Kaci Ayres
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I'm pretty sure this question has already been asked, but is it acceptable, or even a good idea, to "dumb" yourself down on an application? I have a PhD in Emergency Management and cannot get a job in the field because I do not have any experience, so in the meantime, I am volunteering with the Red Cross to get said experience. The only thing that I have ever done is administrative work; mostly in the healthcare field, but I also have degrees in Criminal Justice and Healthcare Administration. I have applied for literally hundreds of administrative assistant jobs, but either hear nothing or get the obligatory rejection letter. My theory is that I should not list my higher degrees (PhD and Masters) when applying for AA jobs, but is that being deceptive or strategic??

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about 6 years ago
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Jim Flack

This is a perplexing issue. My significant other has two BAs and a Masters degree. She finally was resigned to taking off one BA and the Masters from her resume. It really does intimidate hiring managers and HR. I don't look at it as "dumbing down," but more "targeting" your application. If I were HR, I would wonder why you would be applying for an "assistant" position instead of leadership or management? (I would call you anyway, and determine if the position really interests you or would it bore you to death---but that's just me). It just depends on the position you're targeting.

6y
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Dallas Shewmaker

It's been my experience that a certain amount of "dumbing down" is definitely a good idea. There's a saying about "putting all your cards out on the table'. It seems deceptive but it really depends on your goal. Remember that they (employers) are out to get the best trainable employee at the lowest cost. If you come out of the box ready to go - excessively qualified, great attitude, perfect fit into corporate culture - they're going to know immediately that you are worth far more than they want to pay. This, in turn, could lead to a projected sense that you may not be qualified in other ways - not trainable, looking to take higher ups jobs, took good for the position offered. Which is the general reason why they will eliminate you from the candidate pool. It's a double-edged sword. The problem with this lies in the fact that those with the upper positions in which you are equally qualified for will see you as a threat rather than somebody that they can get for cheap. Some simply just don't have the heart to offer you a position in which you are clearly worth more. All-in-all, dumbing down yourself is probably a good idea if you're just trying to get into a company. Let your over-qualifications and drive come out once you're in. Bottom line - happy surprises are much better than scaring them off.

6y
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Scott McGovney

I am kind of just the opposite. I have all the experience. A Masters in Criminal Justice, 33 years of law enforcement and college teaching. I retired from law enforcement (not to my own liking) and I cannot get ANY job, even after 4500 jobs - yes 4500. They say its not age..it is. I'm 59 years young, work out everyday, am in good health, but companies don't care about that. My advice to you is this: Try getting a job in law enforcement. Whether its policing or on the line, or even dispatching (even though you have a PhD. The experience will follow and you will move upward very quickly.

6y
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Cheryl Jones

Do not apply for AA jobs. You could work as a contractor and get practical work experience in your field. Emergency Management is a federal position. You should apply at the federal level for work.

6y
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Shehab Abdelhamid

Its not! Its strategic, and here is why.... If you have those degrees you have a certain skill set, that and depending on your age...places you for certain profession that is not for admin spots...but managerial positions...depending on your age or rather how long you want to wait you can just as easly climb up the career lader as it were. How ever you can gain experience as a manager by applying for Call Center administration work... Or even as a recruiter for a temp agency that only works corporate office positions. With your higher education background that is specifically targeted towards the inner-workings and demands of an Corporate environment should grant you acess that world. GOOD LUCK!!

6y
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Antonia Cabal

Yes , sometimes it is. If you're trying to apply for a lesser position, for example.

I applied for a customer service job because my unemployment was running out and we needed the money. I downplayed my resume, but listed relevant skills. In the interview, I demonstrated my ability to work with my "customers". I was invited to a job shadow and then a second interview. I was hired on the spot.

6y
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Keith Turner

both..listen to your conscience

6y
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Stormy Gabriel

Kaci, No it's not being deceptive. Sometimes you can't put too much on an application especially if the position doesn't stress that it's needed. And don't feel that your dumbing yourself down here. You're just withholding information they may not need to know immediately. Wait until you get your foot in the door and in the position (not at the interview) if you can avoid here discussing the higher degree. Just say something like I started my P.H.D. or Masters and I'm acquiring it slowly because employment is my priority with my already earned credits. This is just a little white lie that will be understood by your employer once you get on the job and are able to prove yourself by your performance. Also you will of course have to make your resume and cover letters reflect the same meaning by removing the degree off until you get into the required position you want and put some time Into it. Sometimes employers see degrees and figure they have to roll out the high dollars in payroll right away. This shies them away from hiring you where they make excuses in other capacities like lack of experience to prove themselves. So get in the door by withholding g what you think isn't necessary for them to know according to what the position calls for. And then work from there once you do have the experience they claim you don't have now. Good Luck!

6y
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Gabriela Santiago

Agreed with everyone else - I think you should definitely be proud of your accomplishments and not hide them.

I do think that when applying to jobs though, you can order your resume in accordance to what is most important to that particular employer. For some, it might be your education, so you can list that first. For others, they just care about particular skills (like your typing speed or if you are proficient in MS Office), so you can put your skills at the top of the resume. Some employers only care that your experience in that field, then you would list your relevant experience first.

Although generally, there is some preference at making resumes reverse-chronological, I think that ordering it by relevancy of the job you are applying to can be successfully as it ensures that the thing the employer most cares about is the first thing they see.

Another option, is to write a cover letter that first describes why you are interested in the job and ties together your qualifications in your resume. I think companies are asking less and less for these, but in certain cases they can be helpful to include if they shed some light as to why you might be interested in particular position.

Best of luck!!

6y
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Natasha Green

No way, don't do it. Employers get nervous with overqualified candidates and don't follow through out of fear of applicant asking for too much money or possible taking over their jobs in a few months. Make a strong argument on an intro letter as to why you're interested in a job that your obviously over-qualified for. It's still a long shoe but give it a try.

6y
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