fast answer Friday — 7 short answers to 7 short questions

It’s fast answer Friday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…

1. Changing your title on your resume

Is it ever ok to change your job title on a resume? My friend is up for a new position, but her title will be program assistant, since she’s had stints at other positions with the “assistant” title, she plans on listing this job on her resume and LinkedIn as “program associate.” She’s not trying to be disingenuous, but she doesn’t want her resume to look like she hasn’t advanced a bit. Plus, the ‘assistant” title at her new gig requires a Masters degree, something that potential employers in the long-run may not know and judge her negatively for.

I think I’m with changing titles when it comes to more accurately portraying your duties in a position, like my friend is doing here.
If she were saying she was a senior manager, then that would be especially wrong. What do you think future employers will think?

Nope, you can’t lie about your title — and that’s how employers will see it. And when they call to check references, it’s very likely to come out, and could potentially be a deal-breaker, since a lot of hiring managers will see it as integrity issue: If she’s lying about this aspect of her candidacy, what else might she be misrepresenting, and what might she bend the truth on in the future?

Plus, if she’s using it on LinkedIn, it’s likely that current coworkers or her boss will see it, and it will not reflect well on her.

(To be clear, if she had a really vague title that made no sense to the outside world, she could get away with using a clearer description, as long as it was accurate. But in this case, she just wants a more senior-sounding title. It’s a no-go.)

2. Can my employer share my resignation letter with coworkers?

I recently sent my resignation letter through our office email to the physicians and administrator who I was working for. When I returned 2 weeks later, I found out that the administrator had forwarded my letter to my coworkers. I feel this was a breach of confidentiality. Is that legal for him to do that? Our policy and procedure manual says nothing about sharing this type of information.

Yes, it’s legal. You don’t have many privacy rights at work, and your employer can certainly show your work-related emails (or even non-work-related emails, for that matter) with your coworkers. In this case, I imagine he did it in order to inform your coworkers that you’d be leaving — a very normal thing to communicate. I could see how you’d be upset if the letter contained personal information you didn’t want shared (outside the fact of your resignation itself), and certainly there are SOME resignation letters that it would be inappropriate to share with the whole office (angry ones, for instance), but even then, there’s nothing illegal about it.

3. Is being asked for references a good sign?

I just had a pretty good second interview (all thanks to your awesome e-book!), and at the end they asked for my references and had me fill out a background check form. I know I have stellar references and nothing should hold me back in the background check, so I find this pretty hopeful, but I don’t want to get too excited. Is it normal practice to asking this from all/several candidates? Do hiring managers typically plan on calling references for more than one candidate?

Unfortunately, you shouldn’t read anything into it. Many employers have all candidates who are still in the running after a certain stage in the process provide references and fill out a background check form. They might end up only checking the references and background on one final candidate, or sometimes they’ll do it for several, but there’s no way to know if you’re the top finalist or not.

4. Applying through LinkedIn vs directly with an employer

What is your opinion on applying through LinkedIn, or directly on an employer’s website, or both? I like applying through LinkedIn when it is an option because your profile is there if they want to view it, there is an image, etc., but I know some employers might prefer you send you resume directly to the HR, even though they have it listed on LinkedIn. What are you thoughts on this? Go ahead and send to both, or overkill?

Don’t do both, since that’s duplicative and potentially annoying. I’d apply directly with the company, so that you can send precisely the customized materials you want rather than just what’s in your LinkedIn profile, unless they’ve made it clear in some way that they favor LinkedIn.

5. Fired in retaliation for reporting manager’s policy violation

I was recently terminated for not completing my Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). As far as I can tell, I completed each task in the PIP, but I didn’t document the completion of the tasks. I didn’t know I was supposed to; the person who put me on the PIP never explained that part.

