It’s a hidden list, not many are privy to it.
Some don’t even know it exists, but I’ve seen it.
I’ve even been on it. ‼
Sometimes it’s just a mental list that one or two people keep track of. Are you intrigued?
🎓🎓🎓It is a list of employees in the organization (or that have applied for a job) that are ‘overeducated and/or overqualified’. I had never heard of the term overeducated before; I didn’t even know it was a thing. But I had made the list at an organization where I was already working below my value, my credentials, and my contributions. That happens a lot to military spouses, as we move around and must find a new job, rarely do we walk into a promotion.
When a position came open at this organization, some careless supervisor had left a list laying around of internal employees who had applied. The list had about 10 names on it, all with one or two words next to each name such as… not dedicated, no degree, annoying, and next to my name was written ‘overeducated’. It was not lost on me that I hold a master’s degree and the person doing the hiring had a bachelor’s degree.
So, the question begs to ask, and has been asked of me many times by clients with advanced and multiple college degrees – “Should I dumb my resume down?”
Personally, I don’t care for the words ‘dumb down’, I think it insults both the candidate and the employer. I refer to modifying education and credentials as ‘reworking and precise targeting’. This process does not just apply to education, it can also include progressive career experience, skills, and certifications. Why would anyone want to do this, you might ask. Well, as is the case with many things, sometimes there are reasons, but are they valid?
Here are some thoughts around ‘reworking and precise targeting’ your resume to consider:
✅Omitting job experience that is not relevant, short-lived, and does not create a large gap in employment on a resume that is constructed in reverse chronological order, dating 10 years back, would be acceptable. Rather than leaving off ‘gap filling jobs’ you can also just list the title, the company, and the years of experience with one or two context sentences or achievements.
✅Leaving off unrelated certifications may leave space for additional hard-hitting accomplishments.
✅You may consider taking a Ph.D. off a resume so that you are not considered ‘overeducated or overqualified’, however, you will need to list the degree on any official application. I’ve worked with many clients who have advanced degrees, are entering the last chapter of their professional careers, and no longer want to maintain all of the responsibility across the whole organization (Golf anyone?).
Another way of positioning this information would be to leave the degree on your resume and state in your cover letter any type of career transition you may be making. For example, if you are a VP and wanting to make a career shift to less responsibility or a servant driven role, or even become a consultant, you can relay this in your cover letter.
Keep in mind that your resume is a marketing document, so you are free to express your experience however you like. However, an application for employment is a legal document that you sign and that requires full disclosure.
❓What are your thoughts about reworking and precise targeting?