I've been asked this question by clients so many times: Can I adjust my job title?  

The answer is....sometimes.

I do advocate changing your job title, just slightly, in two situations:

1. To Accurately Describe What You Do

First, you change it when it actually makes your title more accurate to you do. Many job titles out there are very ambiguous and don't give an accurate picture of what the job entails. Plus, we've all taken jobs that sounded like one thing, and then turned out to be SO much more when we actually took the job.

Let's say your job title is Program Coordinator. This job title may seem harmless but it's very general and could be misleading. The word "coordinator" typically implies something low level and not managerial. It's very possible though that you may manage others in this role and often act in a project management capacity. If you're applying for project management roles, you may want to consider adjusting your title to something such as Program Coordinator/ Project Manager. Simply adding a second title to it can make a difference. Or simply, changing one word and using Project Coordinator could help align you with Project Manager jobs. Try to mirror your target job titles as much as you can while staying accurate to what you do.

2. Aligning with Industry Titles

The second situation is when your current title is unique or creative and doesn't align with the traditional title for that work. Some companies have unique job titles that represent there brand or culture but don't translate outside of the company. I've seen job titles such as Functional Specialist or Technical Advisor that actually are Systems Engineers, which is a very common title. Neither of these tells me what the job does! In this case, you may need to adjust to match the more common industry name.

Asking Your Boss For a Title Change

If you feel that your title is not accurate, mention this to your boss. Annual performance reviews are a great time to bring this conversation up, or anytime you are having a career discussion with your boss. Make your case as to why this title change more adequately reflects what you do. Many companies do reviews of their employee's job descriptions periodically.

In the end, a resume is a piece of paper, not a legal document. You should strive to be authentic but also remember that resumes should be seen as strategic marketing documents. As long as you feel confident explaining the job title change and you feel confident that it's more accurate, go for it. Keywords are critical these days with online job applications and social media profiles.

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