Job Titles Should Match Your Industry's Parlance

Sunday, May 3, 2009

After 16 years at Freddie Mac, Barbara Scott wants another job in financial services.

"Employers are looking for actual job titles to jump off the page at them," said Carolyn Thompson, president of CMCS, an executive search firm in McLean, and author of "Ten Easy Steps to a Perfect Résumé." "The most recent job titles showing are quite specific to Freddie Mac and probably won't align with what other employers might be looking for when they do a keyword search." Instead, describe the role generally, "i.e. Senior Budgeting Manager, then indicating what department or group they were in within the job description."

Scott's résumé barely touches on her pre-Freddie jobs, though she has worked in retail and financial services. Mention more about specific companies, Thompson advised. "This person has worked for some time in one company, which can be good since they are obviously loyal and have been consistently promoted, but this can also be perceived as a liability since they may only know the 'Freddie Mac way.' This is not a crucial area, since a new employer is probably going to hire this person for what they've done in the last five years, but it might add something depending on where they actually worked."

Use industry keywords, Thompson said. "If a recruiter was looking for a 'manager of finance,' this person might not appear on a search list since that specific keyword string doesn't appear here. 'Budgeting manager' also does not appear," she said. "Look at the ads you are responding to. What are the keywords they use? Are they on your résumé? If not, you can use your summary/objective statement to fill in those holes."

-- Maryann Haggerty

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