The fact that I was on a PIP in the first place is a problem. I had seven years of annual and mid-term reviews in which I either met or exceeded standards. Then I was placed under a new supervisor. This supervisor and I did not get along, and this was widely acknowledged within the organization, even by those within HR. The friction became worse when I was publicly insulted by this supervisor (he never apologized nor even admitted to it) and I became aware that he was accepting gifts from clients (in violation of company policy). I shared my concerns with HR, but asked that they not fully investigate the issues as I wanted to give the supervisor the opportunity to redeem himself. The supervisor somehow became aware of my concerns and the next thing you know I’m on a PIP.

How should I proceed? This is clearly an abuse of authority. Is there any legal recourse (the insult and the gifts are documented)? I would prefer not to go that route, but I do have to look out for my interests.

I don’t see any legal issues here. It’s illegal to retaliate against an employee for engaging in legally protected activity (such as reporting harassment or discrimination), but retaliation for other things isn’t illegal. More specifically, it’s not illegal to retaliate against an employee for reporting something that isn’t illegal but only against company policy. (I’m assuming your company’s gifts policy falls in that category; if your manager was actually breaking the law, then this answer would be different.)

It sounds like your manager was a jerk and your HR department chose not to stop him, which is unfair but not illegal.

6. How long should I pursue an employer who reached out but now isn’t getting back to me?

I am currently employed in my first job out of college, but searching for a position in my desired field. I got an email on Wednesday, January 16 regarding a position I had applied for. The email informed me that I had been selected to interview for the position, and requested my availability for that week and the following week (which is actually now this week.) Still with me? Great!

I replied that to the email that evening after work stating that an afternoon time slot would work best if possible due to my work schedule. I also told her that I could arrange to come in Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday of the following week (aka this week).

Fast forward to today, and I still have yet to hear anything back from the recruiter. I should also note that I called the office last Friday afternoon and left a message for the recruiter as well, but still, nothing. I guess my question is, how long do I continue to pursue this opportunity, and how do I go about doing so? What else would you do if you were in my situation? This position happens to be the one I was most excited about applying for, so I am a bit hesitant to let it go too quickly.

I would send one more follow-up email and call one more time today, but after that, it’s in their court. They might have ended up moving forward with different candidates, or they might be disorganized and taking longer than planned to get back to you. Your best bet is to mentally move on after making that last contact today, and let it be a pleasant surprise if they do contact you.

7. Mentioning in an interview that I’ll need time off for my wedding

I recently moved to a new area to begin grad school and have been searching for a job. I am engaged and the wedding date is within the next six months. Is it appropriate to tell the interviewer I need time off for that? We had to book the trip a year in advance so I wasn’t sure where I would be at the time. I realize this is putting the cart before the horse in an interview but it’s my wedding…

Don’t mention it in the interview, not unless you’re directly asked if you’ll need any specific time off in the coming months (unlikely). Wait until you have a job offer, and at that point you can negotiate the time off as part of your overall negotiations. It probably won’t be an issue at that point, but it’s a little weird when candidates bring this kind of thing up before there’s even been an offer. Bring it up when it’s relevant to them, which is when they’re planning to hire you. (But definitely bring it up then — don’t wait until you start, like some people do, not that it sounds like you would.)

{ 67 comments… read them below }

  1. Sandrine*

    1) Yeah, don’t do that. If there is an actual title in the position, that’s what you use. If you want to look like you’re evolving, that’s what promotions are for.

    Yes, it might be hard if you want to move forward while job searching, but then using Alison’s advice on applying to “jobs you may not be 100% qualified for” would come in handy.

    7) There’s a difference between needing two days or a full week or more however. Keep in mind that, if you need more than two or three days, you might miss out on opportunities, especially if your search takes time and as you get close to the wedding date.

    1. Anonymous*

      I switched jobs in the middle of wedding planning and I never experienced an issue. I just took the day off before my wedding, and then took a week following my wedding for my honeymoon. I just think you need to be upfront and honest, and as long as you aren’t saying you need a number of random days off for dress shopping, florist planning, etc., or are having a 3 week honeymoon, then you are fine. I had a number of offers, and not one expressed an issue when I discussed this with them during negotiations. (Many of them also knew I was getting married prior to the negotiations stage, as my reason for leaving my prior job was to relocate with my fiance).

