Can You Change Your Job Title on Your Resume?

When your job title does not accurately represent what you do, it can be difficult to market your skills to potential employers.  While it may be tempting to edit your job title so that it provides a more accurate description of your experience, it is a bad idea.  Here’s why:     

It makes you look dishonest.  Chances are that somebody is going to figure out that you got creative with your job title and when they do, they won’t look at you in the same way.  Hiring managers are naturally suspicious of applicants, so don’t give them any reason to distrust you.     

It gives the employer the right to terminate you later.  Lying on your resume is a cardinal sin.  It is considered to be so serious that even after you’ve been working with an employer for ten years, they still have the right to immediately terminate your employment if they discover your deception.  Although you may think that it’s justified, altering your job title could be considered as lying.  Simply put, it’s just not worth the risk.

If your job title does not accurately represent your skills and experience, here are some other ways that you can strengthen your resume: 

Outline all of your relevant skills in your career summary.  Customize your career summary to your target position.  This will immediately draw the employer’s eyes to your related skills and show them that you are a good fit for the job.   

Summarize your true responsibilities in your cover letter.  Your cover letter gives you more room to expand on your experience.  Use this opportunity to clarify any potential misunderstandings about your job title.    

Include a descriptive job title in brackets after your official job title.  While most employers will understand that you are using the brackets to explain a vague or misleading job title, you need to be prepared to justify itYou may be asked to explain why you think that your descriptive job title is more accurate and persuade employers that you are not just attempting to make your experience look more impressive than it actually is.

Finding a new job is difficult, and it can be even more challenging when your job titles don’t match your actual experience.  However, think carefully before you make the decision to alter your job title; it may not help you much and it could make your job search a lot more complicated. 

(Written by: Karen Bivand, Photo by:  Ningmilo/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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