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Is it Smart to Dumb Down Your Resume?

Is it Smart to Dumb Down Your Resume?

Kim Isaacs | Monster Resume Expert

Overqualified Workers May Have an Edge

Finlay’s research suggests some good news for job seekers who are willing to accept lower-level positions but are concerned about being perceived as overqualified. “We may be entering an era in which being overqualified is no longer a liability,” he says. “A generation ago, a college degree became a requirement for jobs that previously required only a high school diploma. Now, we are seeing evidence of people with JDs and MBAs being hired for jobs that previously would have gone to people with undergraduate degrees.”

Stone has seen this trend in her recruiting career as well. “Previously, employers may have been concerned about hiring overqualified individuals, fearing that when the economy rebounds these employees may leave for other opportunities,” she says. “Since we are not seeing a robust rebound in the market, savvy employers are hiring these overqualified employees while achieving value pricing.”

Smarter Strategies

Parish, who agrees that dumbing down the resume is generally not a good idea, says job seekers should shoot for the stars. “If experienced workers are armed with an extraordinary resume and launch an aggressive job search, they could find their ideal jobs and won’t have to settle,” she says.

Here are three strategies for experienced job seekers who don’t want to dumb down their resumes:

1. Customize: “A resume needs to be custom-designed, highly targeted and well above average to gain interest,” Parish says. Include a targeted resume title so employers understand your career goal, followed by a qualifications summary that provides an overview of your value.

2. Summarize: “It’s perfectly fine to omit details that aren’t relevant to the position you are applying for,” Hosking says. “For example, you don’t need to include a job you held in high school 40 years ago or expound on a job in another field that isn’t relevant to the position you’re seeking.” Parish recommends detailing only the past 10 to 15 years of your employment history, and relegating older employment to an “Additional Experience” or “Early Career” section at the bottom. Unrelated degrees or specialized training can be downplayed or eliminated as long as they are appropriately listed on an application form, she says.

3. Overcome Objections: Stone says job seekers should anticipate objections employers might have, and use the cover letter to address how age and experience can be a tremendous asset to the organization. “Seek to understand employers’ concerns and then sell around those concerns with brevity, clarity and confidence,” she says.

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