The Right Way to List Job Titles on Your Resume in 2021

The Right Way to List Job Titles on Your Resume in 2021

Listing your jobs correctly on your resume is a must. In this guide, you will learn how to appropriately list your job title and catch the eye of the recruiter.

Written by Ed Moss • Last updated on May 11, 2021

Your job titles on your resume are important. They help relay to employers your roles and responsibilities. Listing your job titles can also help to show professional progression!

We will cover how to properly list your job titles on a resume and the importance of doing so.

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What is the Job Title Section of Your Resume and Why is it Important?

When it comes to job titles on a resume, there are two main areas of your resume to place title in:

  • A dedicated job title section
  • Your work experience section

Understanding how these two types of sections differ is key.

In this section, we will break down the differences to help you gain a better understanding of what “job titles” can mean and where to put them.

Making a Job Title Section for the Job You are Seeking

A job title section on a resume is a short section used to identify the specific role you are currently seeking.

This is a key element to add to a resume, especially if you face high competition for the role.

For example, let’s say you are a culinary professional looking for a head chef position at a high-end restaurant. Your job title section may look something like this:

John Doe
Head Chef with over 10 years experience in fine dining.  

In this example, the applicant lists the role they wish to maintain.

They also provide a very brief statement describing their experience level.

Typically, you will find this section listed directly below the name or contact information of the applicant.

This should be a concise statement that conveys who you are and the position you seek.

It is important to note that this section is not the same as a professional objective or summary statement.

Professional objectives are often a bit longer and more in-depth, while a job title section should be as succinct as possible.

Listing Job Titles in a Work Experience Section

The second type of job title that you can incorporate into a resume is the job title of a previous position.

Generally, these job titles will be in the work experience section.

There are some key elements to keep in mind when listing your previous job titles on a resume:

  • Does the job title clearly relay your role and responsibilities?
  • Do you have multiple titles at the same company that show promotion and professional progression?
  • Are you using the exact title given at the job or have you changed it?

The key to listing your job titles is to always be honest.

Job titles within a work experience section are one of the first things an employer will see, so using the correct titles is crucial.

Need more help writing your work experience section? Check out our guide on How to Describe Work Experience on a Resume in 2021!
Child Psychologist

Is There a Right Way to List My Job Titles?

There are several different ways to list job titles on a resume.

Despite this, there are a few key factors that separate correct job titles from incorrect ones.

Here are a few examples to help you determine the “right” way to list your job titles on a resume:

Example 1: Making your job title section relevant and concise

Incorrect:

John Doe
Seeking a job in management, communications, or marketing.

Why It’s Wrong: In this example, there are several issues. The applicant lists fields they would like to work in, rather than giving themselves an exact job title they are seeking. Additionally, listing multiple types of jobs will hinder your job title from being as relevant as possible to the job you are applying to.

Correct:

John Doe
Marketing Manager with 7+ years experience in the financial industry

Example 2: Placing your job titles in the correct order

Incorrect:

Office Assistant, Black and Decker
June 2019 – June 2020
Description

Office Manager,
Tennessee Valley Authority
July 2020 – Present
Description

Why It’s Wrong: You always want to put your highest positions first. By listing your more prominent job title lower in your work experience section, you risk the hiring manager missing it entirely.

Correct:

Office Manager, Tennessee Valley Authority
July 2020 – Present
Description

Office Assistant, Black and Decker
June 2019 – June 2020
Description

Example 3: Avoiding dishonest or misleading job titles

For this example, imagine you are a restaurant worker with some management responsibilities.

Your title given by your boss may be “shift lead” or “keyholder.”

Incorrect:

General Manager, Mellow Mushroom
August 2019 – June 2020
Description

Why It’s Wrong: While you may have management responsibilities, the title “General Manager” implies you are a salaried, full-time manager. If this is not the case, using General Manager as your job title is both dishonest and misleading.

Correct:

Shift Lead, Mellow Mushroom  
August 2019 – June 2020
Description
Child Psychologist

Can I Change My Job Title to More Accurately Describe My Role?

Sometimes, a job applicant may feel like a previous job title does not accurately describe their role or responsibilities.

This may compel them to want to change the title to better explain their experience and qualifications.

However, as we have covered, changing a job title too much can make it dishonest or misleading.

Plus, a hiring manager may contact your previous employer and find out you changed your title.

This can result in hiring managers throwing your application entirely!

In some cases, the company you work for may assign you a job title that is unique to the company.

For example, a restaurant may call its shift leaders “community leaders.”

While this may work within the company itself, it may not translate well on a resume.

If this is a situation you are dealing with, the best course of action would be to discuss with your previous employer beforehand if possible.

This way, if the hiring manager contacts your previous employer they will know why you are being referred to with a different title.

The key to getting around vague job titles is to be concise and specific in your job descriptions.

This is where you can showcase your responsibilities and provide more accurate information.

Are you struggling to find compelling ways to describe your work experience? Take a look at our list of 350+ Action Verbs to Make Your Resume More Effective in 2021!

Is it Ever Okay to Change My Job Title?

Generally speaking, you should avoid changing your job titles.

This will help you to keep consistency between your resume and LinkedIn profile, and with your references.

The biggest reason to consider changing your job title is if you believe it will be a hindrance for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

ATS software looks for specific keywords, such as “manager” or “assistant.”

If the job title contains words such as “lead,” “head,” or other vague terms, this could be problematic.

