Just another WordPress.com weblog

Dumb it down? Good advice or not?

on January 26, 2011

I got in to this conversation again recently and I wonder what you think about it.  As a job transition and career coach I talk a lot about resumes.  Content, format, key words, results, accomplishments and what’s going to get someone hired?  What I find is that when it comes to resumes everyone has an opinion (shocking). 

 A while back a conversation started about advice someone had been given to “dumb down” their resume so they would be more likely to get hired.  Now I know that you don’t know me very well yet.  I’ve only posted a couple of times on this blog.   However I can say that based on the title of the blog you can safely assume that I personally think that’s bad advice.  In fact I think it’s insane. 

Call me crazy, but I don’t think that if you spent your life and career earning an MBA, a Project Management Certification, a Vice Presidency in your company or anything akin to one of those that you should “apologize” for it.  Since when was the competition won by the mediocre?  Me?   I never wanted to work for a company that thought that mediocrity was OK.  Do you want to? If so I’m curious as to why?

How will either of us begin to reach our potential if  we are surrounded by people even less experienced, less driven,  less intelligent, less competent, etc. than we are?  And I know for sure that I don’t want a boss who is any of those things.  If someone is threatened by my drive, ability, knowledge or credentials then I don’t want to work for them anyway. They can’t get me to where I need to be.  I know we have to start somewhere but I’m assuming we’ve already done all that stuff.  I’m talking very accomplished, professional level people here.

It makes me sad to think that somehow some people  have been convinced that be being apologetic about what they’ve done, to the point of hiding it, covering it up, not bringing it up or whatever, is a path to success.  It might be the path to a J-O-B but these are people who are used to real careers. 

I think it takes a certain moxie to let yourself shine and since your accomplishments are real, I say “why not shine?”  What say you?  And please know that I am talking about confidence in your accomplishments because you have been gifted with the ability to achieve them.  Not arrogance or pride that is boastful.


2 responses to “Dumb it down? Good advice or not?

  1. Steve says:


    On occasion I have been at a customers office and to be frank I am surprised they are in the lead position that they are. I can see people like this being nervous about hiring someone that is probably better qualified than they are. I have heard this from friends that have interviewed as well, but of course you have no way of knowing that when applying. That is about the only reason I could see someone wanting to dumb down their resume. Otherwise, Ive always learned to cater the resume to the position you are applying for (do not put purchasing on there if it isnt relevant). I dont really consider that dumbing it down nor would I consider “sand bagging” myself.

    • ginaherald says:

      Thanks for commenting Steve and for sharing your experience. I agree that leaving off “non-relevant” experience wouldn’t be considered dumbing it down. That to me is just choosing not to include something that’s not focused on the job you are targeting. Of course if it’s a recent job it’s pretty hard to leave the entire thing off if it’s going to create a gap in your resume. I am referring to actually leaving off an MBA or a Vice-President title in order to not look too accomplished. I love the “sand bagging” terminology.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: