Q. I work in one of those companies where job titles are pretty creative. The marketing department is headed by a “Chief Amazement Officer” rather than a Chief Marketing Officer; and as the second in command, I am the “Idea Builder Extraordinary” instead of the Vice President of Marketing. The Chief Amazement Officer recently went on to another job, and I’ve been temporarily fulfilling that role, too. So how do I translate those titles and indicate what I’m really doing these days?
A. Your first problem, translating your title into something more standard, is actually the simplest. You can write Idea Builder Extraordinary and then put the equivalent standard job title after that in parenthesis like this: Idea Builder Extraordinary (Vice President of Marketing). If your field is notable for creative job titles, then providing both the creative and standard title is important.
There are many reasons why a job title might not align with an employee’s real-life responsibilities. In your case, you have filled in after your boss left. In other cases, an employee is simply handed extra work and responsibility without a title change, or the organization may be so flat that job titles are meaningless. In all those cases, parenthesis can work to explain the additional functions. For example, as a Vice President of Marketing who is actually fulfilling a CMO role, you might write Vice President of Marketing (CMO-level).
But it is also important to explicitly state in your job description that you took on the role of your boss and to clearly describe achievements that reflect that higher level of responsibility.
When you are applying for positions, you will find that even standard titles cover a wide variety of actual responsibilities. Read the job description carefully to weed out positions that may not be on your preferred career path as either Idea Builder Extraordinary or Vice President of Marketing and potential CMO.
If you are still feeling frustrated by the gap between your title and real life, contact me at Robin’s Resumes®.