      1. Katie*

        Last year I hired two people who needed a week off for out-of-town weddings. It was more time off than was allowed in their probationary period, but they already had plane tickets and they let me know when the company made the offer, so it wasn’t a big deal. I feel like most reasonable employers will work with people on this. Everyone understands that you can’t predict how a job search will go or what a future company’s policies might be, so unless you say, “I’ll need to take 2 months off to backpack across Europe,” it probably won’t be an issue. If you can spend 2 months traveling, though, you probably don’t need the job that badly.

  2. Chocolate Teapot*

    Question 2 – I always thought that a resignation letter should simply comprise the date when you would be leaving and perhaps a thank-you for the opportunties. Since this will be public information (“Jane will be leaving on the 25th”) there should be no problem with it being shared.

    Any anger should be saved for the exit interview/exit form.

    1. Jamie*

      That’s what I think, also. End date and a brief thank you for the opportunity (if warranted) and that’s it. Formality for the files.

      That said, I’ve written some scathingly brilliant (said in my best Haley Mills voice) resignation letters in my day. Not for one second written with the intention of showing them to another soul…but handwritten on notebook paper stream of consciousness ramblings peppered with a lot of “how dare you” and “and let me tell you something else…” is a really great and safe way to purge a lot of angst.

      And the beautiful thing about writing it by hand is that it can never ever be accidentally sent to anyone. I haven’t done this often – but when needed I find it interested that the first couple of pages of my written purge I’m pressing down so hard I’m indenting multiple pages below and my hand writing is very legible…the less angry I get toward the end my handwriting is back to the barely legible if you squint scratching which is my normal style and the pen is no longer digging into my fingers.

      It really is cathartic. Although when it comes to resigning it would just be end date and thanks…no point in wasting perfectly brilliant diatribes other people.

  3. Jamie*

    I shared my concerns with HR, but asked that they not fully investigate the issues as I wanted to give the supervisor the opportunity to redeem himself.

    I know it’s too late for the OP with this job, but wanted to put it out there…you can’t do this.

    A lot of people think HR is like a counselor and there is some kind of confidentiality at play, but they have an obligation to investigate issues brought to their attention. Especially issues of ethics as discussed here – because once you tell them you make it their problem and you bring them into the circle of people who know about X and they are the first to lose their jobs if they knew and did nothing.

    Everyone should remember that HR’s primary duty is to protect the company and compliance with policy is a big part of that.

    I’ve seen this at more than one company and it’s strange to me – people treat HR as if they are some kind of confessor and it’s really an administrative/managerial position more akin to a law enforcement officer than a therapist.

    1. Anonymous*

      I noticed this particular sentence as well, though for a somewhat different reason. (Though I completely agree with Jamie’s comments re HR.) I thought it was odd that the OP wanted to give his supervisor a chance “to redeem himself”. Seriously, is that your place to decide? If there was a serious ethical breach, it should go up the chain, not down the chain, for evaluation. Since he (the OP’s manager) “somehow” became aware of it, most likely either HR or his manager talked to him, which was pretty much what should have happened as far as the company was concerned. Now, it sounds like his response to the OP was nasty, so that is seriously unfortunate. Okay, really obnoxious, and I’m sorry that happened. Good luck moving forward!

      1. Noelle*

        I noticed that too and it struck me as odd. It’s bizarre to report something you don’t want HR to examine (and since it sounds like the poster never expressed the concerns directly to the boss, how could he redeem himself of something he didn’t know was a concern?). You may as well just say, “Hey, I noticed my supervisor is terrible, but please don’t look into it and just accept my word for it.”

  4. Karen*

    #7 I agree. Mention it when you get an offer. Last year I had a 10 day vacation planned for May, but was job searching earlier in the year. I wasn’t sure how long the search would take, which is why hubs & I planned the vacation anyway. I got an offer in march to start in April & mentioned my vacation. It was not a problem for my new employer. But at that point they already really liked me and wanted me on the team.

