General Question

chelle21689's avatar

Should I “downplay” my resume for entry level jobs?

Asked by chelle21689 (7773points) November 16th, 2020 from iPhone

Still unemployed after 3 months, applying to almost 200 positions, about 12 phone screens/interviews. I have severance until January and then unemployment kicks in. I also have my husband to provide so we would be okay financially but be very mindful of spending.

I am starting to get desperate and apply for entry level jobs but I just get denied. I even applied for customer service positions that only require a HS diploma. Should I remove my education and lower my tasks in my previous roles?

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25 Answers

LadyMarissa's avatar

Falsifying a resume is cause for dismissal. Are you really willing to risk losing the only job that would hire you??? Be HONEST on your resume until the right position comes along!!!

gorillapaws's avatar

Don’t lie, but you can certainly omit/downplay some of your accomplishments.

I would never hire someone who was overqualified for a position. They’re always going to be in a perpetual state of feeling like the work they’re doing is beneath them, likely unhappy and also always looking for a better opportunity. No thanks. I’d rather hire someone who is under qualified but passionate, capable of rising to the challenges and grateful that you took a chance on them.

Zaku's avatar

I don’t think omitting things on a resume counts as a lie. Resumes omit many things, and should focus on what’s relevant to the job. If you actually want an entry-level customer service job, you could just put what’s relevant, and yes, I would recommend avoiding communicating anything that suggests to them you are over-qualified and would rather be doing something else.

I once applied to such a job, and was honest that I’d rather be making computer games, and that changed the interview from a positive one to a “no thanks – we think you’ll quit after a while”.

That department laid off much of its staff a few years later. I see zero moral dilemma in omitting education, work history, or preference to do other things, unless it’s some small company you’d be materially hurting somehow.

JLeslie's avatar

Don’t remove your education.

Do downplay your experience.

You can put at the top a Summary of Qualifications, and bullet your skills that fit the job you’re applying for. Maybe it’s admin level stuff, Microsoft office, scheduling meeting, strong organizational skills, etc. I don’t know what jobs you’re applying for, I’m just giving examples.

Then list your jobs chronologically with minimal description of your responsibilities at each job.

Have you tried applying to a temp agency? Try Randstad, Manpower, there are others, I don’t know what’s in your location. Call ahead and make sure the location hires for your skill set. Sometimes they have one location handle industrial type jobs and another location handle office work, etc. Actually, with covid they probably don’t take walk-ins anyway.

If you get a temp to perm job that might work out well for you. If you get just a few days here a few weeks there you can still interview other places.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have been so tempted to do the same thing. If you do it please let us know how it goes.

Dutchess_III's avatar

And I wouldn’t worry too much about being dismissed for omitting things. You’re far more likely to be dismissed for claiming experience or training or education that you dont have.

jca2's avatar

I think it would be very odd to omit your secondary education.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Dutchess_III Is exactly right. You won’t get fired for downplaying your resume. Like I said above, when I hire for a position, I don’t want to invest the energy in training someone who is “settling” for the position and always looking for a better opportunity elsewhere. If I’ve already hired that person without realizing they were overqualified, committed the time/energy to train them, then I’m not going to fire them because I found out they were actually much more capable than they let on…

chelle21689's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, I’ve had recruiters from different temp agencies contact me and say they have a great job for my fit only to never hear back

Dutchess_III's avatar

@jca2 But what if your secondary education is the reason you aren’t getting interviews or offers, and you really need that job?

JLeslie's avatar

@chelle21689 Not recruiters. I’m talking about a temp agency that you go to, and you will likely be getting just temporary work that is well below your skill set, but if you need something (anything) right now to bridge your time until you get your preferred job it’s an option. Sometimes the temp jobs grow into a better job in the same company, but don’t necessarily count on that.

If you are getting unemployment, in most states you can extend your unemployment if you are making some money. I can explain that more if you want. You said you are on severance, so once that runs off you’ll be in unemployment I assume.

I downplayed skills on my resume to get jobs and it absolutely worked, but let me say all of those jobs I also met the people face to face, dressed professionally, I wasn’t only in a pile of resumes. It’s more like emphasizing the skills needed for a specific job. I’ve done it directly with companies to and through Temp Agencies.

If you take a temp job then when you apply for a “real” job you can explain it away easily as temp work while you looked for a job or temp work because you needed flexibility for a few months, whatever you think is best, or leave it off your resume.

JLeslie's avatar

Tertiary education. Secondary is high school.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Dutchess_III's avatar

@JLeslie is correct. Secondary education is basically 6th grade on through high school.
I have been tempted to downplay my tertiary education.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I have a friend that has a Human Resources agency. He posts on FB at least once a month the number of open positions both temp and perm. Go to a temp agent.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Temp is good. It quite often works into permanent.

chelle21689's avatar

Thanks all. I have been approached by a couple of temp agencies already but then got ghosted. I’ll apply for a couple others like Dawson and Aerotek.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I would mot downplay my resume for Aerotek…

gorillapaws's avatar

@Dutchess_III “I would mot downplay my resume for Aerotek…”

I completely agree with this. It’s one thing if you’re applying for jobs you’re overqualified for, it’s very different if there’s an agency that’s able to place you in a position that takes full advantage of your qualifications.

JLeslie's avatar

Talk to a person at the temp company and say you are willing to work at a lower level can you submit two resumes. Label the file in an obvious way like Lastname HR Admin or Lastname Executive Admin or Lastname HR Generalist or Lastname HR Management. For some reason I think you worked in HR, I might remember wrong.

Recruiters make money when they place you, and they care that you will last a year if it is a permanent placement, because sometimes outside recruiters have to replace a candidate for free if they don’t last. If it is temp work that is not an issue.

Dutchess_III's avatar

YOU CAN’T TELL THEM WHAT YOU’RE DOING!! That will completely mess you up from the get go and you will not be hired.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III I mean the temp agency. You’re right when it’s directly with a company. They will see the candidate as desperate and scattered.

Goldenfish's avatar

IF you unemployed for months or more here what you do, you don’t put that down people won’t hire you simply. You be rejected. You want put down hobbies. Skill set, if you dropped from company or never worked before.
Don’t forget to put person that can vouch for your skills and recommendation letter of your current skills. <- pandemic tips

What your resume should look like this day and age:

For me well I missing learning to drive and have that ability in play, but also have money to be financial stable to go school. Currently if I had more skills I probably would have no issue to apply for work.

chelle21689's avatar

@Goldenfish funny I’ve read that first link before. My resume actually looks similar to the second link as well. I’ve been getting interviews but it’s nailing it after the final round or phone screenings.

Funny it mentioned about keeping safe during in person interviews. I had a feeling I didn’t want to work for this one company when they didn’t want to do a video interview, asked for my SSN (it was a bank), and the lady kept asking me stupid questions like “What else should I know?” And after responding she would ask “Awesome, anything else I should know?” Did I mention she wanted to take off masks? I said I would rather not and I think that kind of set the tone. I never heard back lol. Some people were walking around with no mask either.

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