Leaving degrees off of your resume

  • dangler12

    Posts: 14

    Nov 22, 2011 9:19 PM GMT
    I went for a job interview yesterday, and I told them that I had a master's degree, which I had omitted from my resume due to not getting responses from employers because of it. I have a few versions of my resume that contain my master's and that do not. I have gotten more responses from the ommitted degree resume. So, I stick with it because I have bills to pay. I gave them my resume that had my resume edited off and I didn't realize this. I didn't get offered the position. I feel this may have been the reason.

    So, am I basically a liar and this terrible person because I omitted my degree in order to land a job opportunity?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 22, 2011 9:31 PM GMT
    Do what you need to do to get a job...

    It's not required of you to list all of your achievements.

    It doesn't take a master's degree to figure that one out.
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    Nov 22, 2011 9:33 PM GMT
    I don't see why an employer would not hire you because you have a master's degree...maybe you're simply noticing a trend that isn't there? Or perhaps you are attributing the trend to the wrong cause.
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    Nov 22, 2011 9:34 PM GMT
    Cardinal724 saidI don't see why an employer would not hire you because you have a master's degree...maybe you're simply noticing a trend that isn't there? Or perhaps you are attributing the trend to the wrong cause.


    Or he is applying to jobs he is overqualified for...

    Employers want longevity - a person who is overqualified is a risk.
  • dangler12

    Posts: 14

    Nov 22, 2011 9:38 PM GMT
    I get more responses from the BA version rather than the MA. So, I started leaving off my advanced degree.

    Question is: is this dishonest? That's bothersome to me if it is, and I am already beyond suicidal. I am just living day-to-day right now. I don't need anymore negative things in my life. To be thought of as a liar would do me in. Especially if this employer is one that I will see again, and they view me as dishonest or unethical.
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    Nov 22, 2011 9:39 PM GMT
    Do what you need to do to get a job...

    It's not required of you to list all of your achievements.
  • carew28

    Posts: 661

    Nov 22, 2011 9:55 PM GMT
    I think it's sensible to have two resumes, one listing a Master's Degree, and the other listing only a Bachelor's. Submit the Master's Degree one for jobs where an advanced degree would be an asset, and submit the Bachelor's Degree one for jobs where having an advanced degree would look excessive.

    I worked in a blue-collar laboring job for 20 years. I included my B.A. Degree on my resume when I applied for promotions, but I didn't emphasize it, since I knew that it didn't make much difference to the people in charge of promotions. I did include it on resumes that I mailed out to other possible employers, though. It's funny, my present job of Teachers' Aide does require a college-degree, although the pay is minimum-wage.

    My brother has a B.A. Degree in English from the 1970's, but he's never worked in a career field where his degree was applicable. For the past 20 years he's done manual-labor , packing & shipping, factory jobs. He doesn't mention his degree on his job applications, it would only look peculiar to have a B.A., followed by 20 years of factory jobs.

    People need to do what's necessary to survive, and to work at whatever jobs are available until a better one comes along. Take pride in the fact that you persevered and earned an M.A., but be realistic about what job opportunities are available. Depending on what job you're applying for, it's a judgement call whether to mention your M.A. or not. It's not at all dishonest not to mention it, if it's not applicable to the job you're applying for.
  • dangler12

    Posts: 14

    Nov 22, 2011 9:59 PM GMT
    care, thank you.

    I didn't realize that I had submitted my resume with just my BA. And, I mentioned my MA just off-the-cuff. And, they didn't seem happy. He said to not do it the future as it raises red-flags. I told them that I was not recieving interviews because of the MA. Maybe in this case, I am viewed as being dishonest because I told them.
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    Nov 22, 2011 10:14 PM GMT
    I don't understand how someone can be overqualified...for anything. And to use it as a reason to pass someone over, I am mystified and bewildered.

    tumblr_lsw8hegE4N1r0zwlj.gif
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    Nov 22, 2011 10:24 PM GMT
    So basically, you did not get the job because of your own error of giving them the wrong resume? There is nothing wrong with omitting information on a resume if will not help you or may work against you, but when it is information that will help you, make sure you get it right.
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    Nov 22, 2011 10:24 PM GMT
    Well, always tailor your resume to the job that you're applying for. If it asks for a masters, then list your MA. If the requirement is only a BA, then don't. I do not think you're lying.

    What types of jobs are you applying for anyway? In my case, I am still a few credits away from my MBA and I proudly put it in my resume as it shows my hard work. If you have an MBA, you will be in front of the line versus someone with a B.Com or BBA (in Canada where I was from).

