How to Dumb Down Your Resume

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.

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Karin Lindner

That's just simple craziness and to give people advice in an article how to do it is even crazier. Are you kidding me? We send every child to university and then they have to "hide" their degrees? Is there something wrong with our system? All I can say..... Never stop being yourself for someone else. It take 2 to tango. Right? We have to start working on building people's confidence level and not giving them clearly bad advice.

My only question as response to this article would be.... WHY on god's earth would anyone want to work as a receptionist with a masters degree?

February 06 2013 at 9:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Karin Lindner's comment
Terrence Brann

Um, to keep from losing their home?

October 01 2013 at 11:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Debra

Yes this is age discrimination and its ok by us stanadrds. I guess employers want the goof with the tatoos and takele box faces who spend their time texting and surfing the web or on thier cell phones because thats what they do. How much money do these people cost a company? Companies who pay people to goof off all day. The over fifty people know how to work...work. The problem is the hr people who think they know it all. Managers who are promoted because they sucked and dont want someone that knows more and has a better work ethic than they do. They know the over fifty crowd will make them look bad, because they are bad. How many of us have worked for these dumb jerks? Man companies are stupid paying dumb f##ks to do jack all day. But they are your judge and jury. Companies/hr need to get real.

June 15 2010 at 9:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Elena

How sad that we encouraged our children to better themselves with further education to achieve higher career goals. Now what incentive do we offer them for this hard work. For myself I find myself overqualified or just plain overlooked at 44 and several years ahead of me before retirement age. I have to learn how to dumb down my resume to be employed again. This is rediculous! Mr. Obama are you reading this!

January 04 2010 at 6:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
muffin311

My problems are over 60 and past employer honestly has mental problems. He gives negative unfounded, untruthful replies on reference requests. I have been dropped from 6 potential positions because of him and have no recourse!

December 27 2009 at 10:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
muffin311

My problems are over 60 and past employer has mental problems. He gives negative unfounded, untruthful replies on reference requests. U have been dropped from 6 potential positions because of him and have no recourse!

December 27 2009 at 10:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
AL

What does one do when they have been let go from a company w/a less then stellar reputation, which is well known through out the industry as well as being in the press. I believe this "black cloud" is the cause of 99% of the thanks but no thanks replys. I will be returning to school for advanced classes but still do not see the cloud ever disappearing.

December 15 2009 at 9:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Louise

Mary, you are welcome. Keep your head up. God will not let us fail despite what we think. I will keep you and your husband in prayer. I understand where you are coming from. I am a recent MBA graduate (May)with 20+ years of Executive Administration, laid off 3 years ago, went through all my 401K and now owe the Federal & State government, foreclosure, bankruptcy, high blood pressure, borderline diabete, etc. But, the one thing I do have, is I love Jesus. He is going to bring us through this. Keep your head up. Pharoah (Satan) let my people GO!!!

November 19 2009 at 5:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
TONY

Like Lou points out; this is the time find a Service Job; serving in the the Army of God, that is.

It's almost "that time...." and I mean about 17 months to go & the only thing that'll matter is what we've done with our lives, or what we're going to do the next 17 months to find mercy from God. THERE IS A GOOD REASON THAT THE ENTIRE WORLD IS SUFFERING THE SAME PAIN AT THE SAME TIME people, and this is God's mercy to get our attention for the final time of our "sore travail".

If we do what LOT did, (Soddom & Gommorah) and RUN "to the Mountain of God" (the gospel) and remain there "faithfully", not only will it "be well with our soul" but indeed, God will provide for our daily need; including the revelation of what this "strange thing" is that I'm speaking of here....

Funny how "The Church" and the "stargazing predicters" who TRUST the Mayans or Nostrodamus, consider that December 21st, 2012 is when a great "change" will occur, but our Lord of Truth, tells us EXACTLY, (in coded language that ONLY the remnant can recieve) that May 21st, 2011, (when "they" least expect it) then SUDDEN DESTRUCTION COMETH UPON THEM !

This is the time to GET OUT of ALL church, (faithful or not) for God's spirit no longer operates in the formal service observation, and to "come together in fellowship of the gospel" ONLY;... or find ourselves hearing Christ declare;

Matt. 21:7

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

THESE ARE CHURCH PEOPLE THAT CHRIST IS ADDRESSING !!!

November 19 2009 at 2:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to TONY's comment
Jenn

If only it were Jesus who was interviewing me.

April 23 2010 at 2:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RNEU



Don't list your college info is fine,but then many ask what year you graduated from high school or want a copy of your drivers liscense. Those requests should be as iliegal as age discremination. If anyone thinks age is not at least 60% discremination there crazy. The over 50 group is the new black group of unemployment!

November 19 2009 at 12:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to RNEU's comment
Paula

Over fifty is the "New Black"! That's good- Thanks for the laugh!

November 21 2009 at 2:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
linda

I am 61 an having to go back to work as s.s is not enough to make ends meet anymore an too with no cost of living raise this year does not help , its bad when seniors have to make to with what little they get an the presd seats up there spending our money for helath insr we do not want an sending our money to other countries an kisses there ass to o. this is how i feel about it this country was build on under god we trust an it seems to me they are forgetting this an throwing it down the drain , an we have to put up with it, while other countried get worthy we go into the bankrup .

November 19 2009 at 12:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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