Job Title vs. Job Position (Examples, Differences and Tips)
Updated 25 August 2023
Job titles and job positions are two terms frequently used to define work roles in an organisation. They may sound similar, but there are differences between them. Learning about these differences may help you write a better description of your work experience and achievements on your resume. In this article, we discuss the definitions of job title vs. job position, explore their differences with examples and provide tips on how to describe your job positions on your resume.
Job title vs. job position
To explore the differences between job title vs. job position, it's helpful to first look at their definitions. Job titles are terms that describe what you do for a living. They are labels that reflect an overview of your responsibilities, the hierarchical level of the job role or both. An example of a job title that reflects both is senior marketing manager.
Job positions define the duties and functions you perform in your job. They give an outline of your field of employment and reflect your responsibilities. You provide details of your job positions in a resume to describe your work experience. An example of a job position is an accountant.
How do employers use job titles?
Companies usually use job titles to classify the job holder in the organisational hierarchy. Some organisations may have a systematic list of job titles for a set of jobs that reflect seniority. For instance, you may start as an associate and work your way up to become a senior associate, assistant manager, manager and then senior manager.
There are several reasons why companies use job titles:
Career progression: Job titles provide employees with a clearly defined career progression path. As employees advance in their careers, they earn progressive job titles which reflect their seniority.
Pay management: Employers often tie compensation to the level of your job title. There may be a salary range of what to expect for a specific pay grade.
Reporting structure: Job titles may clarify the reporting structure and reflect hierarchy. In larger organisations, a clear reporting structure is a key to accountability and productivity.
Examples of job titles
A job title is a label given to you by the company you work for. Here are some examples of job titles across different job levels or industries:
Entry-level job titles: finance associate, human resources assistant, junior accountant
Management job titles: chief of staff, communications director, information technology director
Service industry job titles: customer service team leader, hotel general manager, call centre representative
Corporate job titles: financial controller, marketing manager, business development associate
Creative job titles: art director, graphic artist, web designer
How do employers use job positions?
Companies create job positions to fulfil their business and operational requirements. A job position refers to the role that you play within the company. Larger companies may have many job positions, while smaller startups may have only a few positions. Everyone holding a job position contributes to the overall goals of the company.
Here are the reasons why companies use job positions:
Provide structure: Business owners devise sets of job positions to provide a structure that suits their business goals. For example, some companies may include a marketing department, while other smaller companies may decide to outsource the marketing function.
Clarity on job roles: Job positions provide clear guidance on employee job expectations. Job roles that are clearly defined allow employers to assign work tasks accordingly.
Provide flexibility: Companies may optimise job positions according to changing circumstances. Employers may add new positions or adapt additional duties within current positions.
Examples of job positions
Here are some examples of job positions within a company across different functions:
Executive positions: chief executive officer (CEO), chief operations officer (COO), chief financial officer (CFO)
Administrative positions: receptionist, administrative officer, secretary
Human resources positions: human resources manager, benefits manager, payroll assistant
Marketing positions: marketing manager, social media specialist, copywriter
Sales positions: sales representative, account executive, regional sales manager
Finance positions: finance manager, internal auditor, accounts payable accountant
Differences between job titles and job positions
There are differences between job titles and job positions. Within an organisation, there may be people holding the same job title but with different job positions. For instance, several human resources assistants may be working in the same department, but each is in charge of a different aspect of HR, such as payroll, benefits or training.
Job positions may also be more dynamic than job titles. Your job title may not change until you're promoted, but employers may adapt your job position to include more responsibilities. For example, if you hold a marketing position, your job position may expand to include communications, as these two functions usually correlate.
Why are job titles and job positions important?
Job titles and job positions are important because they are the information you provide on your resume. Potential employers use this information to learn about your work experiences and determine if you're a good fit for the job role and organisation.
Using the correct job titles and job positions is also critical because recruiters or employers use them as search terms when looking for candidates. Using accurate terms may increase the probability that employers shortlist you for consideration. Make sure your job title defines your job position accurately.
Tips on how to describe your job positions in a resume
When reviewing a candidate's resume, potential employers usually look at your job title first to ensure that you meet the minimum expectations or that you're not overqualified for the job role. They may then look for details about your job positions to determine if you have the required experience and skills.
Here are some tips on how to describe your job positions in your resume:
Be clear and specific
Use clear and specific terms to describe your job positions and responsibilities. This allows potential employers to decide if you have the experience to succeed in the job role. Include details and quantify your achievements if you can do so. For instance, instead of improving the customer service experience, you may write, set up three more customer service channels using social media, leading to a 50% increase in customer satisfaction in a survey.
Choose active voice
Active verbs imply action, and using the active voice puts the focus on you instead of on the work tasks. It reflects your confidence and also makes your resume easier to read. For example, instead of being tasked with leading a team to revamp customer service, you may write, successfully led a team of 5 to set up a new customer service centre in a 10-month project.
Different companies may adopt varying sets of job titles. For instance, if your previous job title is an assistant vice president and you seek a senior manager position, employers may not fully know if you're the right fit for the job level. If your job title does not fully reflect your job position and responsibilities, you may include your position next to your title. You may also want to research the job title equivalents used by potential employers.
Showcase achievements with examples
Other than your day-to-day tasks, potential employers want to know more about your achievements in your previous job positions. Showcase your work achievements and provide concrete examples for employers to better understand the situation. For instance, instead of being tasked to lead an office space revamping project, you may write, and manage a budget of $800,000 to refurbish office space to meet new operational needs.
Simplify complex job positions
Potential employers may not fully understand your previous job roles, especially if you're starting in a new field or industry. Simplify complex job positions by focusing on the most important duties and straightforwardly explaining them. Make your resume easy to read for someone not familiar with the industry. If you secure a job interview, you may present the complexities during the interview.
Use your cover letter for elaboration
Use a cover letter to elaborate on your most significant job positions and transferable skills. An outstanding cover letter highlights how you can contribute to your potential employers and why you're the best person for the job. For example, if you're seeking a job position that is a level up from your current job title, show that you're ready to take on more responsibilities and add value to the company.
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