    1. the gold digger*

      Exactly. We had a two-week vacation in July we had planned in January. When I got the offer, I said I needed the time and I would take it without pay. They let me have it, without pay.

      Years ago, I had the same situation. They said just go ahead and we won’t even worry about the pay because it’s too much trouble to deal with payroll. Sigh. I miss working at that place.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      Yep. I had been asked in interviews and had mentioned a planned trip in August 2012, but no one seemed to have a problem with it. I didn’t get the job, but I don’t think that was why.

  5. Noelle*

    1) Titles are something that you can often negotiate at the offer stage, just like salary or other benefits. Has your friend tried talking to her employers about renaming the position to reflect the amount of experience and knowledge it requires?

    Also, this is a question for Alison and other readers. If you are hired at one position title but get a promotion, on your resume do you list both titles or is it acceptable to just list the more senior? (In this case, the actual requirements of the job didn’t change, and I was given a title promotion to acknowledge I was doing more senior work than they’d originally planned on when I was hired).

    1. Jamie*

      Here’s what I have on mine

      Company name – Month 200X – Present
      – IT Manager – Month 20XX – Month 20XX
      – Director of IT – Month 20XX – Month 20XX
      —–Lead – Cost Accounting
      —–ISO Management Rep.
      —–Lead Auditor
      – CIO – Month 20XX – Present

      In my case it’s the same job – just an increase of responsibilities between 1 & 2 and between 2 & 3 it’s not even that – just a change in the title to be more encompassing of my role in cost accounting and QC to show it’s more than IT.

      So in a way it feels disingenuous since it wasn’t even a promotion or any change between Director and CIO – just a “hey this is more accurate so we’re calling you this now – can you change the org chart when you get a chance?” kind of thing. But that’s the way it is on my resume since that’s how it would be confirmed in a future employment verification.

      The little subtitles under the Director position were swallowed up by the final title – so to speak.

      I always want my resume to tell the same story my personnel records will tell when checked.

      And absolutely titles can be negotiated at sign on and later – your title should reflect your position in the company even if you’re a less formal organization. Mine for example – I doubt anyone who works with me outside of my bosses and HR knows my title…and I only know everyone else’s because I am one of the few people with Visio so I did the org chart. A lot of people blow it off because they don’t matter at their place – but they matter to the outside vendors (it’s a LOT easier to get people to move quickly now than it was before) and it matters when you go elsewhere.

      That said – you don’t want an inflated title either. I worry about that sometimes – because mine is accurate for the SMB world I work in, but I’m a one person IT shop so while I have higher level responsibilities I’m also the one who reroutes your printer and assigns VPN access…so you can’t compare it to being the CIO of a huge multinational billion dollar company. There I’m a senior systems analyst – at best.

      I do worry about how things translate to other industries/larger businesses.

      1. PEBCAK*

        When I saw this example, my only thought was that I’m surprised you list it in chrono order instead of reverse!

      2. Noelle*

        That makes sense. And I guess in a way it is advantageous to show all your titles because it shows you’ve been promoted within an organization and have received increased responsibilities. Thanks!

    2. Anon*

      You know I have very odd circumstances kind of akin to this. I work at a company and have held 4 different titles there – none of them related and as much as I feel silly listing 4 different positions on my resume, I really don’t know how to list them. Part of the problem is, I had a different job in between two of the titles. My titles at the company look something like this:

      Program Associate (this used to be assistant but I’m not adding a 5th title)

      Office Admin

      Technical Writer

      Software Dev Intern

      Maybe I should post this in the open thread for advice but it seems related..

      1. danr*

        List them all… unless the company changed your job title every two weeks. I had job title changes that came as my position evolved. I list all of them on my resume, since they show evolving responsibilities too.

      2. Katie*

        I have a similar issue, 3 titles in 5 years. I list them out in reverse chronological order under my company name and any significant achievements underneath with the emphasis on my current title and work.

  6. Kristinyc*

    #7 – I mentioned my October wedding in my August interview, and still got an offer (and 2 weeks off for the wedding that didn’t count toward my vacation days). It came up in conversation during the cultural interview when they ask how I spend my spare time (answer- wedding planning now). Luckily the CEO who was interviewing me was recently married, so it turned into a nice chat about weddings.

