“Massaging” Your Job Titles Can Be Hazardous To Your Career Health

Client résumés flow into my office all the time, and some of the most interesting things come to light once a project gets started. One particularly startling fact keeps rearing its ugly head:

People take exceptional liberties regarding previous job titles they’ve held when listing them on their résumé.

Uh Oh.

Cue the “Dum… da dum dum” music.

Are you feeling remotely uncomfortable yet?

Most human resource and hiring managers see “Job Title Massaging” as actually a deceptive practice. To them, it doesn’t matter that the work you did doesn’t match the job title. And it doesn’t matter that you struggled under a job title that didn’t accurately represent your responsibilities, either.

But what they do take exception to is when candidates ‘assume’ job titles that they actually haven’t held.

From a human resources standpoint, the job title on the résumé should match the one on file in the personnel file.

Anything that you list which is different than what’s on file isn’t considered an official employment record.

However, if you feel that your job title is so far out in left field from the realities of your daily work, there IS hope in trying to correct someone’s impression of your background.

Keeping in mind that you need to always take the higher ground and provide the title of the job that you held, you can provide some insight as to the equivalent that best represents the level at which you were functioning.

Here’s how:

Company Name – City, ST
Actual Title (equivalent to _______)

You ALWAYS want to honest, and more importantly, accurate in your résumé. Anything less could prove to be harmful to your career.



This is such an important point, Dawn! It is so tempting for job seekers to put a spin on what they did at past companies. While some consider the resume a marketing tool (not a legal document), there is still honesty to consider. And the truth is that a good interviewer will ask enough questions to figure out what you actually did. Oh and then there's the background check, the references and Google. 🙂

Pathfinder Writing and Careers


You are absolutely correct! The background check and references, not to mention social media and Google can also shed light on applicant's actual job titles as well!


Comments are closed.