With the national unemployment rate still hovering just below 8 percent, many job seekers are doing anything they can to get a leg up on their competition and present themselves as a more experienced - and memorable - candidate.
While there are certainly several ways to go about this, a new trend is emerging in the world of resume writing in which traditional job titles are decorated with colorful language that, if nothing else, will help a candidate stand out in the mind of an employer.
According to Central Wisconsin Business, staffing companies have reported that they are seeing an increasing number of candidates who are changing the titles of their former or current positions to better demonstrate their skill sets. The practice has even become so widespread it has been given a name - "up-titling."
"If I meet somebody that has a unique title, that person is going to be more memorable to me," said Nyra Lind, an account coordinator at a Wisconsin HR consultancy. "I think you want to have that creative edge, something unique, but not something over the top."
Not too much fluff
To Lind, there is a fine line between over the top and acceptable. "New media rockstar," for example, probably won't fly with most HR personnel, but something along the lines of "director of first impressions" for a job that entails secretarial or administrative duties is great, she said. Giving yourself a managerial spin is also easily accomplished - all you have to do is include the words global, interface or customer in the title of your current position.
This doesn't give you full creative control of your title, however, and knowing what's acceptable and what isn't is crucial for effectiveness. Outright lying on your resume - or even fudging the truth - can have disastrous consequences.
"I encourage clients to be truthful ... employers are exercising more care and scrutiny," said resume consultant Tim Solinger. "More critical is what you bring as a candidate, your skill set. Title is a small part of the overall picture."
Also, some hiring personnel say if it is done incorrectly, bolstering your title could lead to confusion on the part of the HR representative.
Lorry Walters, a career expert with the University of Wisconsin, said her official job title is senior administrating program specialist, but often tells people it's associate director of career services. This, she says, is acceptable - calling a dishwashing position a "ceramic engineering specialist at a country club," however, is not.
"[Extremely inflated job titles] look unusual on a resume," Walters said. "If somebody calls it environmental services and they're doing maintenance [work], it's up to the employer and the candidate to determine this is what they're officially called."
Lind still asserts that properly changing your job title can help you stand among your competition, especially since job titles typically come with a job description underneath. With so many people still out of work, establishing an identity should be one of the most important jobs of your resume in these times, she said.
"The economy is doing well... for us to really stand out and have the top talent, we try to get a little bit more creative if we can," Lind recommended. "We are trying to go outside the traditional box and come up with more catchy job titles to get that top talent."
According to Fox News, better resume writing and the use of keywords has become more important than ever as the unemployment rate struggles to fall.
"It can be hard to stand out, especially since so many people are applying for the same job," Robin Schlinger, who owns a resume writing company, said, adding that using the right keyword on a resume could help this problem.