What’s in a name? Or a job title?

By July 11, 2016 CV Advice and Tips

What does your job title say about you? Traditional (and often more prestigious) jobs have fairly straightforward titles and we all know what they mean – doctor, nurse, barrister, accountant and so on – so when it comes to writing a CV, it’s fairly obvious to decide what to call yourself.  But in many companies, we’re eschewing traditional job titles in favour of more bespoke ones.  We all know that the people making the sandwiches in Subway are Sandwich Artists, not just Servers.  But when you’re changing company, putting a quirky job title on your CV could hold you back.

The more the recruitment process shifts to online, the more automated that process has become.  Recruiters will be searching job boards for CVs using keywords related to the job at hand – sometimes that might be software related to a job role, like Sage or AutoCAD, or sometimes a job title itself. And if that job title isn’t on your CV, you won’t show up very high on that search!

So how does your business describe your job? Are you a Social Media Manager, or a Social Media Guru? IT Support or, like in the Apple Store, a Genius? Receptionist or Greetings Engineer?

OK, so far, we’ve not come across anyone calling themselves a Greetings Engineer on their CV, but you get the idea! A quick 10 second scan of a CV that has the heading of Receptionist will earn another minute of reading. But seeing “Engineer” on a CV for a reception job? You’ll probably end up in the no pile straight away.

And that’s if a recruiter even gets to read your CV.  Many job applications are increasingly pre-screened by a computer program that will reject documents without the right keywords.  If the software doesn’t see the word “Receptionist” or the phrase “Greeting customers”, then it could automatically reject your application.

Many people worry that by omitting their official job title, they’re somehow lying about the position they held, but it is perfectly acceptable to tweak things.  Your CV needs to sell you: it’s not just a statement of facts, and employers recognise that.  If there is a wild difference in job titles, you might get asked about a mismatch in your references, but saying that you changed your job title on your CV to better reflect the similarities between a former job and one that you want seems like a pretty solid explanation to us!

Recruiters do it too – you’ll often find that the job title you’re applying for, doesn’t exactly match up with the official job title. We do it for exactly the same reason: so that it’s clear from the job title what the position will involve and to make sure the right people see it. We need our jobs to appear when you search for them, or for them to be recommended to you based on other applications; that won’t happen if the words we’re using don’t match with what you’re looking for.

It gets said in every blog post or article about CV writing to tailor your CV to each individual job and application, and making sure your job title accurately reflects the things you do is one way to help you stand out and match up with a job description.  So if you’re not having much luck in applying for jobs, try this simple tweak to your CV and see what results you get!