Downplay the Resume?

Harrison graduated December 2010. He's being told he's overqualified for a lot of positions. Should he create a second résumé without the college degree listed?

QUESTION: Harrison in Nashville graduated with a degree in audio in December 2010. He’s having a lot of trouble finding a job now even though he’s willing to do whatever he needs to. He’s being told he’s overqualified for a lot of positions. Should he create a second résumé without the college degree listed?

ANSWER: A good way to answer all ethics questions is to ask how you’d want to be treated if you were on the other side of that desk. I can tell you that if you came in and purposefully lied to me in order to get a job, when I found it, I would fire your butt.

There are some employers who would appreciate your attitude that says, “I’m willing to do anything,” before you got to that part. “Give me a shot, and I’ll make myself so valuable!” I’ve got a young man on my team right now who is dying to be in our social media department. We have a big social media thing that we do. He’s dying to move from what he does, which has nothing to do with social media, to that department. We know that. We just don’t have room for him right now. We don’t have a need for it today. But he’s really pretty good. You know how I know he’s pretty good? He keeps helping even though he’s not being paid for it just to prove he’s worth it. But he’s over there in the other area, so to speak, scrubbing toilets. (He’s not scrubbing toilets, but he’s doing stuff that’s not social media.)

I think there are places that would like that attitude if it was on the table face up—not, “I’m going to lie to you and work here just to get money until I find a good job.” I think it’s just how you approach it, and I think it’s perfectly okay to have your résumé be built to each job interview because a résumé is a presentation. By the way, you’re well aware résumés seldom get anybody hired.

I would rather you work for less money or go to work for a video company doing something other than video at a lesser thing and say, “Guys, I’ll just do anything just to get my foot in the door because I’ll prove myself. I’ll work extra and help you do the heavy lifting over here on this other stuff, and you’re going to be glad you got me in the building.” Those kinds of can-do attitudes and the shoulders are thrown back, the spine straight, and there’s a smile involved—those are the people companies like mine want involved.