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I've been working with this company for about 2 years now. I've performed well and in my time here I've received multiple, pretty significant raises, but my title has remained the same: "Software Engineer".

I'm planning on leaving the company soon. It's a small company and many of us have gotten fed up with the management style and don't feel optimistic about the future. Now here's the thing: I just found out from my manager that he has worked out a title change for me to "Lead Web Applications Developer." My responsibilities however are not changing. This title is simply a more accurate description of the work I've been doing for a while now.

I'm looking for advice about what to do in terms of my resume. I wont have any new responsibilities or accomplishments to put under the new title. Also, since the change is so recent, I wonder if its more trouble than its worth to even list it, but at the same time I feel that having a listing with "Lead" in the title would help me out.

I was thinking of approaching my boss and asking if, in the paperwork relating to the new title (which hasn't been completed yet), the effective date could be back dated to my most recent raise before this (about 6 months ago) as this point in time would more accurately reflect the time when I became "lead," but I worry that this conversation would show my hand.

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Title is pointless, everyone should know this.

You can have title "Dictator For Life", but if all your day-to-day job responsibilities entailed was some light QA and a bit of a snooze, then you're just a junior QA engineer.

What I mean by this is if you want a particular job, you should focus on tailoring your resume based on activities related to that job. Don't tailor the title - or, don't think the title is what employers look at.

Stick lead on your resume - you've been at the company for two years so just put

2016-2018, Some Company

Lead Web Applications Developer

I managed a team of 5

I introduced unit testing, reducing time spent on bug fixes by 50%

Introduced agile development practices and a morning SCRUM. This increased team velocity by 10%

Refactored the codebase, increasing performance by 33%

Note that what you've listed as accomplishments are "lead" accomplishments. Please don't list your job as

2016-2018, Some Company

Lead Web Applications Developer

Created 25 Landing pages
Wrote the widget app and the baker app

Worked in PhP, CSS, XML and JavaScript

What I mean is - in the first example, you have measurable examples of how good you are and what changes you made. It shows measurable impact, which is great.

In the second example, it reads just like a job spec. Nobody reads job specs, and nobody will want to read a CV that looks like one. Add all the technologies you have used either at the bottom of your CV or in a short line - but don't list "I made a web thing" - because that was your job. It's evident in the title "Web Application Developer" that you developed some web applications.

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    Titles are important in some cultures don't be so sure that they are not – Neuromancer Jun 24 '18 at 21:53
  • Titles most definitely are a factor....once your face to face you can explain stuff away, but you have to get the call or in the door first... – Mister Positive Jun 25 '18 at 12:54
  • Titles are important in some cultures. Where I'm from, they are not, and hiring is based more on the interview itself and not the CV. However, where I am going to live in a few years titles are very important before you even get an interview. I am currently busy getting my current employer to change my title to accurately reflect my duties, as this will give a +30% swing in my expected pay when I move abroad. – Flater Jun 25 '18 at 14:48
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    I'm sure it varies depending on the local, but from my experience as a hire-er I often ignore titles. I had one resume come across my desk (for a senior engineering position) where his title for almost every job he ever had was "CTO". I was pretty sure those weren't his official titles, but I was more interested in skills then titles so I interviewed him anyway. Conversely, I'm effectively the CTO but I think my title is "Web Developer". I wouldn't put CTO on a resume, but I also wouldn't but "Web Developer" - I would put something that accurately described my responsibilities. – Conor Mancone Jun 25 '18 at 17:13
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    At least in the US titles are useless. I worked for a company that was acquired (2007). Instead of a 'Senior Programmer Analyst' I was now a 'Application Engineer 5'. Nothing changed with what I was doing. These guys also gave almost every one an 'Officer' or 'Assistant Vice President' as part of their title. It meant absolutely nothing. When company 2 was bought out a year later job titles changed again and I was no longer an AVP. When I hired I didn't care about the title - I looked for what they had accomplished. – JazzmanJim Jun 25 '18 at 17:40
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I'm a bit surprised @bharal answer is downvoted. I wanted to comment, but figure my comment is basically an answer.

My last company had very strange titles. I was a "web dev" then it goes in levels 1 to 3. Then in the end, I was "senior web dev" but no levels. My last company had a HR nightmare because a web dev level 2 in one place didn't match up the pay for a similar role in a different department. A lot of folks were angered and eventually they just got rid of titles and said each department/company made up their own. So you could have called yourself "Lead Senior Web Dev Level 3" and it would stick.

I believe the reason why HR does this to avoid having to explain why a person in one place makes lesser than a similar title in another. I have no proof other than my experience to say that HR can deflect any pay question by saying the title means differently for the next department.

With that said, put the title that best fits your role. No two companies have the same titles meaning the same thing. Just explain the title that best fits the role. Were you in leadership position? Or a senior most developer on the team? Go with that. Most people would understand junior and senior and lead developer role. You can go with generics like, "Junior Web Developer" with team lead experience if you only been there for 2 years.

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This is one of those cases where ambiguity works to your advantage:

2016-2018 - Ace Widgets, Inc.

Software Engineer and Lead Web Applications Developer

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. ...

There's probably been some growth in your responsibilities over the last two years, and you can write the position description to show that. Readers will infer that at some point, your title changed because of that growth.

If anyone is interested in the details of when or why your title changed, they'll ask. The honest answer, that the change was a recent development because the company caught up with work you'd been doing for the last n months, would be the right one.

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