50

I'm currently employed as a "web developer" for a company. That's what it says on my business card and that was the title on the job ad. The thing is I haven't done ANYTHING that can be considered "web development". The job is 100% system administration. There are several other people employed as "web developers" in this company. Only two do actual web development, the rest do many different things.

I'm planning on leaving the company and looking for a new job.

How should I label this job on my resume? I was employed as a "web developer", but a more accurate title is "systems administrator".

  • Regardless of your title, why not give details about what you did there as a "XYZ Developer" – Elias Sep 25 '14 at 19:40
41

Since your new employers will ask your old employer what you did, the right way of saying this is:

Web Developer (System Administration responsibilities)

That way they know your title, and what you actually did.

  • this doesn't convey the actual situation, which is 0% web dev and 100% sys admin. – Chan-Ho Suh Aug 31 '15 at 17:33
16

I use my official title (for reference checking) and then put the title I should have had in parenthesis () after it.

9

On your resume and job applications, use the official title you've been given by the company so everything will match up and go smoothly when your references are checked and your employment is verified by potential new employers.

On your resume, when you highlight in bullet points your accomplishments based on the duties you performed in the position, be sure they are accurate and do not worry that the accomplishments might not fall under the purview of employees with your (incorrect) title.

In any cover letters that accompany your resume, you could address it simply (and then move on, not dwelling on it), such as "Although in my previous position I held the title of 'Web Developer', I did not perform traditional web development but was in fact responsible for system administration duties such as ..." How you frame this job will depend on whether or not you are looking for something in web development or systems administration (or both).

Finally, I agree with what HLGEM said about clarifying your title in parentheses if you really feel it is warranted. For instance, I was once officially a "Systems Engineer V" but my actual working title was "Chief Architect and Manager of Software Development". For verification purposes, I would use the former, but I would also parenthetically note the latter, as it is so vastly different.

Your overall goal should be to represent your skills and experience appropriately on your resume, augment this information through your cover letter, and provide verifiable information on your resume/applications to ensure the process runs smoothly.

4

I'd go with the job title that is most in the direction you want to go with your new job, ofcourse without lying. You have to market yourself towards the new job, and if your goal is a system admin position, go for that. If you aim for a web development position, mentioning that as your job title might be beneficial. Ofcourse, in this latter case a problem might be that a potential employer expects different experience from a web developer than the experience you gained in your previous position.

A more subtle example might shed some more light on what I mean exactly. When doing some statistical research on a contract basis, I could use one of two job descriptions: statistical consultant or researcher. If I was aiming for an academic position, I'd go with the latter, and stress the academic parts of the job. Alternatively, I'd go for statistical consultant if I where applying for an industry position, stressing the parts of the job that where relevant for that.

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