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Should You 'Dumb Down' Your Resume to Get a New Job?

Imagine yourself in this situation: You're an experienced professional in your late 50s whose background includes high-level managerial positions over the last 10 years. One day, you find yourself laid off. You begin to look for another job, but you can't seem to land an interview in spite of your best efforts. They just don't want someone with your extensive experience.

So, you realize you may need to take a step or two down the career ladder. And, with less than a decade to retirement, maybe you don't even want another top-level position.

Then, you wonder if you're not getting anywhere because you're "overqualified." So, do you  downplay your high-level experience? Maybe rewrite your resume by changing those "Manager" titles to "Supervisor" and eliminating words like "Senior" or "Executive." "Ahhh!" you think. "This can improve my chances!"

Or can it?

The practice is called dumbing down your resume. Since a resume is all about marketing your skills and experience to land a job interview, dumbing down the extensive experience in your resume might help you over that important hurdle. But at the same time, it could expose you to accusations of not being honest and forthright about your work history.

Let's look at how someone might dumb down a resume:

ORIGINAL VERSION

   ABC Company; Anywhere, USA                 2006-2009
   Senior Accounting Manager

  • Oversaw day-to-day accounting operations of $500 million consumer products goods manufacturer
  • Supervised team of accountants that grew from 8 to 12
  • Led process re-engineering effort that resulted in 35% faster cash-to-bank, 20% faster time-to-bill, and 15% improvement in revenue collection
  • Established daily cash balance monitoring to ensure adequate cash flow for operating and capital expenses

DUMBED-DOWN VERSION

   ABC Company; Anywhere, USA                  2006-2009
   Accounting Supervisor

  • Supervised accounting function for $500 million consumer products goods manufacturer
  • Collaborated in process re-engineering effort that resulted in 35% faster cash-to-bank, 20% faster time-to-bill, and 15% improvement in revenue collection
  • Established daily cash balance monitoring to ensure adequate cash flow

You're not being dishonest in the second example. In fact, you're telling the truth, just not the whole truth. By editing the parts of the job description that are not relevant to the position you're seeking, you're marketing yourself better for a job at a company that might be scared by the word "senior" or "manager" in your job title. If you really need a job as quickly as possible, you might be compelled to take this approach.

The question is: Should you?

There are many views on this topic in the blogosphere, both pro and con. But let's hear your views on the issue. Leave a comment below, and please take our poll that's attached with this post.


 

 


RELATED LINKS

Resume Writing Basics: Building Blocks of a Good Resume
Thoughts on Truth, Truthiness, and Lying on a Resume
No Bites on Your Resume? Check These 5 Things

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