… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.

Dumbing it down

These days it’s more common to hear of people taking jobs that are a step back from their last position than it is to hear of people getting jobs they are perfectly suited for. There’s a lot of skilled and educated people looking for work right now. One thing I’ve been hearing about for a while are people who have “dumbed down” their resumes in attempts to get these more junior positions. They are dropping education, experience, changing job titles, etc., in order to not appear too overqualified. Unfortunately, I know one aspect of these changes is motivated by fears of ageism.

I guess my question for all of you darling readers, is what do you think of the practice of “dumbing down” your resume? I think it’s a good idea to have multiple copies of your resume if you are applying for a variety of positions, but is this the same thing? Would this count as falsifying your application? In this age of Google how much longer can this work if a simple search can pull up the differences between your reported and actual experience? Would you recommend this strategy to others? Do you know people who have used this strategy effectively?

Please hit me up in the comments with your thoughts, inquiring minds are eager to know!

7 Responses | Add your Own

  • 1 Erik :

    I think it's absolutely essential to have a "dumbed down" version of your resume around.

    You won't be hired if you appear "overqualified", which bothers me no end. A worker who needs a job badly would logically be very loyal to someone who gave them a break, but loyalty is completely discounted right out of the box. I find that distressing.

    People need to eat, pay the mortgages, and so on. That means they need work. That means that many workers are taking a step down and getting on with their lives. If we have to "fool" employers to do that, I'm game. As long as you can indeed do the job that's posted, it's not lying to me if you can do a lot more.

    If employers looked for loyalty, well, we might not be in this situation.

  • 2 Erin :

    If I am doing reference checks on a candidate that I want to hire and I find out that they've significantly dumbed down their resume, I'm going to wonder if it's because they have something to hide. I'm not going to think, "Oh, they left that VP position off their resume so that they didn't look overqualified." I'm going to think, "Oh, they left that VP position off their resume, I wonder if it ended badly – it must have, why else would they be trying to keep such great experience a secret?"

    When I come across an applicant that has way more experience than needed for a position, I don't automatically toss their resume, I usually address my concerns in a phone interview, making sure they understand the job and seeing if their salary expectations are in line with what we're offering. So a candidate who lies on their resume is doing more harm than good (with me at least).

  • 3 HR Minion :

    Erik – do you think employers still consider overqualified that much of a problem given the current economy?

    Erin – That's a good point!!

  • 4 Steve Boese :

    I think I am more along the lines of what Erin said, whether the candidate dumbed down the resume or not, they will eventually either love or hate the job the same. Be honest on your resume I would say.

  • 5 HR Minion :

    Steve – Honesty's the best policy and all that, right? 🙂

  • 6 Jody Skinner :

    Telling a lie is a careful business. There's no point in dumbing down if your salary expectations can't go junior, too. And we all – all! – know that as soon as the economy picks up, people will trade up. I suggest that one doesn't dumb down, but just says, "I was looking for greater work/life balance." We HR types will eat that up.

  • 7 HR Minion :

    Jody – Now that''s strategic thinking! 🙂