    Also, it's all about the experience. For me, I always get an interview because I list my work experience first and the education is second. I've been very lucky and thankful. I was recently relocated to the US midwest for a nice career. The company paid for my L1A and moving expenses which is about tens of thousands of dollars (sorry, I'm not taking any American jobs, OK?).


    carew28 saidI think it's sensible to have two resumes, one listing a Master's Degree, and the other listing only a Bachelor's. Submit the Master's Degree one for jobs where an advanced degree would be an asset, and submit the Bachelor's Degree one for jobs where having an advanced degree would look excessive.

    I worked in a blue-collar laboring job for 20 years. I included my B.A. Degree on my resume when I applied for promotions, but I didn't emphasize it, since I knew that it didn't make much difference to the people in charge of promotions. I did include it on resumes that I mailed out to other possible employers, though. It's funny, my present job of Teachers' Aide does require a college-degree, although the pay is minimum-wage.

    My brother has a B.A. Degree in English from the 1970's, but he's never worked in a career field where his degree was applicable. For the past 20 years he's done manual-labor , packing & shipping, factory jobs. He doesn't mention his degree on his job applications, it would only look peculiar to have a B.A., followed by 20 years of factory jobs.

    People need to do what's necessary to survive, and to work at whatever jobs are available until a better one comes along. Take pride in the fact that you persevered and earned an M.A., but be realistic about what job opportunities are available. Depending on what job you're applying for, it's a judgement call whether to mention your M.A. or not. It's not at all dishonest not to mention it, if it's not applicable to the job you're applying for.
  • dangler12

    Posts: 14

    Nov 22, 2011 10:37 PM GMT
    Surfer, wow awesome. Congrats on soon earning your MBA! That's hard work.

    I also list experience first. Then education.

    I'm just relieved removing degrees isn't a dishonest move.

    Thanks everyone!

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    Nov 22, 2011 10:40 PM GMT
    Thanks. You get more credibility at work if you have a masters. I wonder why having a masters in your case is a baggage? It's usually an asset.

    dangler12 saidSurfer, wow awesome. Congrats on soon earning your MBA! That's hard work.

    I also list experience first. Then education.

    I'm just relieved removing degrees isn't a dishonest move.

    Thanks everyone!

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    Nov 23, 2011 12:58 AM GMT
    It would seem to me that omitting a degree from your resume is not dishonest. Listing a degree which one does not have, however, is dishonest and fraudulent. You may not have been offered the position because your potential employer may have (i) misinterpreted your action to be manipulative, or (ii) perceived you to be careless. In any event, I wish you much luck with your search for employment.
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    Nov 23, 2011 4:40 AM GMT
    ThePenIsMyTier saidDo what you need to do to get a job...

    It's not required of you to list all of your achievements.


    Preach in large text size!
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    Nov 23, 2011 4:43 AM GMT
    I very often leave out pieces of info that I think someone is not interested in.. it depends entirely which job I am applying for... I will highlight the important info that is relevant and take out anything irrelevant.. adding all the random info will just make it look cluttered and it is a waste of an employer's time...

    Like why would a restaurant that Im a applying for care if I did a conference in boston at Harvard? They wanna see my experience in service, food, and tourism, which is already a page full... Conversely, if I am applying for a job at the government, I will put that in, and I may as well leave my restaurant experience out... so by all means, leave out what is not interesting...
  • BIG_N_TALL

    Posts: 2190

    Nov 23, 2011 4:47 AM GMT
    ThePenIsMyTier said
    Or he is applying to jobs he is overqualified for...

    Employers want longevity - a person who is overqualified is a risk.


    I have to agree. I did not believe it while I was an undergraduate when I had professor after professor tell me that they knew of people who intentionally left off their job applications that they had Master's degrees and even PhDs.

    Now that I'm in the "real world," as so many people love to say, I can understand why people leave off college degrees on employment applications and résumés. Most jobs I see that are open in the US do not require a college education, let alone an advanced degree.
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    Nov 23, 2011 4:52 AM GMT
    Depends on the job. I've omitted past job experiences and educational certificates because I felt that it was irrelevant to the position I was applying for. And after I get hired and they do a background check, I only provide the same information I did on my resume. Why? Because background check companies will only run checks on the information you provide. They won't dig further than what you give them. They don't have the time/money/resources to be that thorough. Their main purpose is to weed out the applicants that say they have a PHD and 20 years of experience, when in reality they only have a high school diploma and worked a few months at McDonalds. So unless you're applying for a government job or a high security job, feel free to omit some stuff.

    Of course, standard disclaimer.. Individual Results May Vary.
  • He_Man

    Posts: 906

    Nov 23, 2011 4:54 AM GMT
    This has happened to me before, and I have yet to get a master's degree. I was applying for a front desk manager's position at a local gym here, and the person conducting the interview said that because I have an associate's degree, a bachelor's degree and planning on getting my master's degree that I was overqualified. She said that the company was tired of hiring people that eventually move on to better jobs, so they were looking for someone that would not just get up and leave after six months or so. I was amazed that she told me that because I've never been turned down due to overqualification.

