With more mid- to senior-level professionals finding it difficult to land positions that align with their education and career achievements, many are applying for entry-level or lower-ranking positions just to make ends meet. Time and time again, job seekers ask, “Should I include my master’s degree on my resume?” or “Should I put that I was a manager?” The fear is that employers will think that they’re overqualified, and as a result, offer the position to someone with fewer qualifications. My response to this act of desperation: Never.
Though you may have to take positions that you may be overqualified for, you don’t want it to be at the expense of omitting your accomplishments. Today’s employers recognize the nature of the current climate, and understand that it’s completely normal for someone with many years of experience to apply for a position they might not have previously considered, given their level of knowledge or experience. Here are the top three reasons it’s important to never omit qualifications:
Leaving off qualifications makes you less marketable: If you remove your graduate degree from your resume, or change a managerial role to a regular staff position, you have now made yourself just like everyone else. If there are 100 applicants and they all have bachelor’s degrees, how does that increase your chances of being selected? It doesn’t. Higher education and career accomplishments always make you more marketable and increase your chances of success. Once you’re in the interview, you can explain why you’re interested in a lower-level position. But you have to get in the door first.
Omission can be viewed as lying: There’s nothing that employers dislike more than dishonest candidates. Though you might not have had bad intentions when you omitted that graduate degree or supervisory position, hiring professionals may view your omissions as intentional deceit. If employers find out that you have qualifications you didn’t share, they may begin to question your trustworthiness. It’s always best to be completely honest at the onset so you won’t have to worry about running into a classmate from graduate school or one of your former employees, and having them blow your cover. Lies are too hard to maintain. Be honest.
Your added qualifications may come in handy later: Though a position may be entry-level or have a starting salary much less than what you’re used to, your higher qualifications could lead to greater opportunities with the employer.
It’s also important to include your qualifications in the event that a new position becomes available, such as a managerial or supervisory role. If you omitted your managerial experience when you first applied, the employer is likely not going to consider you for the position. Oftentimes, overqualified professionals go into an interview for one position, but end up being offered something more challenging and more rewarding. You don’t want to miss out on these potential opportunities just because you omitted your qualifications.
Dumbing down your resume isn’t the answer to combating a tough job market. Be more diligent, creative, and diverse in your approach. Your qualifications and accomplishments can only make the journey a little easier. Don’t leave out the most important assets that you have in reaching your career goals.
Aisha Taylor (@realTAYLORmade) is co-owner and chief consultant at TAYLORmade Professional Career Consulting, a Web-based, full-service career consulting company committed to “equipping, preparing, and empowering today’s professional” globally. Check out her weekly insights on job-seeking and interviewing success every Friday on BlackEnterprise.com.