  7. Piper*

    #1 – I’ve had some really ridiculous titles that no one outside of my company would really even understand and/or that didn’t accurately describe my job. How I’ve handled that is to put my real job title on my resume and LinkedIn, then added the actual title that the rest of the world would know it as in parenthesis. Ex: Lead Pixel Artist (Sr. Web Designer). This has worked for me so far.

    1. Elle D.*

      Good advice – I’m going to keep this in mind since I’ll have this issue next time I apply for a job. My current title is something I’ve never heard used for anyone in a similar position, and is most generally associated with an entirely different industry.

    2. Anna*

      I was just about to suggest something like this: the title you actually have followed by the, um, adapted version in square brackets. My logic for square brackets over parentheses is that the square ones are generally used in prose — including newspapers — to indicate that the contained text is not part of the surrounding quote. In other words, it’s like saying:

      This is the title the company uses [but this is what it translates to for the rest of the world]

  8. Esra*

    Re: LinkedIn, I recently applied to and got an interview (yay) that sucked (boo) through LinkedIn. It didn’t occur to me until afterward, but you are basically giving them your photo with your LinkedIn profile. So if that makes you uncomfortable at all, consider going another route for your application.

      1. Esra*

        But when you apply through LI, they have access to your full profile. If they just look you up on LI, they are subject to your privacy settings.

  9. Lisa*

    AAM – What about titles that were changed by your company that are just synonyms? I have worked at the same company for 5 years so I have a progression, with a new synonym for my current title

    I was a Jr. Chocolate Teapot Maker
    Became a Sr. Chocolate Teapot Designer (current)

    Because the term ‘chocolate teapot’ conveys spam in our industry, we are being told to call ourselves:

    Sr. Candied Serveware Designer

    What do I do with my past jr. title? Go Jr. Candied Serveware Maker?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      You could leave it as it was, or change it to the new term. The main thing is that if a reference checker calls your employer, it needs to not result in “what? That wasn’t her title.”

      1. Ariancita*

        OK, so then I imagine reference checkers will check my manager, not general HR (except in cases of background checks)? My concern is I work for a university. I have specific job titles that are known title (not specific to industry or even this job), which were given to me by my boss (the PI), which are very accurate. However, the university HR was trying out using a library of approved titles at the time of my hire (they’ve since abandoned that since the titles are not accurate). My job titles didn’t exist in their library, so they just chose one that matched the level of responsibility, education, and salary. But that title is radically opposed to what I do. It would really be misleading to use the title (an analogy would be a title of “financial analyst” for say, a “physical therapist”). In this case, shouldn’t I use the title given to me by my boss, that’s part of my work email signature, and is known by my team, rather than the arbitrary title given to me by my university HR that has absolutely nothing to do with what I do and would be very misleading? Would I then just explain it if I got to the point of a background check where they might contact the University HR?

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Generally reference-checkers will contact a manager (to speak about your work) but background verifiers will contact HR (to just verify information). Use the title given to you by your boss, and explain the situation once you get to the stage of a possible check. Also, you should push your boss to push HR to fix this.

          1. Ariancita*

            Thanks, this is helpful. My boss has butted heads with HR to fix it, but they haven’t done so, for some reason. It’s all very strange. But I think will be an opportunity for it to be addressed again in July when HR will reach out to me for yearly review.

        2. Piper*

          Oh, this is similar to what I just posted in the open thread. I have the same problem (as of this morning, just after I posted here in this thread the first time). As of 11 am today, I have a totally new role, totally new job, am up a level in the org chart, but I still have my old, totally unrelated, totally misleading, totally not-what-I-do-at-all title (and the same pay, too). So, I got promoted, but have nothing to show for it. Good times.

          I’ve been told it (hopefully, maybe, possibly) will change soon(ish), but who know when. Until then, what?

