A job title is a simple description that refers to the responsibilities of a job and the level of the position. An accurate job title is important because it describes what you do and shows how you’re progressing up the career ladder in your field. Read on to learn how to list your current and previous job titles on your resume and how to use job titles in your search.
Using the correct job title on your resume and during job interviews is essential. You can’t just make up any term you want for your job description because it may not be accurate or mean anything to an interviewer. In addition, job titles can be useful tools you can use to search for jobs in your industry.
Listing job titles might not seem like a critical part of your resume, but this snapshot of the pros and cons of using correct titles can help explain why they matter.
Accurate titles give your interviewer a frame of reference for your work.
Actual titles show career progression and any upward mobility.
Titles indicate to interviewers your level of experience, such as supervisor-level or management-level work.
Made-up titles don't offer any useful information to your interviewer
Changing a title raises a red flag because it won't match your job history, LinkedIn profile or a background check.
Listing Job Titles on Resumes
When you apply for a mid-career or upper-level job, employers review your resume to determine your career path and how that track fits with their needs. They want to see upward mobility.
For example, when an applicant has progressed from a software engineer to a senior developer to a chief technology officer, most likely with other jobs in between those, the hiring manager sees that the candidate has been promoted, changed jobs, or otherwise advanced during her career.
Your current job title not only reflects the jobs you've held, but it also provides companies with information on your career level. For example, if your job title includes the words "supervisor" or "manager," it will indicate that you have management experience.
When you create your resume, you’ll need to list your current and previous jobs, the companies you worked for, and the dates you worked there. The job title is the first thing you see for each entry.
Here's an example of how to list a job title:
Carbarra Communications Inc.
- Manage media planning and event coordination for local and regional clients
- Coordinate with Media Affairs director on national campaigns
- Manage production of press releases, blog posts, media advisories, and newspaper articles to drive usage and adherence to brand
- Coordinate with creative services to produce appropriately branded materials needed for press conferences and meetings
Can You Change a Job Title on Your Resume?
When you create your resume, you may wonder if it’s acceptable to change the job title of a position that you held, or maybe you’re thinking about expanding the amount of time you held the job.
Technically you can change your job title, but it’s not a good idea. A resume is a synopsis of your employment and educational experience. It’s not a formal document on which you must attest that everything you have written is accurate, like a job application, but using alternative job titles could result in problems at some point.
The issue with changing your job title is that it won’t match your employment history. When prospective employers check your background or review your LinkedIn profile (and many do), it will be a red flag when titles or times at work don’t match what you have on your resume.
For example, if your resume says you worked as a process engineer, but your actual job title was junior process engineer, what you said isn't going to match what your employer says, and that's an issue. Details matter, and what you say about your work history needs to match what your previous employers say.
Using Job Titles in a Job Search
Depending upon where you are in your career, you may know exactly which job titles you qualify for so it’ll be easy enough to use job search engines such as Indeed.com. Use your current or desired job title as a keyword (a word from a job title or a related term), in the search bar and find a job that interests you.
For example, if you do a search using the term "editorial manager" you’ll get a list of editorial positions. If you click on Title and More to see a list of the following related jobs:
- Marketing Manager
- Social Media Manager
- Communications Manager
- Content Manager
- Project Manager
- Public Relations Manager
- Marketing Communications Manager
- Web Content Manager
- Social Media Coordinator
Job titles can also be helpful if you’re a career changer or not sure of all the positions that suit you. Start your search with a keyword then view the "People also searched" list of job titles related to your search term (you'll find them at the bottom of the page).
This is an example of a resume that lists job titles. Download the resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.
Resume Sample (Text Version)
1234 Rainier St.
Renton, WA 98055
Visionary and highly respected Chief Technology Officer (CTO) with repeated success capitalizing upon technological resources to drive corporate success and position operations for sustainable growth.
Data & Analytics: Solutions-oriented and proactive in analyzing products and processes to enhance technology offerings. Leverage superb logical and creative thinking skills to anticipate project outcomes and minimize risk.
Communications: Fluently present complex information to executive officers, project stakeholders, and clients, persuasively building strong business relationships and platform partner networks.
Leadership and Teamwork: Rely upon passion for technology to explore new avenues, establish strategic goals, and inspire team ownership of technology development ventures.
ABC TECHNOLOGIES – Seattle, WA Chief Technology Officer, 01/2015 to Present Held oversight for technology leadership across corporate strategic planning, R&D, product development, and engineering divisions.
- Positioned company to pioneer development of service-oriented architecture for cloud-based services.
- Championed new product design initiatives that increased revenues by 48%.
- Negotiated strategic partnerships with affiliates in eastern Europe leading to 95% dominance of untapped markets.
XYZ SOFTWARE – Renton, WA Senior Software Developer, 01/2010 to 12/2014 Liaised with team members and business partners to build out data integration solutions and back-end services with non-trivial scaling requirements.
- Directly contributed to achievement of 3 patents for computer-implemented processes.
- Incorporated novel security features into data integration products that ensured optimal compliance with industry regulations.
- Built new search functionality into Brandbuilder software that improved usability by 75%.
- Skillfully collaborated with development team to consistently finish assigned projects well ahead of deadline.
UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON, Seattle, WA
Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering
Graduated Magna cum Laude