How to Answer the Question “What’s Your Desired Job Title?” On Your Resume
You’re about to write your resume and send it to that company you hope to work in. You’ve done enough homework and are equipped with the necessary information. You’re sure that not only will your resume impress, but you’ll also pass the interview.
With all the confidence you have, are you aware of the job title challenge which many job applicants face?
If you’re not sure what we’re talking about, then that’s because you’re likely among those who don’t use job titles on their resumes. Many job candidates only mention a job title in their cover letters and not on their resumes.
And just to be clear, we’re not talking about specifying what title you had when previously working at a given company. No, we’re talking about mentioning the job title you’d like to hold in the new position you’re applying for.
In other words, we’re talking about guiding the hiring manager into giving you a specific title and the benefits that come with it.
Sounds great? Crazy?
Don’t worry. If you’ve always thought that being a job seeker means that you’re the underdog in the negotiations, you might think that this is crazy. But if you’re the kind that has developed enough confidence in your skills, then you know you can indeed dictate some terms of your employment.
Too many job applicants don’t understand this, thereby failing to start the conversation early enough. One of the things that cause them not to indicate their desired job title is some element of fear.
Fear is a big word and the mention of it here might seem misplaced. But it’s not.
You can choose to call them concerns but the truth is that there is a general lack of confidence. Anyone who wants to build self confidence must deal with fear.
Here’s why many don’t specify job titles on their resumes.
WHY MANY JOB APPLICANTS DON’T WRITE THEIR DESIRED JOB TITLES ON THEIR RESUMES
If you don’t include in your resume the title you want in your next job, you’re not alone. And the reasons you don’t do it are also not unrealistic—they’re very understandable.
Here are two reasons given by many candidates for not writing a job title on their resumes. As you will learn through this article, these reasons are actually a hindrance.
1. You risk limiting your options
Who wants to limit their opportunities of getting hired? No one. Isn’t it the reason you’re researching on resume writing in the first place and even rehearsing interview questions?
Since you certainly don’t want to be jobless, what do you do to maximize on the available opportunities?
You instinctively churn out resumes and send them to as many potential employers as possible. This is not a very bad thing to do and mathematically speaking, it does increase your odds. At least a hiring manager somewhere will see your qualifications and contact you on a position she feels you can do well in.
The key words here are “she feels you can do well.” In other words, you’ve sent resumes in the hope that a company somewhere will see your skills and offer you a job they think you can do.
So, not specifying a position or title could help you get a job, right?
And now we come and tell you to specify a job title on your resume?
We gotta be kidding, right?
Yes, it makes sense to want to cast your net wide so as not to limit your options.
2. Your resume might be dropped if there isn’t such an opening
The moment the hiring manager receives a resume with the title “Project Manager,” yet they don’t have such an opening, what does she do?
You might quickly say that she tosses it away. Or, in the case the resume was received via email, deletes it. Or worse, if you can imagine it, labels it as spam.
So, sure, no need of risking by writing a job title, right?
But is that really what happens? Could it be that you’re going very far with the negative imagination?
For instance, are you aware that many hiring managers have a resume database which they consult when seeking to fill future job openings?
Are you aware that hiring managers are mandated with hiring people who will solve problems and as such can create a new position for someone who shows potential for solving the company’s problems?
WHY YOU SHOULD WRITE YOUR DESIRED JOB TITLE ON YOUR RESUME
As we mentioned, your concerns are very reasonable. And we understand the reasoning behind playing it safe. All the same, we urge you to consider some of the benefits of writing your desired job title on your resume.
We have five reasons why we think you should start including that title on your resume. Here they are.
1. It ensures your resume lands in the right hands
If you’ve been through a successful interview process and you got hired, then you know that you rarely get interviewed by HR only. The head of the department you work in was present at least in the second or third interview. This makes for a panel interview.
This is because the hiring manager of the company knows about the general needs of the company and can look out for overall company interests. But for the specif qualifications and needs of the department you’ll join, the immediate head of that department must be involved.
Now take for instance a situation where the sales department is responsible for marketing activities. They obviously have many challenges with this. They realize the need for someone or a separate department to handle marketing but are still talking among themselves.
The hiring manager, who communicates with other teams might have heard of their challenge. Or maybe hasn’t. But as a professional, upon receiving an impressive resume with the job title “Marketing Strategist,” forwards it to the sales team leader or manager.
What do you think will happen next?
What if you had sent a generic resume with no title? And considering that your resume should reflect the job you’re applying for, what job exactly will you be aiming for with a generic title-less resume? Who will it be forwarded to? Under what category will it be stored in the resumes database?