          1. Katie*

            Be proactive. Find the title you would prefer, talk to your manager, and give solid reasons for being able to make the title change at least on your e-mail signature and in communications with your team/clients.

  10. L*

    I am someone who had two great interviews, super positive response from HR, tours of the building and where I would be sitting, discussion of retirement plans, and all references checked (positive). I did not get the offer. I was a strong runner-up. So, yep, in agreement that reference checking doesn’t mean anything until that offer!

  11. De Minimis*

    For me it depends on the type of background check—if it’s something where it’s obvious they are spending money to do a background check it may be a more encouraging sign, although I’ve only seen that in the world of government and certain non-profits.
    Many times they don’t even do a full background check until after an offer or sometimes even after employment begins.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Definitely. Just being asked to fill out the form doesn’t mean anything — they often do that for a bunch of candidates but don’t actually start the check on more than one (or two). But once a full background check is underway, that’s often a very good sign.

  12. Joey*

    #5. So I’m wondering why you went to HR if you didn’t want them to fully investigate it?

    Also, for future reference, when you get a new manager they absolutely have the right to change/increase the expectations. It sounds like you’re thinking “my performance wasn’t a problem before so why…”

    I’m speculating here but I get the sense that “didn’t get along” might be code for “I didn’t agree with my new supervisors expectations.” I’m saying that because the whole point of the PIP is to outline the expectations you aren’t meeting. If the PIP was bogus it should have been easy for you to show that you met or exceed the expectations. Besides if you felt the PIP was bogus and your supervisor was out to get you I would think you would take precautions like keeping documentation that you met expectations?

    Again purely speculation, but I wonder if you really did meet expectations in the PIP.

  13. Liz in the City*

    #7 I agree — mention it when you get the offer. But don’t get bent out of shape if you have to take some / all of the days you had planned to take around your wedding without pay, since you may not have accrued enough / any vacation time by that point.

    1. Ellie H.*

      This is tangential to the question, but I’ve been really curious for a while. I have never had a benefits job (although I have a “real job” now everyone else is benefits eligible but I’m not – I can still take time or days off in the same way everyone else can, I just don’t get paid for hours I’m not physically at work) and don’t really understand getting paid when you’re not at work is such a big deal to some people. There are a lot of questions on here about “vacation time” where I get the impression that people are not upset that they literally can’t be at work, they just are upset that they won’t be paid for not being at work. How can it matter that much? Of course I know that some people have a very tight budget, but it seems to me that the kind of job where you have this byzantine system of vacation/personal time that provokes such questions generally carries a large enough salary to suggest that that wouldn’t be the major factor. I can understand sick time more easily (in fact, when I was out with pneumonia last fall they paid me sick time) but not really vacation or personal days that you preschedule. It doesn’t make sense to me why getting paid for days you have pre-planned not to be at work exists as a concept.

      1. K*

        Well, first of all, at jobs where vacation time is a “thing” there usually isn’t the concept of unpaid leave except in unusual circumstances (e.g., longer-term health issues). So you’re usually talking about taking paid vacation time or being at work, full stop. And when people talk about not being able to take their vacation time, they’re usually talking about having to be at work – not being told “go ahead and take it but it’ll be unpaid.”

        Second, I think most people in jobs that offers vacation recognizes that, on some level, they’re lucky and in a privileged situation. And no, we’re not normally talking about a situation where your choices are don’t take an unpaid vacation or don’t eat. But the fact is, when you take a job with vacation time as a benefit, that is part of the compensation package you’re weighing and that you accept. And not getting to use that is frustrating even if it is not a life-or-death matter. And it’s something worth advocating for yourself about when you can even if it’s not a life-or-death matter.

        1. Katie*

          Exactly. It’s part of your compensation–just like your benefits–and if that’s the compensation you and your employer both agreed upon when you signed your contract, then that is what they should pay. Finding ways to weasel out of holding up their end of the bargain is dishonest and unethical.

