Fancy job titles and how they can work against you | Metro Resumes

Fancy job titles and how they can work against you


Fancy job titles - we've all seen them. 


Office All-Rounder (translation: administrative assistant)


Director of First Impressions (translation: receptionist)


Domestic Engineer (translation: stay-at-home parent)


VP (translation: could be anything from divisional head to actual VP)


At the point in time when these creative job titles started to surface, they were novel, and we assume had some positive effect.


Now that they’ve been around for a while, these tired phrases can seem a little trite, and worse, can be misleading to readers.


Where did all these goofy job titles come from? 


In fairness, a lot of candidates stating these job titles are not self styled.


Employers have been known to offer these fancy titles to staff for a variety of reasons, such as to jazz up a low-paying role, or give the illusion of a promotion without a salary increase.


Another common occurrence is for employers to offer their staff senior sounding titles – because titles cost the company nothing.


For instance, we know of many commercial banks and large multinationals that give entire tiers of division/department heads a VP title.


What’s the harm?


There are numerous disadvantages to inaccurate job titles.


1.    Overstated senior job titles – these can cause a blip in your employment chronology. Take, for example, the candidate coming from a VP designation. Chances are this candidate’s next role is going to sound like a step down. In fields such as design, there are industry terms for junior (1-2 years), mid-tier (3-5 years) and senior (5+ years). Deviation from these makes you look like you’re either an amateur, or overstating your experience. 


2.    Fancy job titles are confusing – in all cases, you shouldn’t add to the work of a resume reader. Coming across as cutesy or cryptic is rarely a good impression, and creating that extra bit of guesswork/translation work for your readers is highly unlikely to be appreciated.


3.    LinkedIn rankings – if you’ve listed yourself as an ’Office All-Rounder‘ on LinkedIn, you are essentially hiding yourself from being found in searches for an ‘Administrative Assistant’.



But my employer gave me this title – I can’t do anything about it, can I?


If you think your job title is going to work to your disadvantage, qualify your job title on your resume and LinkedIn profile with the commonly understood title for what you do. For example:


Office All-Rounder (Administrative Assistant)


This is unambiguous and you haven’t changed your formal job title.


The simple principle to follow is to sound professional, be accurate and minimise work for readers of your resume and LinkedIn profile.


Need advice on a goofy job title? Give us a shout here.


By Edward Grant