Resumes – The Importance of Using Job Titles on Resumes

One thing that some people will put on their resume is use the type of job they had like Accounting or Finance for their job title instead of their actual job title while creating the section for their work experience.  The problem with this is that your department doesn’t say what level you are at or give a clue as to your experience or specialty.  With that said, listing your official title might not be good enough to get called in for an interview either.

Many times when people in HR are looking for candidates, they’ll do a search in their own databases for a particular keyword or phrase.  If that phrase doesn’t appear in your resume or sometimes in your job titles, your resume will get skipped over and you will miss out on the job.  Let’s go over a few of the reasons why listing the type of work you did as opposed to a descriptive job title may not be the best thing for your job search.

Listing the department you worked in, instead of your job title.

If you have put the date range or company name that you worked for on your resume, then just the department, your resume doesn’t tell the people in HR what you actually did or what level you were at in the company at a glance.  You have to be more descriptive.  Saying you were in IT is great, but that doesn’t say you were a director or a Java Programmer.  HR people don’t have time to read every resume.  If your resume and your job titles aren’t clear at a quick glance, and if they don’t show that you have the experience the HR people are looking for, you may be passed up.  Think about it this way, if you had to look through a pile of 100 resumes to find a senior accounts payable director and only had 30 minutes, which of the following job titles would stand out to you.

  • Accounting
  • Accounting Specialist
  • Sr. Director of Accounting
  • Accounts Payable
  • Director of Accounts Payable
  • Accounting Manager

Exactly!  The person who put down Director of Accounts Payable would probably have a bit of experience and may be at a senior level.  Because they included something a bit more descriptive about their previous role, they stand out when the person in HR is looking for that particular title or skill set and career level.  The people that put down Accounts Payable, Director of Accounts Payable and possibly the Sr. Director of Accounting (because they are at a senior level) may be the other ones that get pulled out of the pile for an interview because they were more descriptive and more closely relevant to what the HR professional was looking for.  The rest of the resumes will probably end up left behind.

Your job title and HR professionals searching their databases.

When people in HR use databases to search for candidates, they usually type in specific job titles and keywords.  This is different from the automated resume screening tools because these people have already made it through the tool and into the database.  If your resume doesn’t have the proper job titles and the keywords that the people in HR would be looking for, there is a good chance that the person in HR won’t find you when they have a job open up that you are a good fit for.  Instead, someone else who did include a job title that matches the search query should come up, and they will probably get the interview because their resume was more easily found.  So how can you predict what the search query might be or how can you adjust your titles to show up more often?  Here are some things to think about.

Search the careers section of their company’s website and the job boards for their company’s listings.

If there is a company you really want to work for, look on their website for how they list jobs and titles.  You can also look through the major job sites by company and see how they have listed the job that you want when they were hiring for it in the past.  Then when you are getting ready to submit your resume to the company, take your job title and make sure it matches the way that the company lists the job publicly.  If you cannot match it exactly, you can at least make sure that contains the keywords from the title.  You do have to have actually had that title before though so you aren’t lying.  Here are a couple of examples of how to alter titles and keywords so you can match them to the way that the company lists them.

Marketing Director could also be Director of Marketing.  If you had a specialty you could also focus it more like Director of Online Marketing or Online Marketing Director.  In both cases the two are pretty much the same, the only difference is that you are trying to match how the company labels their jobs.  Also, if you are going after more search queries, the Online Marketing Director or Director of Online Marketing will match more queries because you have added on the extra term without straying to much.  Now whenever the person in HR is looking for Online Marketing and Marketing Directors, you should have a better chance of showing up because the keywords and titles are incorporated into your resume.

It is important to be descriptive but concise within your resume.  Make sure you list your actual job title and make sure the keywords that could be searched are there.  You should also research how the companies you want to work for have listed the same or similar positions in the past so that you can make sure your resume matches the same keyword phrases.  This should help to give you a boost on internal HR candidate search queries and hopefully more calls for interviews when those companies are looking to hire.

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HR, job, Job Interview, jobs, jobsearch, resume