Ask an Expert: How Much Information is too Much?

scam Sometimes during a job search it can be difficult to determine what to tell and not tell a potential employer. Recently AOL Jobs received several questions from readers trying to figure out how much information to give a prospective employer. Here are two of them.

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I have been looking for a new job on and off for the last four years. I do not want my employer to catch wind of my searching for a new job, so how can I respond when asked if the new potential employer can contact my current employer? I have nothing to hide, but I am afraid if they find out I am looking for a job they will terminate me. I cannot afford that.

Many job seekers face a similar dilemma. They are looking for something better, but need to do so discreetly. Tell the company you are interviewing with that you are conducting a confidential search but if the company makes you an offer, you would be happy to have them contact your employer at that time. This way you protect yourself during the interview process without an employer becoming suspect that you may have something to hide.

I have my bachelor's degree in computer science, but I no longer wish to find a job relating to programming because I am not very experienced. I am just looking for any full-time job. Should I leave the computer degree out of my resume because they may feel I am overqualified or should I leave it in?

Having a college degree doesn't necessarily lead people to believe that you are overqualified for a position that does not require one. This is particularly true if the degree was earned several years ago. The less recent the degree, the less relevant it becomes in the hiring manager's decision making process. There is no reason to hide a college degree. Completion of a degree program can demonstrate your ability to complete tasks and solve problems. The ultimate factor for deciding if you are the right candidate for the open job will be how closely your background matches the skill set necessary to do the job.

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Barbara Safani

Barbara Safani


Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, has over fifteen years of experience in career management, recruiting, executive coaching, and organizational development.

Barbara partners with both Fortune 100 companies and individuals to deliver targeted programs focusing on resume development, job search strategies, networking, interviewing, salary negotiation skills, and online identity management.

She is the author of Happy About My Resume: 50 Tips For Building a Better Document to Secure a Brighter Future and #JOBSEARCHtweet and her award-winning resumes are featured in dozens of career-related publications.

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