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Resume Tip - Job Titles Matter

Job titles matter because they have a major impact on job search.

Fact #1: Virtually every profile and resume is part of or placed into a searchable database

  • Whether searching where candidate information was originally posted (e.g LinkedIn, traditional job sites, etc.) or looking within the applicant tracking system
  • The scope and locations of candidate information continues to grow sites pop up beyond LinkedIn, traditional job search engines (e.g. Monster, etc.)

Fact #2: Your job title is one of the primary tools to screen you into a pool of eligible candidates.

  • Job title is the logic place to start to screen in eligible candidates who are either at or could move into the open role (e.g. Marketing Director, Senior Financial Analyst).

These two facts are why your job title matters.  In the spirit of “Help Them, Help You” a few tips to make sure your title actually helps you.

  • For the in-transition candidate with their own consulting firm: Ditch the CEO, President, Principal, Founder, etc. title as there is a risk that you will screened out, if your consulting title is not the same as your prior title.  Use the title from your last role to describe the type of consulting: Director of Finance – Consultant.  That is the title where your experience lies and will be truly judged.
  • Companies/Industries with ‘honorary’ and ‘functional’ titles (e.g. “Vice President – Manager of Finance” role): Using the honorary title only will exclude from jobs where you truly qualify.  If you are applying to a like industry (e.g. Financial Services), then put the title in your role description, but keep the functional title.
  • Companies/Industries with unique title (e.g. “Level 12 Analyst”): Adjust your title to fit an external position so it is easily recognizable to outsiders. For this example, your title would be: Senior Financial Analyst (internal title: Level 12 Analyst).  You can keep the internal name, to help confirm your employment or title.   Many government jobs would fall into this category.
  • Large company title for smaller company position: The issue is when you are at a large firm which has big roles, but title below that of a smaller firm (e.g. Director role that would be Vice President in smaller firm).   First, use information for the database only to get screened in by title (See this blog post: Great Resume Tip – Words for Database Only).  Second, in your title add some description: Director of Finance of $5 Billion firm (similar title in $500 million firm: Vice President of Finance) – give them a reference point in revenue.  Third, in your description of the role, the first bullet should be your scope (direct employees, expense budget, etc. – anything to show the size is similar).
  • Military roles:  These are probably the toughest to convert, there are some great tools (for example: Military.com) to assist veterans with the transition.

Ultimately, you will be judged by your skill set, but your job title matters to get screened in.

Good luck today.

Mark