I’ve seen a lot of people looking for employment who struggle with making mundane job titles sound somewhat more exciting. To some extent, selecting a job title that is more descriptive of your actual job duties can be, at times, a good idea. For instance, if you hold a generic job title, such as ‘Clerk’, it doesn’t help a potential employer understand exactly what you did at that position. However, if you take a bit of liberty by expanding that title to ‘Clerk/Records Manager’, it helps an employer understand what was involved with the position without reading the full description of your duties.
Unfortunately, I’ve also seen this liberty taken too far. See if you can guess some of these:
Petroleum Transfer Technician
Office Access Control Specialist
Business Communications Conveyor
Domestic Operations Specialist
Petrol station attendant
Whilst the creativity might make you crack a smile, this type of exaggeration borders on deception. The titles sound fancy, but the duties won’t back them up. Another disadvantage is that they don’t help employers understand what you did. While ‘Messenger’ may not sound very exciting, an employer can understand in that one word exactly what you did for that employer. They implicitly understand you had to keep to tight time schedules, know the local area, maintain confidentiality and work at a fast pace. Whilst the job may not have been glorious, it does showcase some very important skills that other employers may be looking for.
There are, of course, acceptable alternatives in some positions. For example:
Secretary: Executive assistant, Clerical specialist
Rubbish Collector: Sanitation worker
Mechanic: Automotive technician
Salesperson: Inbound/outbound customer service specialist
The key to enhancing job titles is to maintain their recognisability. We want the potential employer to retain the ability to understand what our jobs encompassed with just a glance. One of the purposes for getting creative is to become more specific. For example, a secretary can serve a multitude of functions. If, however, we title the job ‘Executive Assistant’, the person reading our CV will know instantly that you held much more responsibility in your job than the average secretary because the title indicates that you worked for a main player in the company. The same goes with the ‘Salesperson’ role: By specifying inbound or outbound, your next employer will know in what field of customer service your talents, skills and experience lie.