“Dumbing Down” to Land a Job?


In the past three months, the topic of unemployment here on this blog has generated interest and information.  From unemployment and homeless to how the employed and Congress “view” the unemployed, the issue of unemployment isn’t going away by a snap of the finger.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, people who are unemployed do not want to be unemployed and are doing everything to find a job. Unemployment benefits are a short term solution for the time being.

Debra Rousey, courtesy of NPR.

National Public Radio (NPR) interviewed one such person several weeks ago.  Debra Rousey was an assistant bank manager before being let go last November.  She would rather be receiving a regular paycheck and not unemployment benefits.  One quote struck out as something that unemployeds are conflicted with.

She says she applies for jobs daily online, but part of the problem may be her resume. “When my resume hits a company, they look at my qualifications and think I am going to want a lot whole more.”

Rousey’s been advised to dumb down her resume, but she fears that might make her look unqualified for the kind of job she prefers. “It’s kind of a catch-22 situation,” she says. “Do I dummy it down so that I’m not overqualified, or do I keep all the information in there so I can get what I should be getting?”

Should people with a wealth of experience and skill “dumb down” their resume for fear that employers may assume they want the same salary or more?  How does it feel to be told to pare down your resume and cut out what you are strong just to land a job?

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Joe Burklund says:

    Use the cover letter to point out how your skills, that may look over qualified, can be an asset to the company. Since each resume should be tailored for each position, it may not be “dumbing down” your skills, but highlighting your applicable strengths for that position. How you say things are important. Wordsmith the areas that you think need to be dumbed down so they are not as impressive. Rather than saying you are working on a PHD, say you are pursuing additional education.

  2. I think that it’s perfectly acceptable to “dumb down” a resume as long as you’re forthright with an employer in an interview about your true experience. Whatever you have to do to get a job, it’s worth that extra effort to make that happen.

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