2. It provides context for your resume
Another benefit of including a job title in your resume is that it provides some context to the person reading the resume. If your resume has the title “Procurement Director,” then anyone reading the resume expects to see work experience and education relating to the same.
The skills you write in your resume are expected to be relevant to the job title in your resume. So what if your resume doesn’t have a job title?
Without a job title, the hiring manager will find it difficult associating your resume to anything or rating it against anything. Your resume will be like a piece of paper with personal details, some experiences and skills but nothing showing what the information is relevant to.
To understand this, consider the fact that the best-performing resumes are highly targeted. They are tailored to a specific job and that job is specified in the job post.
To utilize this fact and make your resume perform well, you come up with a job title then tailor your resume to it.
3. A job title shows your career growth
Here is something you might not have thought about. The job title you write on your resume tells a lot about the kind of employee you can be. If after several years of working you still write a resume with no title, then you’re making it difficult for the hiring manager to decide that you could add value.
You might have heard that hiring managers spend only 6 seconds on a single resume. This time is not enough to go through a resume from top to bottom. Yet to stand out among many applicants, you need your resume to be read in full.
How do you achieve that?
By simply impressing from the word go. This can easily be achieved by having the right resume format, design and writing an attractive and targeted resume summary. This comes at the top of your resume and one of the things that has to stand out up there is the title.
If you don’t have a title, then what’s the summary for?
Your summary highlights your achievements and those serve as evidence that you’re qualified to hold a certain position. What position then will your summary be showing you qualify to hold if you have no title on your resume?
This is quite logical. For example, if you are a production manager, you must have risen up the ranks. You might not be able to write all the job position you’ve held since you started. However, writing the title “Production Manager” in your resume indicates that you have been moving up.
If you’ve been moving up, then it could only be through promotions, which is a sign of recognized performance. This is the kind of reasoning the hiring manager engages in.
Just tell her from the onset what you aim to become and her curiosity will do the rest.
Obviously, the content of your resume must show you as a good production manager.
4. The title instantly shows your experience level
Related to the above point of showing your career growth, specifying a job title also shows your experience level. Just including it in your resume shows the amount of responsibility you can be entrusted with.
For example, let’s say that you’re currently an IT manager at a big retail company. You would like more growth but don’t see any room for that in retail. When you send out a resume with the job title “IT Director,” by just reading that, anyone will know that you have management-level experience.
And it’s true, going by your work experience as shown on your resume. And as someone aiming for an IT Director position, you definitely know a lot about other departments too, not just IT.
This puts you in a unique position to even bag job interviews you probably never expected. And with technology needed everywhere, if you show you have successfully implemented systems which helped your former employer improve business, then you’ve just increased your chances of growth.
5. It proves that you know what you want
Ever heard of someone being told off as not knowing what they want? That’s because they’re either not saying it or are saying it wrongly.
It’s does a lot of harm if this is being said of you.
And when it comes to career matters, one or either of these two issues will possibly be at the root of the problem:
- Lack of communication skills – when someone says that you don’t know what you want, it’s most likely because you haven’t communicated your needs well. This could mean that you haven’t defined your needs or you simply haven’t expressed them properly. Either way, you’re being labeled as being poor in communication. That’s pretty bad for career growth. And from the hiring manager’s perspective, that means problems working in teams. Teamwork flourishes where there’s good communication. If you can’t facilitate that, then you have to improve your communication skills before you can get hired.
- Lack of self-confidence – a lot of communication problems arise from low self-confidence and as we said, the culprit is always fear. If you’re not confident about your abilities, then you won’t be able to state them. Otherwise, what if you’re unable to meet the expectations?
Writing your preferred job title in your resume shows your confidence levels. It shows that you know exactly what you want and have no problem going for it.
In fact, specifying a title adds weight to your qualifications since it shows you have specialized in a certain aspect of your profession. When you’re not a jack of all trades, you’re bound to give better performance at work and provide more meaningful results.
Ask any hiring manager and they’ll tell you that they won’t hesitate sourcing for a specialized employee. And when they find one, employment terms can never be pushed by the employer without engaging the new hire.
With these facts in mind, how do you handle this issue of your desired job title in your resume? Let’s show you how.
WHAT JOB TITLE SHOULD YOU WRITE IN YOUR RESUME?
Choosing a job title to use in your resume isn’t just a matter of guesswork. Neither is it an issue of being creative and inventing a job title. This can negatively affect your chances of even getting considered for a future role. Professionalism is always necessary.
For best results, you need to look at the situation you’re in individually. And to help you understand that and appreciate the advice we have for you, we have divided this into a case of two scenarios.
First is when you’re applying for a job that has been advertised. The other scenario is when there are no advertised job positions.
