QUESTION: My progressive job titles don’t truly reflect the scope of my responsibilities on my last job. Can I change them to better titles on my resume?
Altering your job title can negatively impact you, especially when the discrepancies between your official title and the resume are revealed in the background check. There are 3 ways to manage this. 1) Put a similar title next to the official one: UNIX Administrator (DevOps Engineer), 2) Emphasize your responsibility in each role, and 3) Stake a claim on your career target with a branded headline.
Job titles are relative to the respective company and may not clearly convey the role to an outsider. Combining a relevant function or common job title with the formal job title is a good strategy. Not only does this help with keyword optimization, but it frames the content for the reader, helping them make the connection. Example: Force Chief (Workforce Analyst / Operations & Budget Management).
Title accuracy is important and being creative to enhance keyword alignment may be viewed as inflating or misrepresenting your previous levels of responsibility. Instead, include descriptors that provide better insight into what your past roles actually entailed and frame your accomplishments to accentuate your expertise, skills, and value offering.
While you should keep your official job title intact on your resume, it’s perfectly acceptable to create compound job titles that reflect primary or target job functions, as in: Assistant Manager | Operations, B2B Sales, Contract Negotiation, and Team Leadership. Bonus: This keyword development also serves you very well in your LinkedIn profile, where job titles index first in LinkedIn algorithms.
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