          It’s like if you go to the mall and a store has a buy 2 get 1 free sale, but when you bring your three items to the register, the sales associate goes, “Oooh, sorry, but you’re checking out between 12:03 and 12:22, and even though it’s not posted anywhere, the sale is actually on hold in that 19-minute period. You have to pay full price!” It’s obviously NOT the end of the world, but that doesn’t make it any less irritating or false advertising.

      2. Colette*

        It’s a benefit – but only if you can actually take paid days off. Otherwise, you accepted a job based on the package (which includes pay, vacation, health, etc.) but you’re not being allowed to use the benefits you thought you’d be able to use.

        Similarly, if you accept a job based on a salary of $X, you’d be quite upset if it turned out they made up deductions so that the could decrease your salary to half of $X.

        1. Jamie*

          That’s what it would be for me – changing the terms of the deal.

          If I accept a job at $X with 3 weeks vacation then $X is for working 49 weeks per year. If you change the terms of that I’m not happy.

          Although my goal is to make 2013 the first year I actually use all of my accrued time and don’t cash out at the end of the year.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        For me, it’s always been about needing time off but not being able to afford it. If I have paid personal time, that’s a perk–it’s not required for employers to do that, but by doing so, they ensure that if I’m sick, I won’t come in and cough all over everyone because I can afford to stay out and cough all over my house.

        It’s also nice to be able to take time off now and then simply to recharge. Most people don’t live to work. They work to live, and they need a break every once in a while. But if I couldn’t afford to do that, I would be stuck working all the time and would eventually burn out.

      4. Editor*

        Paid vacation, holidays and other personal time off do two things — provide a steady stream of income to pay for ongoing expenses and codify time-off allowances.

        If it was universal policy in the U.S. not to pay for vacation time, probably people would be ok with this as long as there was some basic guarantee of vacation time. Jobs that don’t provide paid vacation now may not allow unpaid time off. It sounds like Ellie H. can take time off, but not every employer is so reasonable.

  14. JLL*

    I dunno- I’ve changed my title when it became clear nobody outside of the company knew exactly what it meant or what i did, based on title alone. Once i got in the interview, i clarified the formal title, but changing the title at least got me in the door.

  15. Beth Robinson*

    I disagree on the LinkedIn question. Unless they direct you to the company website, you will have likely have less competition applying on LinkedIn and might even escape database hell. Also please note you have the ability to upload your resume the way you want to present it during the application process. Do that. There’s also a place to write a cover letter. Do that too.

    1. OP about LinkedIn question*

      That was my original thinking process, and so I did apply directly to LinkedIn, but have not received even the ‘thank you for applying…’ auto-email that sometimes accompanies the resume submission when you apply. So, at this point, I have no idea whether they have seen it or not. I did send a cover letter too.

      And previously, when I applied to a position on LinkedIn, it actually notified me when the contact person viewed my resume. Has anyone had this happen, or being a recruiter, is that an option you can choose to let the job hunter know you have viewed it? I have already applied to LinkedIn, so I think now it is too late to send resume on company website anyway- I don’t want to appear annoying, like Alison said, or desperate. So, we will see…It is just hard when you find the job listed in so many sites – hard to know which one is best.

      1. Esra*

        It happened to me for the last job I applied to + got an interview for on LinkedIn.

        As for getting through the system… They get a lot of junk applications through LinkedIn apparently, at least that’s what the guy I interviewed with said.

        1. Lisa*

          Look at your applied jobs in Linkedin, you can tell if they ‘viewed’ your application. Not everybody’s setting notifies you, but if you go into that section you can see if they did in fact view it.

  16. Anonymous*

    Re #1: With the position before my current one, I added “coordinator” to my title. My former title was Teacher Recruiter but it really was more of a coordinator role who did some recruitment. I targeted my job search towards recruitment coordinator roles since I was much more comfortable with the admin side. I didn’t want to lie since my old title indicated more experience than I had in recruitment, so I got in touch with my old boss. I asked him if I could add “coordinator” to my old job title and he said it was fine. I amended my title to “teacher recruiter/coordinator” and that made a huge difference in the responses I got. I didn’t end up in recruitment, but overall that slight tweak to my title really helped my search.