    Basically, what I've been doing now is just catering my resume based on the type of job I'm applying for. If it doesn't require a higher degree, then I don't put that degree on my resume. We don't put all of our previous experiences or jobs on a resume if they don't suit the job, so why put all of our education?
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    Jan 01, 2012 9:33 PM GMT
    Over my life, I've lost various opportunities for a job or the job itself because I was "overqualified", "didn't fit the company profile" (whatever in hell that was); "wasn't a 'team' player" (I refused to bring a woman to corporate functions because they said people were beginning to "suspect..."), etc. I also spent some 20 years at a job I pretty much hated but it paid the bills. (lousy reason overall) You're supposed to have a life as well.

    Do what you need to in order to keep yourself alive, and no, you're not a liar, anymore than is the company when they don't quite tell you all the downsides in the job description of the position they may have available. HOWEVER, I seriously suggest that there's been a paradigm shift in this country in the past ten years and most haven't gotten it yet. That is - employees can now expect to only be "kept" - (and I use that word in both senses) till they're in their mid-40's or so and then they can expect to be dumped for cheaper, younger employees either here or outsourced. That means forty more years of retirement or, more likely, thirty to forty years of trying to make it as a secondary employee at much less than you could barely make it on to start with. That's why I, personally, made a decision some nine years ago to never, ever have to depend on someone's largesse again. I retooled my self and now have my own business in a regulated industry (where folks in the office make anywhere from zero to more than a half million per year depending on what they do.) It's isn't always easy, but it's a lot better than feeling I have to come hat in hand when I'm on a job hunt. I'm also expanding now to other states.

    Good luck and if you actually see this post, since it's two months late: Happy New Year. icon_cool.gif
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    Jan 01, 2012 9:39 PM GMT
    Cardinal724 saidI don't see why an employer would not hire you because you have a master's degree...maybe you're simply noticing a trend that isn't there? Or perhaps you are attributing the trend to the wrong cause.


    This has happened to me.

    While I was getting my MBA online - I worked full-time as basically a secretary. When I completed my degree - I applied for jobs that required a bachelor's degree and was told that I was overqualified because I had an MBA. When I applied for jobs that required an MBA - they wanted to know why I was a secretary and where was my experience at an MBA level. - It took forever to work my way out of that.

    However, I don't think you should omit the degree on your resume. Employers may week you out because they think that your education is either intimidating cause it's higher than theirs or because you will be jumping ship as soon as you can find a job at your level. - I would make some sort of statement in your Objective at the top of your resume - and in your coverletter to help diffuse it.

    Also, you might shift your resume to a Functional Resume instead of a chornological one - if you haven't already. Move your education to the end of the resume instead of the top to help de-emphasize it.

    Use your resume and coverletter to highlight what you can offer the company - in a very positive way. It's a very tough job market, but I am sure the right job will come along.

    BTW - I am a business instructor - so I have to keep up with this stuff for use in my classes. This is the current advice from job placement resources. - The rules differ, though with each business and what part of the country you are. It's very subjective.

    Best of luck to you.

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    Jan 01, 2012 9:42 PM GMT
    xrichx said... So unless you're applying for a government job or a high security job, feel free to omit some stuff.

    Of course, standard disclaimer.. Individual Results May Vary.

    That's a good point. If you were applying for a position that required a background check, then any material omission would be significant. But in those cases, omissions from a resume wouldn't matter. There would be forms to fill out that would specifically ask about everything for the past X years - education, jobs, residences.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Jan 01, 2012 9:42 PM GMT
    I certainly would include your complete education on resumes, whether it pertains to the job in question or not. You worked hard for your degree,
    it makes no sense to leave it off.... and if someone declines to offer you a job, it says more about them than you. I don't see the problem... if they offer you a job and stipulate the salary, you will either accept or decline, depending on your situation, not your degrees.
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    Jan 01, 2012 10:01 PM GMT
    if you get better results without it don´t mention it. You don´t have to tell people everything in every conversation.

    that said, a job which only uses half your capability is unlikely to be your life long career.
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    Jan 02, 2012 7:45 AM GMT
    It definitely makes sense to have multiple resumes and tailored to the job for which you are applying. Having hired may people over the years (in the technology arena), graduate degrees at times were not a plus. Especially if the individual did not have the years of experience to balance the education. There was always the concern that the position I was hire for would simply be a stepping stone to move on. Additionally, more often then not, we created entry or mid level positions in order to control salary costs. Advanced degree candidates were often viewed as over qualified for such positions. Advanced degrees were less of an issue if the candidate had sufficient work history to demonstrate stability and commitment to a position, and also had knowledge of the specific technologies my position required. That said, I would leave it off it you don't have the work history or if the position for which you are applying is not senior level.