When Your Job Title Doesn't Tell The Full Story

When Your Job Title Doesn't Tell The Full Story

Posted on Oct. 9, 2015, 6:28 p.m.

Career expert and Founder of The Prepary, Jaime Petkanics, has kindly offered her resume advice in the must-read below.  Read on to learn how to best handle your job title when it doesn’t accurately depict your role.

Last week I had the opportunity to speak to the local leaders of the Levo community about some job search advice and a really good question came up:

What should you do in terms of your resume if your job title doesn’t accurately reflect the scope or nature of your job? As I’ve written about in the past, it is important for your reader to have a really clear understanding of what you’ve done in under 6 seconds.

Since your reader is skimming, job titles are a pretty important aspect of the resume. If a recruiter is going through 100 applications in their system, they may not even make it to the content of your resume bullets! So what should you do when the title doesn’t say it all?

I have 2 good options you can implement super easily and none of them involve lying about a job title, which I do NOT recommend.

Option 1: Add a secondary, more recognizable title or a few keywords in parenthesis

This is a good tip for appealing to a reader but also caters to ATS systems that sometimes do the first screen. One of my titles in the past was Talent Acquisition Associate but that job is more often referred to as a recruiter. On my resume, I added that in:

Talent Acquisition Associate (Recruiter)

Another example of adding details in parenthesis would be if your title is too vague. Let’s say you’re a Marketing Executive Assistant but you also have social media and event planning responsibilities. You might handle that like this:

Marketing Executive Assistant (Administrative Support, Social Media, and Event Planning)

Option 2: Add a summary before your bullets

If there is a really succinct way to qualify your title, the above tactic works perfectly. However, if your title needs further explanation or you feel that the scope of your role is much more impressive than the title indicates, you might want to include a summary before diving into the bullets. Here’s an example below:

Marketing Manager

Responsible for user acquisition, community management, and planning 10+ high-profile events annually. Manage a 2MM budget and exceeded acquisition goals by 150% in 2015.

  • bullet 1
  • bullet 2
  • bullet 3
  • bullet 4

The reason I am suggesting these 2 approaches versus changing your job title is because lying on a resume can come back to haunt you in a big way.

If a future employer learns your job titles were misrepresented on your resume in a background or reference check, it could cost you the job.

This post originally appeared on The Prepary.

Jaime’s Background

Jaime Petkanics is the Founder of The Prepary, an online resource and consulting service that helps people navigate their job searches and careers. Prior to starting The Prepary, Jaime was a Recruiter and Talent Manager for 7 years at top companies including JPMorgan and Tory Burch.

From sitting on the other side of the table, Jaime learned first hand what separated the good candidates from great ones and is passionate about sharing that knowledge with others. Through her consulting services, she has helped over 100 clients reach their job search goals. Jaime's advice has been featured in Fast Company, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and The Muse and The Prepary was named by Forbes as one of the top 100 websites for your career.