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Hullo all,

I’m having some trouble with my job search … how do I list my current position title?

Technically it is Department Assistant. The official org chart lists me at the bottom of the group.

But in actual practice, I do all the things that a manager does, including planning and budgets. My boss (company president) often discusses with me in private the direction he wants for the department with the expectation that I lead the group accordingly. Of course I cannot officially give feedback, but the others in my department look up to me as a leader for the group.

When I started two years ago, my boss and I had an understanding that a manager's position would be created in the near future, and when it happened that I would be the one to fill it. It looked like an opportunity to move up from a child company to the parent company. I've mentioned tactfully a few times that the work he expects me to do is made more difficult by my menial position in the company. The president replies that a mere title should not hold me back from stepping up to the work that needs to be done. He extolls my skills and hard work verbally and frequently in private and in public.

But as Mark says ... until you got somthin', you got nuthin.

My resume lists my correct title along with all my practicing responsibilities and the fact that I answer directly to the president. A recruiter told me today that my resume looks great (Thanks Mark and Mike!), except that my title makes it look like I’m actually responsible for the president’s coffee. Of course the reason I’m looking for a new job is because of this discrepancy between my title and pay with my actual work – combined with the increasing realization that the company president is happy to continue getting a higher return than his investment.

The recruiter wants me to change my title, but I don’t want to lie. Yet, this is the first call back I’ve had in months of looking, and I suspect the recruiter nailed it. Despite being completely discouraged with this total lack of reponse to my daily search, I believe the right thing to do is to keep my title as it is, but maybe… could there possibly be another right thing to do that also gets my resume past the recycling bin?

bug_girl's picture

On paper, she is an assistant; in reality, she is an office manager.  An Exceptional office manager!

But we can't afford to re-classify her given the state's strict guidelines and (another) 20% budget cut, so I've worked out other ways to compensate her (more comp time, letting her bring her kids in, etc.)  I also helped support her request for educational assistance so she can complete a masters in Non-profit Administration.  Fortunately for us, this is enough to keep her with us for now, and we have plans for her to move up into a leadership position that will be vacated by a retirement in about 3 years.

It will be immediately clear to anyone looking at her resume that my direct does much more than "assist."  Is your resume clear enough that someone can see the discrepancy?  Can you negotiate some additional benefits that will offset the title issue?

Other than that, I will let those with more experience chime in on what to do, and wish you good luck.

TomW's picture

That's abn easy one: List the title as it is and then detail what you do in that role. It sounds like you've done the right thing already.

It only takes one call to the HR department to ask the minimum allowable information these days: what dates did you work there and what was your title?

Tell your recruiter that you will not compromise your ethics by lying.

TomW's picture

That's abn easy one: List the title as it is and then detail what you do in that role. It sounds like you've done the right thing already.

It only takes one call to the HR department to ask the minimum allowable information these days: what dates did you work there and what was your title?

Tell your recruiter that you will not compromise your ethics by lying.

stephenbooth_uk's picture

 Leave the job title as it is but make sure that the list of responsibilities/activities is an accurate reflection of what you accurately do. 

Changing your job title might seem like a small thing but if the recruiting manager discovers you've changed that then they are likely to assume you've changed other things.

 I've often been in the situation where the actual job title doesn't reflect what my job actually is, as have many of my colleagues.  A few years ago my employer went through a massive pay and grading review as part of an equal pay exercise.  The process was to group jobs into job families, select a random sample of people in each job family , administer a questionairre on the generic requirements of the job (responsibility for money or people, level of knowledge/qualification required, unsociable hours &c) the sample, score each job family based on the results then line people up in order of score then set the salaries according to where they fell and the total staff budget.  I worked in IT at the time, most of the people i worked with had the job title "Server Administrator" which most people in IT know means someone who managfes servers.  A very responsible job and one requiring a decent amount of background knowledge.  When the scores came back for this group they were much lower than expected.  After some digging it transpired that this was because they had been matched by the job analyst in HR with typist admin/reception admin type jobs.  When questioned they did say they had wondered why IT needed so many administrators. 

At the time I was transitioning from being a Database Administrator to being a Business Analyst.  A big issue I've found with that job title is that there are so many different jobs called Business Analyst that it is essentially meaningless.  There is a definition from the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) and a similar but not identical one from Information Systems Examinations Board (ISEB), IIBA is more detailed on Requirements Engineering but ISEB is slightly broader and includes more finance, both of which approximate to my job (I used to be a member of IIBA and am a member of BCS, the parent organisation of ISEB, as well being in the process of working towards a Diploma in Business Analysis from ISEB).  The job title, however, seems to be applied to jobs ranging from a call centre service desk operator through to an M&A analyst role with salaries ranging from under £20k to over £120k.

Stephen

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Skype: stephenbooth_uk (Please note I'm on UK time)

DiSC: 6137

Experience is how you avoid failure, failure is what gives you experience.

TNoxtort's picture

 How about not listing the title? Just list the company name, dates worked, and then your duties underneath.

 

Will HR  really verify titles? I thought they just verify dates.

stephenbooth_uk's picture

 If I saw a CV or Resume that listed a job without giving the job title that would be immediate red flag in my mind.  My assumption would be that they had left it off unintentionally and it showed lack of attention to detail.

 Stephen

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Skype: stephenbooth_uk  | DiSC: 6137

Experience is how you avoid failure, failure is what gives you experience.

If you disagree with what I've said, great.  Why?  Maybe this is a c

jib88's picture

List the job title using the official language. If you get to know a few recruiters and they are familiar with your responsibilities and accomplishments they should be able to help get your resume to hiring managers. The really good recruiters will have good relationships with the hiring managers and will be able to explain that your title does not accurately describe your responsibilities. You won't have as easy a time getting noticed as you would with a more impressive title, but this is just one of those situations where you have to work with the situation that you have and not the one that you wish you had. It's harder and not really fair, but taking the easy way out could be disastrous.

-JIB

melissas's picture

 Thank you all for helping me clear my head, your advice to stick to the straight path is absolutely right. It was just so exciting to finally get a positive response after such a long dry spell. All of my qualifications are there in plain view in my application documents, I shouldn't get stuck believing that two words are holding everyone back from looking seriously at my candidacy.

Makes me think maybe I shouldn't get to close to a recruiter who wants me to, ahem, "polish" my resume.

 

p.s. ...wish my boss was like Bug

bug_girl's picture

Thanks so much for the compliment!
What you don't know is the utter terror I feel at the prospect of trying to find a replacement for my direct -if- she chooses to take that higher level position. A new person will completely change the dynamic of our wonderful team.  And where will we find someone with that same skill set??

It may very well be that your boss is thinking something similar, but just isn't an emote-y type S like me :)

I'm glad you were able to sort this out--sounds like you have the perfect mindset in place now!

 

Mark's picture

A different title won't get you an interview, but a fib will get you more of nothing.

Merry Christmas all,

Mark