How to Dumb Down Your Resume

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resumeGetting hired is getting harder and harder as 9.8% of the country is unemployed, and being overqualified for a job is one reason too many people hear for why they're not being hired.

While dumbing down your résumé isn't ideal, it may be necessary if you're going for a job that doesn't require all of the expertise, training and education you have.

Look at it from an employer's standpoint: Hiring someone with a master's degree to work as a receptionist doesn't make sense because that person will probably quit as soon as they find something they have more of an interest in. You don't want to be the most expensive receptionist in the office.

The above receptionist was actually Kristin Konopka, who was featured in a Wall Street Journal story. Konopka sent out nearly 100 résumés in January but only got one callback for a receptionist job.


She reworked her résumé and took off her master's degree and academic teaching experience, which led to three callbacks and two interviews after sending out 30 copies of her new resume. The dumbing down worked.

"It definitely picked up the interest," Konopka told the Journal. She said she realized quickly that people don't "want to hire anyone who is overqualified."

Here's a CNN video on dumbing down résumés:

Dropping a college degree, especially a master's or better, can help if employers are only looking for a bachelor's degree. It sounds odd, but it's mainly because they can pay less for lesser degrees, job seeker Nicholas Carroll wrote on his Web site.

Here are a few tips to dumb down your résumé without making it too obvious:

  • Fight age discrimination by not putting the year you graduated from college on your resume. Name the school and degree, but a graduation date may put off a younger boss.

  • Take off college degrees not needed for the job you're applying for, such as master's degrees and better.

  • Leave any work experience beyond 15 years off the résumé.

  • Leave off lofty titles. Instead of saying you last worked as a vice president of something, just say what department you were in.

  • Don't list your home address. This combats the problem of having a long commute.

  • Remove awards and accolades. Again, these only point out how overqualified you are and that you're likely to leave soon.

Remember that dumbing down a résumé is meant only for getting an immediate job and shouldn't be used for a long-term job that you want to grow in and make a career out of. There's a big difference between a job and a career.

Next: Top 10 Companies Hiring This Week >>

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