Dumber than dirt

Published on Sep 22, 2021 by Matt Bud, The FENG
Resume Writing

There is a lot of poor thinking going on out in the world about how to be considered for jobs that are a step or two back in your career.

The thinking seems to be that you have to dumb down your resume. I agree. I just don’t agree that deleting work history from earlier in your career or leaving off dates is the suggested approach.

The constant challenge for most members of this august body is that we are over qualified (or should I say well qualified) for most jobs. After 20+ years of work experience, how could you not be?

The approach to appearing “dumber than dirt” or “as dumb as a box of rocks” isn’t to make your resume inconsistent.

When pursuing jobs at your level or above, the exalted duties you performed should be given their just heavenly descriptions. However, not appearing to have ever gotten your hands dirty isn’t going to get you a job at a lower level.

While I don’t approve of changing your earlier job titles, if they didn’t properly reflect your true job responsibilities you might want to consider providing an alternate title or job description in parenthesis after the one you were awarded. By the way, this is a good idea if it understates your responsibilities as well.

Most of our members tend to move from large companies to smaller ones. What smaller companies are looking for are folks who CAN be hands on. If you have been at your search any length of time or have done some consulting, chances are you are more hands on than you used to be.

To be competitive in today’s market, you might want to reread your resume with this thought in mind. While engaging in a little puffery might be the expectation on the other side of the table, you don’t have to do it. Or, you can at least modify your list of achievements under your most recent jobs to include things that appear to be more hands on.

The comment “you are over qualified” is sort of a throw away line. My suggestion is to look them straight in the eye and say “I’m really not as competent as you think I am.” After they burst out laughing, you can tell them you are only kidding.

Proving your interest in doing work that you did earlier in your career is a tough sell. Sometimes it is just as hard to sell yourself as it is a potential employer. We are so used to selling up into potential jobs that even the thought of doing otherwise is hard to deal with.

Don’t be dumber than dirt. Know that this is the question that is hanging out there and find creative ways of dealing with it in your resume and in your in person interviewing.

Working is what is important. Whatever you have to do to get there is worth it. (By the way, lying and cheating isn’t permitted and generally isn’t viewed as good characteristics for a financial officer at any level.)

Regards, Matt