The key to changing your job title is to use replacement words that are synonymous with the original terms.

You never want to use a job title that portrays you as higher up than you actually are.

How Should I List My Job Titles to Get Noticed by the Hiring Manager?

Your job titles have a major role to play in your resume.

They not only convey your work experience, but they also help to give you an edge on the competition if listed properly.

Of course, there are better job titles than others in the eyes of hiring managers.

The key is to relay how your job titles make you the most qualified candidate for the job.

Let’s cover the 3 key factors keep in mind when listing jobs titles on a resume:

  • Relevance: The job titles that appear first on your resume should be the most relevant ones to the job you are applying to. Though you also need to keep in mind the timeliness of a past position, listing your most relevant job titles first will showcase your qualifications for the job.
  • Responsibilities: Once you have listed your job title, you need to list your most prominent responsibilities in the description. These descriptions should be bulleted and as concise as possible. They should help to tie into your job title and provide greater clarity about your role.
  • Recognition: Higher-level job titles such as “manager” hold more weight with employers. Choosing recognizably important job titles is crucial. It helps to show hiring managers you are capable of professional progression as well.

Tips for Landing the Job You’re Applying For

Aside from prioritizing your best job titles, there are a few key elements of your job title and work experience sections to consider.

These include:

  • Formatting: As you write your resume, you want to ensure your headings and titles have the same format. Consistency gives your resume a better visual flow and makes it easier for hiring managers to skim through it quickly.
  • Keywords: When applying to a job, always comb through the job description for keywords. Including these keywords in your work experience section will help to show hiring managers that you pay attention!
  • Clarity: Job titles are short – typically between one to two words. As such, providing as much clarity as possible in your descriptions is paramount. Always include your primary responsibilities and achievements within the role!
There are many different elements of your resume to consider when trying to get noticed by employers. Read our guide on How to Write the Perfect Resume in 2021 for more tips!

Child Psychologist

How Do I List Multiple Jobs from the Same Company?

If you have worked at a company for several years, chances are you have had a promotion or two.

This means that you will have multiple job titles coming from the same business!

When listing multiple jobs at the same company on a resume, there are two main formatting options:

  • Stacked Entries: A stacked entry is a singular entry that stacks your job titles. Typically, you will put the most important and recent job title first and primarily describe that title. This is to show promotions while avoiding writing entries that are too similar.
  • Separate Entries: If you worked many positions with different responsibilities, use separate entries. Separate entries allow you to fully describe each job title individually.

Stacked Entries Example

Here is an example of a well-formatted stacked entry:

KPMG
Senior Consultant, January 2020 – Present
Junior Consultant, December 2018 – December 2020

Description

This example lists the company first with the stacked job titles beneath. 

The most recent and highest-level job title is directly below the company name.

When using a stacked entry, be sure to be consistent in how you format your other entries.

If you start one entry with the company name, aim to start all the entries similarly.

Separate Entries Example

Here is an example of when to use separate entries.

In this example, imagine the candidate is applying for a role as a Lead Marketer:

Marketing Manager, The Coca-Cola Company
February 2019 – Present
Description

Communications Coordinator
, The Coca Cola Company
October 2018 – January 2019
Description

While these titles may share some similarities, they ultimately have different responsibilities.

However, both roles fall within the same general industry, making them both relevant to the job application.

This makes it useful to include both as separate entries!

Should I Put the Job Title I’m Applying for on My Resume?

Yes! You should always consider adding a dedicated job title section that lists the job title you are seeking.

This is especially true if the job title relays a specialization, such as a DevOps Engineer. 

Additionally, if you are adding a general resume to a LinkedIn profile, having a job title section helps potential employers find you!

Omitting a job title section may be preferable for jobs that are lower- or entry-level.

Do I Have to List All of My Job Titles?

Whether or not to list all of your job titles depends on both the relevance and available space on your resume.

Listing too many job titles can result in a cramped visual appearance, making your resume harder to read.

This is not ideal, as hiring managers will typically want to be able to skim through the resume quickly for the most important details.

When choosing job titles to include, ask yourself:

  • Is each of these titles relevant to the job I am applying to?
  • Does including these titles show promotion or professional growth?

Final Takeaways

The job titles you include on your resume can have a major impact on a hiring manager’s impression of you.

Here are 5 key takeaways to remember about job titles:

  1. Job title sections should clearly list the job you are seeking. Place this section close to your name and be as concise as possible.
  2. Job titles should appear in both a dedicated section and within a work experience section.
  3. Avoid changing your job titles when possible. If you do need to change a vague or unique title, try contacting that employer beforehand to alert them of the change.
  4. When listing multiple jobs at the same company, use stacked entries for jobs with similar responsibilities. Use separate entries when the responsibilities differ significantly.
  5. Keep your formatting consistent! If you start one entry with the company name, start all other entries with the company name as well.

At Easy Resume, we strive to help you create the resume that will land you your dream job.

Don’t forget to check out our extensive collection of free resume examples and guides while you’re here!

Ed Moss is an author for Easy Resume

Ed is a co-founder of Easy Resume. His background in scaling teams at tech startups over the last decade has given him extensive experience and knowledge around how to hire top talent and build successful teams. He enjoys mentoring, coaching, and helping others reach their career goals. When he's not writing about career-related advice, he's playing with his dog, Lilo, or going on long hikes in upstate New York.

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