Let’s see how best to go about this in both cases.
When applying for an advertised job
When you see a job post and you decide to apply for it, it’s pretty easy to know which is the best job title to use in your resume. Much of the work has been done for you.
Needless to say, this situation also limits your options a little bit. To a large extent, you’ll be expected to stick to the directions the employer has provided. But as we’ve already mentioned, you can always get a better deal if you know what to do and you do it well.
There are two ways of determining the best job title to use:
1. Write the job title on the job post – usually, when a company advertises for a position, it will specify that it’s looking for someone to fill a certain position. This position will often have a title associated with it. It could be sales manager, junior accountant or any other title.
When this is the case, it becomes a bit challenging to apply when you’re not any of these things. Obviously you can still apply but as far as the title goes, there’s a little cap. However, that doesn’t have to stop you from pushing a little bit.
If the position advertised is lower than your current one, or you simply want to get a higher position, just use a title showing this. The one thing you need to really focus on is tweaking your work experience and skills to show how you have slightly more than what they require.
For example, if they’re looking for an accountant, you can use the title “Senior Accountant.” With that title, highlight work experience that will show you to be able to do more than they currently need. And since the job description gives you more information, it should be easy stating your case for a higher position even during the interview.
2. Use the job description to come up with a desirable title – one of the most important parts of a job post is the job description. This part contains lots of information yet many job applicants seem not to realize it.
When you carefully read through the job description included in the job post, you’ll understand what the company is looking for. This is the information which helps you write a relevant resume in the first place. But what about the job title?
Since you’re aiming for a higher position or more responsibilities, you can target the position that is immediately above the one advertised.
For example, if the company is looking for a project coordinator, and the job description fits it, you can use the title project manager. If they’re looking for a web designer, you can go with web developer. What you need to ensure is that you have the qualification, especially through work experience.2.
When there are no advertised jobs
What about when you’re eyeing a position which isn’t advertised?
It may seem a bit challenging but this is actually the best opportunity to display your confidence and abilities. This is the time you can show the company that they actually need you even though they never realized their need.
Watch the below video for some tips on how to apply for a job when there is no opening.
One of the most important things you’ll need in this case, is information about the company. If all you have is a desire to work in the company, then you stand little chance. Desire and passion is great but if the company doesn’t think that they need you, convincing them can be challenging.
So, do your research. Know the company’s financial position, know its growth trajectory, know its competitors etc etc. The more information you have, the better you can address the need which is yet to exist—as far as the company management is concerned.
You see, every company always needs more growth. This is a need that will always exist. Often though, some minimal growth is seen as good enough and the attention then shifts to sustaining that growth.
If you can show that you can bring more growth, then you’re the person they needed, even though they didn’t know it.
Here is how to come up with the right title in such a situation.
- Use your current title – if your current job title is a good one, in the sense that you’re proud of it and it serves the purpose, use it. Pick the biggest accomplishments of your career which relate to the title and use them to show what you can do. Since you have no job description to guide you when tweaking your resume, the research you did will come in handy. Ensure that you tailor your resume to speak to the needs which you identified that the company has. Since your current job title is of someone who solves such problems and your resume shows it, then go ahead and apply.
- Write a title for a position higher than your current one – if you’re on the path of growth, then consider using a title higher than where you currently are. But be modest with ambitions. Using a title such as “Warehouse Manager” when you’re currently a product packer won’t make sense. Making use of the research you conducted, write the achievements you managed to have in your current and most recent jobs. Make them directly connected to the issues affecting the company and show that you’ve overcome such challenges in your past assignments.
- Use multiple job titles – when things seem tricky and you can’t come up with a single title to use in your resume, you can safely use more than one title. Just note that the titles can only be two. Using more than two will raise questions about your lack of specialization.
To effectively cover two positions at the same time, you need to use titles which are clearly connected. It should be easy to conclude that your current work or level of experience has come about by holding the two positions simultaneously.
Here are some good examples of multiple job titles which can go into the same resume.
- Vice President/Principal Architect
- Hotel Receptionist/Reservationist
EXAMPLE JOB TITLES YOU CAN USE IN YOUR RESUME
Armed with knowledge on how to come up with your desired job title, here are some titles you can pick from. Depending on the industry you are in, you can use individual job titles or combine two for a wider coverage of the company’s needs.
Job titles are very many and we could not list all of them. Here are some:
|Social Media Assistant
|Chief Information Officer (CIO)
|Customer Care Associate
|Public Relations Specialist
|Phone Survey Conductor
Defining a job title for your resume is important if you want to stand out as a unique job candidate. Remember that not all job seekers do this so doing it will definitely show you as among the few confident candidates who are specialized and know what they want.
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