How To Overcome Negative Perceptions of Your Job Title / Background

How To Overcome Negative Perceptions About You!

As humans we all process information through filters and one of those filters is your current job title / background!

Though your job title may work well for you right now, the moment you try and take on a different role, job title / background / responsibility, you end up running into a brick wall! … it is like people fold their hands and adopt a challenging, prove-it-to-me attitude!

So, in today’s post, I will answer a question submitted by (Jan) who has worked 15+ years for one of the largest IT Corporationsbut still feels boxed-in / walled-in” by his current job title!

How does Jan overcome the limitations of a job title that does not accurately reflect what he knows or is capable of doing?

  • Step 1 – Adopt A Consultant’s Mindset

    Consultants are skilled at predicting where hiring is going, re-inventing their profiles so that it matches the realities of the market place and then re-positioning / marketing themselves successfully even when they don’t have extensive backgrounds / profiles in their new career!

    What is the consultant’s mindset?
    A consultant understands that Information Technology (IT) is a performance based industry and as long as one performs, at least above average, one can with confidence apply for and get a job.

    You Can Do It
    You Can Do It

    For example, a consultant may begin his career as a computer programmer and after a few years, decide to “re-invent” himself as a systems analyst because it is more interesting!

    After a few years, that same consultant may end up switching again to a business analyst career simply because the Systems Analyst” job title is going out-of-fashion and the Business Analyst job title is what’s now in vogue!

    How do consultants view other people’s negative perceptions of their capabilities?
    Consultants in the Information Technology (IT) industry understand that IT is a performance based industry and so they don’t allow any other considerations like their: certifications, job titles, college degrees, etc., to stop them from becoming very good at what they do or … want to do next!

    Learn more this statement; Information Technology (IT) is a performance based Industry here …

    So, consultants are not tied to your job description because they understand that it is only a vehicle for getting work done and they don’t assume that other people who may want to hire them are tied to it too!

  • Step 2 – Rewrite Your Resume For Where You Are Going

    Rewrite Your Resume
    Rewrite Your Resume

    Employers, recruiters and staffing personnel filter out resumes that don’t match the job descriptions they posted.

    So, even though it may be painstaking, time-consuming or sound plain ridiculous, you have to rewrite your resume to match where you are going to … and not where you are coming from.

    Look at it this way, the investment of time and energy is well-worth the effort … because you are likely going to stick with the new / re-written resume for months or years.

    How do you rewrite a resume?
    You rewrite each position, accomplishment or responsibility listed on your resume “using words” that match the generalized job profiles / positions you will be applying for.

    Do you have to re-write your resume for every advertised job?
    No, because you rewrite your resume to match “a general job description” and not necessarily for specific job positions!

    For example, if you are transitioning to a “Business Analyst” job title, you can’t re-write your resume for every unique business analyst job posting out their because they are all worded differently and emphasize different skills, background, responsibilities, tools, etc.

    What you need to do is to write your resume to match the average / mean / most frequently listed responsibilities, tools, skills, etc.

    Here is a specific how-to-guide on: How To Write Your Resume For Business Analyst Jobs … for your reading pleasure.

    So rewriting your resume to match that of a typical position in your industry is likely going to be sufficient.

    You may also want to read this post titled: Deciphering The Business Analyst Job Description.

  • Step 3 – Work With A Recruiter Who Believes In You!

    The final step is to get your resume into the hands of a recruiter who believes in you. But this step won’t work if you don’t first believe in your-self and in-addition complete the first two (2) previous steps.

    Do step #2 because if you haven’t re-written your resume, you will be unable to convince a recruiter to invest the time or effort it will take to market your profile to hiring employers.

    Why does re-writing your resume matter to recruiters?
    Most recruiters don’t have a background in the position you worked in or the new-one you are applying to.

    So, a resume that matches an employer’s job posting makes a recruiter much more effective“!

    Don't Go It Alone
    Don’t Go It Alone

    Now, what does it mean to work with a recruiter?
    It means don’t abandon the entire job-search to a recruiter. Supplement the recruiter’s efforts with your own best attempts to find or apply to matching job postings.

    It also means, don’t try and go it alone … because unless you are absolutely sure that your contacts / network will produce the job you need, a recruiter can shorten the time it takes you to find a job!

Now you have it … three (3) steps you can take to overcome the negative perceptions or limitations imposed by your job title / profile / background!

This post is written as an answer to Jan’s question about “how to cross the bridge to becoming a business analyst“.

Jan has spent more than 15 years as a Software Engineer for one of the largest IT corporations in the world, and yet finds himself at a disadvantage because of the internal trappings of job descriptions.

ASK IT Career Coach
ASK IT Career Coach

Answering the toughest questions facing our readers is part of what we do at: “ITCareerCoach”. If you have a burning question or challenge, you may post it as a comment on this post or How To Write Your Resume For Business Analyst Jobs

  • How To Decipher The Business Analyst Job Description

  • Nothing Great Was Ever Accomplished Without First Believing

  • Can You Perform? Prove It!

  • 4 Responses to "How To Overcome Negative Perceptions of Your Job Title / Background"

    1. Jan H   February 1, 2013 at 8:55 am

      Thank you for such thorough responses. I’m so glad I found this site!

      I’m certainly reading all of the great advice available here. My primary struggle is with rewriting the resume and “tweaking the title” as suggested. These titles are associated with my job history, and I don’t know what kind of verification my employer provides. I don’t want to “lie” on the resume; However, these titles and roles seem to be the “make or break” part of the infamous “6 second scan” recruiters do to even consider reading further!

      The “OFFICIAL” Title throughout my employment was “Software Engineer, and Staff Software Engineer”. I further break my positions down by time and role, and of course each role has listed supporting responsibilities which highlight the skills, with the most emphasis on my roles in requirement, project and release management, process consolidation, re-engineering, documentation.

      Build and Tools Developer: Information Development and Translation

      Developer, Team Lead and Project Manager: XXX Globalization (G11N) Enablement:

      Team and Technical Lead: *NIX Development Support and Service

      Developer: [Component]:

      Developer: [Component]:

      *NIX Level Two Support: [Component Areas]

      All the advice I read about these dreaded “Applicant Tracking Software” systems leaves me in a perpetual state of confusion. It seems that “Requirements Planning” for a business analyst position is nearly impossible. At least as an analyst you have a chance to break the perceived requirements into manageable features!! In the search for a career, the feature requests are ongoing, and contradictory across the social media networks.

      • ITCareerCoach   February 5, 2013 at 7:10 am


        Thanks for posting this. I hope you realize that nothing stops you from giving each position a more meaningful title. A title that reflects what you were really doing at the time.

        For example, of from June 1, 1970 to June 31 1971, your job title was Software Developer but you spent a good deal amount of time writing requirements documentation, you may write:
        Requirements Documentation …. June 1 1971 to June 31 1971

        If you do that, you are challenging your official job title and you must be sure that you can backup your claims with what you really did.

        For example, one of the business analysts I interviewed and recommended for hiring for a position, worked into the interview with a set of requirements analysis and business analysis documents she had written by hand …

        • Jan H   February 13, 2013 at 7:30 pm

          Great advise. Thanks! I’m in the process of getting signed up for the bootcamp, which I think is going to be very beneficial!

          • ITCareerCoach   February 14, 2013 at 8:45 am

            Great, I am glad the advice was helpful. Please let us know how we can be of more help and … see you at the boot camp 🙂


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