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How to Make Sure Your Job Title Accurately Reflects What You Really Do

Diane Cobbold Blog

reading resume at laptop

Recruiters and HR Professionals realize that job titles commonly don’t reflect the true position. They will be looking at your breadth and depth of experience, so ensure your resume emphasizes accomplishments.

Job titles can be something we strive for. They can be ways of understanding the hierarchy in an organization, but they can also be misleading.

When you’re job searching, there are a few things you need to remember about job titles.

  • At a large organization Position A could have a Manager title, where at a smaller company the same position could have a Director title.
  • Titles are not always reflective of the role.  You could have the title of Senior Business Analyst, but you may also have a few direct reports, which is typically associated with a Manager title.
  • Some job titles are very obscure albeit creative and can be specific to your organization.  While on the surface it may seem fun to have the title of “Chief Inspiration Officer," these titles are commonly disguising the true nature of the position.

If you have a job title that is not truly reflective of what you did, or on the obscure side, you need to consider double branding yourself.  You still need to include your official title on your resume, as this is what your HR department will confirm was your last role, however, depending on your personal preference, there are also a few creative options to consider:

  • If you expect your resume to be digitally scanned through an ATS system (applicant tracking system), consider adding a keywords section under your introductory profile that provides a string of key words of your core skills, experience, including 1-2 titles that are more commonly recognized as your role in the general marketplace.
  • On your LinkedIn profile, use the “headline” section to showcase your uniqueness, strategic skill sets and add titles more in line with the general marketplace.
  • Beside the title on your resume, consider adding in brackets the general marketplace equivalent of your title.
  • On your resume underneath the title, add a position scope statement.  In 1-2 sentences provide the reader with a succinct overview of your role and add the title more commonly recognized in the marketplace.

Do your research to identify what your role is more commonly referred to in the general marketplace. Go onto a few online job board sites and in the search field enter a string of accountabilities and keywords associated with your current position. Try some variations and review the positions and the corresponding titles that are found, as these are great indicators of what titles other organizations use.

Job titles can be ways of understanding the hierarchy in an organization, but they can also be misleading.

Diane CobboldVP, Business Development
Recruiters and HR Professionals realize that job titles commonly don’t reflect the true position. They will be looking at your breadth and depth of experience, so ensure your resume emphasizes your accomplishments and accountabilities vs general responsibilities.

Similarly, when you’re searching for opportunities, don’t automatically exclude positions based on whether Position A has a Manager, or Director title.  Look at the position in its entirety.  Do some research on the organization.  Look at other roles they have posted on their career page and develop an understanding of how they classify positions.

You could miss excellent opportunities if you immediately dismiss what you perceive as junior roles based solely on the job title.

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