Monday, October 11, 2010

Previous Job Titles May Be a Road Block

Are your previous jobs titles posing a road block in your current job search? Job titles that don’t convey the actual scope of your experience and responsibilities or don’t translate clearly to another industry may be limiting your job opportunities.
Assuming you’re applying to jobs you’re qualified for, there’s a chance your job title isn’t a match or isn’t similar enough to the job title which the hiring company is seeking. Some hiring companies use resume scanning technology to match keywords or keyword phrases. Others rely on the hiring manager to manually sort through piles of resumes by skimming for keywords. Either way, you may be getting overlooked as a result of job titles that aren’t accurately representing your work experience.
The good news is that hiring managers are looking to fill jobs with the best candidate based on work experience, skills, and education—not job titles. Therefore, you should consider implementing the following tips to clarify misleading job titles and put the focus on your experience and skills:
  • Use a functional resume format: A functional resume format may be a good choice since it organizes experience by skill clusters not chronological order. This resume layout places emphasis on experience and skills.
  • Include a resume summary: A resume summary is placed at the beginning of your resume, after name and contact information, and briefly summarizes your qualifications and key selling points in a short paragraph. It’s a great way for a hiring manager or recruiter to quickly see what you’re capable of and where your strengths lie.
  • Highlight achievements in stories and outcomes: The best way to highlight your achievements on a resume, in a cover letter, or at an interview is to provide concrete examples of positive outcomes supported by specific numbers. For example, you could highlight revenue generated (“…increased sales an additional $100k in a 30-day period”); money or time saved (“…implemented a new process that decreased restocking time by 20 hours per week”); or highlight the number of people/amount of a budget you managed.
  • Address job titles in cover letters and/or interviews: You can briefly address misleading job titles in a cover letter or interview. Mention that your job title doesn’t encompass the actual scope of the job. Associate your actual roles and responsibilities to a role or job title used by the hiring company or by that industry. When you reference this role or job title, state that it’s comparable to the job title you held, so as to clear up any confusion and ambiguity.

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