager Competency Profile (or the equivalent if the job falls outside the Information Resources and Services job family).
  • Normally a "Manager" title can be used in the following cases:
    • When the organizational structure is such that other Supervisors report directly to this position.
    • When the individual has significant independent authority and responsibility for a unit, including responsibility for a substantial budget, authority to make budget expenditures, and authority for employment (hiring and termination) decisions.
    • When the individual has responsibility for overseeing the work of full-time staff (as opposed to part-time or student wage employees).
    • The decision to use a "Manager" title should take into consideration the scope of the job relative to other supervisory positions; "Manager" will typically be used for positions with a broad scope, multiple complex functions, a complex organizational structure, impact beyond the local work unit, and so on.
    • Typically a "Manager" title will only be used for positions classified at Level 5, or rarely Level 4, of the IR&S Supervisor/Manager competency title.  
  • "Library" may be added to a Working Title if it is beneficial to distinguish a Library position from other areas of the University (Example: "Library Supervisor, Shipping and Receiving").
  • For employment and payroll purposes, the Competency Title remains the official title.


Working Titles are recommended by the appropriate Department Head, and require review and approval by the appropriate Assistant/Associate Dean and the Libraries Human Resources Manager.

Effective Date: January 2011
Date Approved: December 2010 (Dean's Library Council)

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • January 2011 -- New guideline

Last Review Date:  January 2011