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The Answer to “Can I Change My Job Title on My Resume to Make it More Accurate?”

By | Stacey Lastoe |

Not long ago, I met a woman who told me she waited to start looking for a new job until after she got a promotion and title change (from associate editor to editor). At the time that we were speaking, she’d lined up her first interview. While not terribly unhappy in her current role, she was ready to move on. “I probably would’ve done it sooner,” she confided, “but I was embarrassed by my job title.”

I nodded eagerly as she explained that she wasn’t comfortable applying to roles as long as associate was a part of her title, and so stayed put. Now, promotion in hand—or on paper as it were—she was prepared to look forward and embrace a new opportunity, having ditched the label that she believed made her sound too junior for roles she felt qualified for.

I was fascinated. It made perfect sense, of course. How can you move on and up if your current title suggests that you don’t have the qualifications for that next step, even if, say, you have years of experience and could very well have a “higher” level title if not for extenuating circumstances such as your company’s budget or team structure? Is your only option to wait with bated breath for the promotion before you can start exploring other opportunities?

No, definitely not. You always have options, and if you’re in this situation, you’ve likely asked yourself the following questions: Can you fudge your title on your resume? Embellish your role to be viewed as a more desirable candidate? Take pains to explain your position to the hiring manager? I reached out to Master Career Coach Bruce Eckfeldt, who had some terrific words of wisdom on what you can and cannot do.

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