You want me smarter or dumber?
I’ve started thinking about the idea regarding dumbing one’s resume down. The idea behind this is for an individual to have a resume that employers wouldn’t see as being over qualified. I already have a personal pet peeve with the statement, “over qualified”. In my opinion, when I hear “over qualified” I immediately want to respond, “Then that means I am more than capable of handling the tasks of this position, so what’s the problem?” It is a poor, subjective reason to justify overlooking or deciding against an applicant, while providing no real reason for the decision. If I want to take and/or apply for a position that is a step or two lower then my skill set, shouldn’t that be my prerogative? And if it is, then why would anyone not consider someone simply on the basis of being more qualified for the position? I’m aware that many companies and hiring managers seem to have this belief that if they hire someone that is over qualified, then that means the individual is only using the job as a filler until they find another opportunity that is more complementary of their skill set. There’s also the second idea that the company believes they will have to pay more for the individual, but isn’t that part of what salary negotiating is about? I understand this line of thinking, but I also understand that it is not true in every case. When I apply for a position that I may be somewhat over qualified for, I’m actually looking at it as an opportunity to learn more in a specific area that the position addresses and use it as a means to enter a company to grow within. Isn’t this a fundamental idea behind career development and growth within a company?
When I look at my resume, I do not see how it is over qualified for any of the positions that I’ve applied for, but I have a heard a number of times now that this is the case. This has now led me to reconsider the content that is contained in my resume. The sad thing is that no one should actually have to consider revising their resume when it is correct in its representation and accurate with regard to their professional experience, and applicable for the job that they are applying to. This isn’t a stance against tailoring your resume so it more aptly reflects the job you’re pursuing, but simply the aspect of taking information from it or altering it in such a way that it makes you appear less qualified then you really are. It also seems to suggest a bit of a contradiction as to what employers really want. If it’s true that they want someone that is intelligent, capable, sound, driven, knowledgeable and experienced; then isn’t the idea surrounding dumbing one’s resume down a conflict in principle? And why should someone have to present themselves in a false manner in an effort to underplay their skill set, for an employer that is claiming to be looking for the best and brightest? Is it that they want the best and brightest liars?
I do not believe that anyone should have to under represent themselves in order to achieve what they are seeking, yet, I understand why people do it. I understand why people feel like they have to do it. It’s something that I am now grappling with and I don’t like it. I don’t want to under represent myself. I simply want a fair chance for what I am seeking. When people have been employed and have lied about their experience and certifications to gain the employment, only to be found out later to be fraudulent, they’re usually promptly fired, regardless of how well they may have performed the duties associated with their position. However, companies do not seem to have a problem with doing this exact same thing, but in reverse. If a person applies for a job and claims to have a masters degree and 15 years of experience, when they really only have an associates degree and 3 years of experience; while another person who may have a masters degree and 20 years of experience, but under represents their qualifications, then what really is the difference? Personally, I don’t believe there is anything different between someone who under represents and a person who over represents their self, because in both instances it’s a matter of spinning around the issue. I wonder if companies simply want to buy into the idea that applicants appear less qualified, while hoping that they are able to bring more to the table. Again, this is pure hypocrisy. If you want someone with more to offer then get the person who is offering more, rather then someone who feels forced into lowering their skill set in an effort to meet a level of standards that are not even being upheld. Standards. That’s what this is all about. Given all of this, I’m now at a conundrum where I either continue with my resume as it is and maintain my principals or “dumb it down”. It’s a decision that I am not happy with having to face, but the real decision that companies need to face is: Do you want your applicants smarter or dumber?
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