Is It Ever Okay to Tweak Your Job Titles?

I think that we can all agree that Marketing Manager sounds better than Marketing Assistant. While they both have significant responsibility, a manager typically has more responsibility and is considered to have higher qualifications than an assistant. Have you ever tweaked your job title in your resume to make your experience appear more than it was? Did it work? Did you nail that interview and secure a new role? If so, would you attribute it to revising your job title?

There are many reasons one may want to revise the job title on their resume. They may want to target a specific job or market and tweaking their resume could make them appear to be a more qualified candidate. The applicant received a raise but not a change in the job title. They performed duties that may have been equivalent to a different job title. They held several titles at the same job, or their job title is too generic. Job searchers are often overlooked due to generic job titles. If a resume search engine is looking for specific keywords, it may hurt you if your official title doesn’t match the job posting. Although it may be tempting, it isn’t a great idea to tweak your job title if it results in embellishing what you did. Some human resources personnel even view it as lying on your resume.

If a hiring manager follows up with your references and they learn that you may have promoted yourself, it could cost you a job offer. A way to get around this could be to list your actual job title and, in parenthesis, write the equivalent of the work you did and, of course, be prepared to explain it during your interview. For example, while it may show on paper that you worked two years as a Marketing Assistant, your duties were equivalent to that of a Marketing Manager because you reported to the Director of Marketing and the manager role was vacant.

Another reason against tweaking job titles is getting caught up in an interview when asked to explain specific instances during an interview. Unless you’re a phenomenal improviser, it’s best, to be honest about your duties and roles. Then, when you interview, you aren’t nervous about them asking you too many questions about that “director” role you listed at the top of your resume. It’s also ethical to do be honest about your past employment. Employers want to hire truthful people, and it’s easier to explain that your job title didn’t encompass all the work you did versus why you listed yourself as a director on your resume when your official title was manager.

HR reps and recruiters spend about six seconds perusing your resume before passing it along to a hiring manager, so it’s argued that It’s okay to tweak your job title to make it more specific. Still, you don’t want to outright embellish your role.  A rule of thumb says it’s okay to use both titles if you had duties that encompassed multiple positions or to modernize your job title, but you never want to “tweak up” or give yourself a promotion if it didn’t happen. In addition, you don’t want to mislead your potential new employers or misrepresent your experience.

While it may not be the first thing recommended to perfect your resume, it isn’t entirely uncommon to tweak your job title. If you’re able to explain the work you did and why you changed it from your official duty title, then definitely revise it, but don’t get carried away! Before you make any changes, ask yourself if your previous employer would agree that the work you did aligns with the title you list on your resume. If your potential employer calls your previous employer, they won’t be surprised.


This article was written by Launa.
Launa is a writer/actress currently living in the DC area. She loves performing, traveling, trying new restaurants and mommy-daughter time with her baby girl. If you need talent or content for your project you can reach Launa at contactlauna@gmail.com.

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