How Important Are Job Titles on Your Resume?
How often do you really think about your job title? Given how various titles can often describe the same role across different organizations, many job seekers do not stop to think about how important their job title truly is in the grand scheme of things. What you don’t realize is that the job title you put on your resume could be holding you back from a fantastic opportunity that might be just what you desire.
Human resources managers tend to focus on your job titles. Your title helps tell your story and lets the potential employer know what it is that you did and what level you are at in your career. Depending on what industry you work in, your job title can often be quite perplexing and misleading. This makes it difficult for a hiring manager to judge your individual skill level and experience accurately.
Instead of allowing your job title to hold you back, you can use it to your advantage to take your career to the next level.
Highlight Your Functional Role
If you truly feel your current title does not accurately depict your role, then you can use the profile summary parts of both your resume and LinkedIn profile to provide a higher-level functional role that provides more clarity. For example, if you work for a consulting company and your job title is specific to your organization (ex. Strategy Engineer, Strategy & Insights Associate, Business Strategy Associate, etc.) then you can call yourself a Strategy Consultant in the top portion of your resume and in your LinkedIn headline. That way, your responsibilities are understood to recruiters who may be less familiar with your organization so that they can still identify you as a candidate for the right roles.
Bridge the Gap
Often, many individuals find themselves waiting to apply for a higher position because they feel that their current title doesn’t portray their abilities clearly. Just because your job title might be Associate Editor, that doesn’t mean your resume should only focus on lower-level duties if you are doing more. If you are doing tasks that an Editor would do, you should focus on those. By listing out your higher-level experience, you can take your resume to the next level. Just because your title says associate, that doesn’t mean you have to let it hold you back from moving forward in your career.
Don’t Leave Out Relevant Titles
For many individuals, they end up doing the job of someone else without having the official title. If you are doing the work of a Consultant but hold the title of Application Manager, you might want to consider listing your title as Consultant / Application Manager. This shows that you have experience in more than just one role. It’s important to highlight all of the roles you held in your career, even if you weren’t given the official title to go along with the duties.
Change Your Focus
Another great way to highlight the diverse array of skills you have to offer is to change the way you list your job title. Instead of putting Associate Editor, consider listing your role as XYZ Company – Editorial Team. Even though you were an associate, it doesn’t highlight the lower-level title as much. The critical thing to remember is that you don’t want to be misleading or embellish upon your title just for the sake of landing your dream job.
Once you go in for your interview, you can explain your role in the company and how you evolved from much more than just an associate. Highlight your leadership and higher-level skills to portray your abilities in the best light possible. If the organization didn’t give you a higher-level title due to their own protocols or budget, make sure you let the potential employer know that during your interview. By de-emphasizing your title and highlighting your skills and accomplishments, you can help your resume stand out.
It’s always best to be cautious when crafting your documents so you don’t say something that isn’t accurate or cannot be verified. If the potential employer calls your former employers to confirm your role, you don’t want them to find out you lied on your application. By creating a resume that focuses on what you’ve accomplished in the past and what you can do for an employer, you can improve your chances of landing the job you want.
So long story short – job titles matter, but you have more control than you think to ensure that you market yourself appropriately.