    Get in touch with your old boss and see if tweaking your title is possibility.

  17. Andy Lester*

    Re #7: The purpose of an interview is to get a job offer. Telling them “BTW, I’m going to get married and need time off” does nothing to further that goal and get you closer to a job offer. It may not hurt, but if it’s not something that helps, then don’t bring it up.

    1. Lynn*

      But you also don’t want to take the job, ask for time off for your wedding, and have them say “we don’t allow time off in the first X months”, or “you can only use what you’ve accrued”, which will be essentially nothing since you just started. It may or may not be a deal-breaker for you, but it is something to be aware of.

      I do agree with AAM that the time to bring this up is after they make you an offer, not during the interview.

  18. Katie*

    #1: A friend of mine actually had a problem where her title made no sense in relationship to the work she did. She did some research, found a title that more accurately fits her job description and that was more industry-appropriate, and put the request to her supervisor that she be allowed to use the new title in her signature and when dealing with clients (and also on her resume, although that wasn’t the point.) If the title is inappropriate, that’s one thing, and there are ways to go about addressing it, and if the titles are things that are seen industry-wide as being relatively interchangeable (e.g. “web designer,” “web author,” or “web developer”–slightly different, but often so little that they can easily be switched out), I can see using an interchangeable title on a resume in order to be more targeted to a position you are applying for. But if you’re trying to make it look like you’ve stepped up, when you haven’t, that’s dishonest. If she would actually like the title “program associate,” she should speak to her boss about having it changed, and be sure to give good reasons–like that the standard title for someone doing her work in her industry is “program associate,” if that’s the case–for the change.

  19. Snowman*

    Re: #1: Long story with questions at the end. My official title is general: Chocolate Teapot Production Coordinator. However, my duties involve managing numerous individual functions that all contribute to chocolate teapot production.

    To reflect those duties/my level of authority when working with our business partners, my boss (Director of Teapot Production) often refers to me as manager of those separate areas and tells me I can give those as my title: Cocoa Sourcing Manager, Teapot Polishing Manager, Chocolate Teapot Advertising Manager, etc.

    When I took this job, a deciding factor was that my boss said he’d be retiring and would mentor me for his position, so I’d have a chance to take it over upon his retirement. Fast-forward to the present: my boss is retiring soon. Over the past few years, he has moved to part-time work and I have steadily taken on more of his responsibilities. I am performing around 90 percent of his duties in addition to my own. Our owners realize the massive amounts of work I am doing/the improvements I am making to our product. However, due to their financial situation, they have chosen not to fill the director position or change my title or pay, so I am job-hunting.

    a) Opinions on listing myofficial title, then the more-specific sub-duties/improvements, like: “Chocolate Teapot Production Coordinator–Managed cocoa-sourcing, teapot polishing, and teapot advertising functions. Sourced Peruvian cocoa to increase teapot quality while reducing costs….”?

    b) Would it be gauche to mention the years of mentoring/taking on the director’s responsibilities if applying for similar manager/director-level positions?

  20. Joey*

    No one cares on the hiring side what your “official” duties are- they want reality. But, use your official title because when they call for reference checks thats likely what your boss will verify. But, it sounds like you can turn all of those extra duties into really impressive résumé bullets. And no need to list them as “sub-duties.” Wait to see if they ask you to differentiate them.

  21. Deven*

    Is it okay to change a job title to better reflect the industry you’re trying to get into? Specifically, I used to help with transportation, hospitality, travel arrangements, security, event set up and tear down for a variety of different shows, talks, etc. My job title was “Stagehand,” since most of our shows were theater related, but I’ve always wondered if it would be okay to change it to something like “Events Assistant,” as that seems to be a better reflection of my duties… and something potential employers would more readily understand. Would that be acceptable?

    1. Anna*

      Regardless of the reason, it’s still a lie, and if (when) it’s discovered, you’ll look dishonest. Be very explicit about your duties on your resume and about your skills in your cover letter; that’s how you let an employer know that you’re qualified for a job.

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