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My job title at my current place of work is 'Robot Programmer', but the work I do is much closer to 'Software Developer'. In my industry (automotive), a robot programmer is someone with a specialized skillset for on-the-spot debug and path optimizations. While I have done those duties as needed, the bulk of my time (and the bulk of my value to the company) has been in the development of a standardized program library for implementing a new technology.

When I started working at this company almost 5 years ago, I recognized that my title did not match my duties, but when I attempted to have the situation remedied, I was informed that the position I was filling did not exist at my company. Since I was happy doing the work they gave me, and horrendously under qualified on paper for that work, I let it be (BA Economics, no experience infield).

Just recently, I've been looking for a job doing the same work I'm doing now, but in a different area (I have to move for my wife's career, since she's finishing medschool). The problem I'm finding again and again is that I'm being turned down for a job doing the same thing I'm doing now, because a) I didn't go to school for it and b) I have 'no relevant experience' due to my job title not matching my duties. I was hoping that references saying I can do what I claim would be sufficient, but I never even make it to that stage.

If anyone has experienced difficulties similar to this, what is my next course of action (if any)?

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    Yeah, that answers my question, even though it's a different question. I'll update my resume to 'Robot Programmer (Robotic Software Developer)'. – GOATNine Feb 5 '18 at 15:05
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    Great! On your question you should see a notification that allows you to indicate that the linked question solved your problem. – David K Feb 5 '18 at 15:11
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Do this:

  1. Use your official title on your resume. It's important to do so because potential employers might verify it when checking your references.

  2. Follow your official title with a more descriptive title in parentheses, like this:

Robot Programmer (Software Developer)

This is commonly done to help the people reading your resume understand more about what you do.

It also helps you get the right keywords into high-value locations on your resume and LinkedIn profile.

  • This is what I did, garnered a position at a new company with a 50% pay bump and the title that actually matches my job. – GOATNine May 2 '18 at 14:10
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I've had the same problems - my first job title was Technical Support Engineer (which covered support for engineering software and HVAC controls; IT and network administration; and eventually web and software development). My next job title was Systems Analyst, which was 100% software development (the boss thought Analyst was more impressive than Developer).

I disagree with the suggestions to "put a more descriptive title" in parentheses - mostly because "more descriptive" is highly subjective.

What we look for in a resume is a good (brief) description of your role, responsibilities, and achievements within your old job - especially picking out the bits that would make you a good fit for the job you are applying.

You also should have a good paragraph describing why you fit the job you are applying for in a cover letter.

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