Job titles at my company are a bit inflated.  On top of that, I am moving from being an individual contributor with a high job grade/title into a managerial position.  In order that it not be deemed a demotion, I will be given a title significantly higher than what my managerial responsibilities actually will be.

When I update my resume for my new role, should I use the actual title, or choose a more modest one that I think more accurately reflects my position?

My concern is that if I put my actual (inflated) title on my resume, my responsibilities and accomplishments will seem lackluster.


enlightened_managing's picture

What's your title (or a similar one?)


President & CEO Enlightened Managing
King of the Castle
Master of the Domain
Father of Time



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robertwilliams's picture

My title will presumably be "Director, Software Engineering" when a more accurate one would probably be "Manager, Software Engineering".


Solitaire's picture

I had the problem the other way around. I was managing the Purchasing Department for a small company and was always introduced as "this is Jane, who manages the Purchasing Department", yet my official job title was Senior Buyer. On my CV for that position I put down that I was "Senior Buyer / Purchasing Manager". When I described my role to my current employer, they were satisfied about what level I was at.

Another company I worked for used to have "Director of xxx Department" titles for job roles below Director level. Anyone outside of the company probably wouldn't realise that the job role was of a lower level than a Director.

I suppose the same is true of people who work in a role in a small company compared to the same role in a much larger company. The two people may have the same title, but it will become clear reading the responsibilities and achievements on the CVs, exactly what their responsibilities were and therefore what their overall level was.

Therefore I'd say that you should put your title as it is. Recruiters will know that there is a huge amount in variance of experience of people who've had the same job title, so they will look at the rest of the CV to see if you are suitable for the new role you are applying for.

jonholman's picture

I would use the inflated title on your resume, especially considering your comment that the only difference is likely to be between "director" and "manager".

Most recruiters in your field will know of the inflated job titles at your company and indeed, so will your competitors. If you put your resume together in the MT way, you will be putting a description of your current role under your title anyway and your achievements will be judged against that. The difference is so small, that you are unlikely to be screened out by recruiters looking on job boards or reviewing online applications.

The only time I would change this recommendation is if you had a very bizarre job title that did not fit with what you were doing. I would still list the company given job title as your main one, with the more acceptable version in brackets on your resume. e.g. Director of Special Project Alpha (Software Development Manager)

Dave75's picture
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As long as the "Responsibilities" and "Accomplishments" part of your resume tell the real story,  job title is just the 'packaging' that your company at the time puts on your job role.  If I am interviewing someone, I am more interested in 'what you did' than 'what the company calls you'.