======= Date Modified 15 Jun 2012 08:21:07 =======
Hi again folks,
As I said a while back, I've been making an effort to reduce my activity online not just here, but elsewhere. Note with the below post, I'm not looking for advice or help, just looking to create a discussion. PhD and job hunting for me were some time ago, however, job hunting will be something we will all face at some point after PhD.
There's been this discussion been going on in Linkedin for quite some time that may be of interest to posters on this forum on the subject of whether or not to remove your PhD from your CV or Resume to find work.
I'll comment that in the past I have suggested people remove their PhD for lower grade jobs, simply so they're not on the dole. However, this mainly American audience see this dishonest and in some cases have actually called it fraud. There's a theme of they've worked hard for it and if they have to remove it to obtain a job, it's not a job worth applying for or that they want, even if it means waiting longer for a job. It appears also that American employers see things the same way and they would consider removal as dishonesty.
There's also been instances of the opposite been suggested, such as by the INEM (Spanish National Agency for Unemployed People???) who have advised people to remove them to find work.
Recently, a poster on here was told by UK Job Centre staff to remove 'Dr.' from his CV.
I myself have encountered a situation where hiding a PhD was understood by some interviewers as a perceived necessity to finding employment and have been advised to have a dumbed down CV without the PhD (disguised as a 'Research Associate' or 'Research Assistant' post) simply to get myself off the dole a few years ago.
However, with PhDs now increasingly being listed on electronic University repositories and on the likes of Ethos (even if you say you don't want it on, a record of it is still made in the searchable Ethos database), is hiding it now really possible? Is still including it, but putting it further down the CV and concentrating on skills the way to go?
Note here that the situation I'm discussing is simply getting off benefits into a job, whilst possibly using a full CV with PhD to look for something we want to do. Or perhaps academia is not for you and in your chosen career, a PhD is turning into a hinderance rather than a help (i.e. overqualified).
I open the discussion to the forum!!!
I worked in a background checking and pre-employment screening company in North America and one of the areas we covered was education verifications. This involves contacting the universities listed and finding out if their qualifications are listed accurately. Even though normally this is to catch people who are claiming degrees they never received, if you uncovered the opposite - that someone had received a degree and not listed it - it would still raise a red flag. It does come down to misrepresenting yourself, but I doubt an employer would hold it against you assuming they were interested enough in you to pay for the check to be done.
It's a sad state of affairs, but I doubt I would remove it (if I do manage to get one!) except for unskilled labour. But if people seeking work in industry have found this helps then maybe it is the way to go.
There is a lot more done these days in the way of background checks, even for "lower grade jobs" - especially "gaps in the CV" and verifying what people were doing (as Lughna points out, it's usually to catch out those claiming to have done things they haven't, but also the opposite where people are trying to deliberately hide things). After all a PhD is a big chunk of time in someone's life so it's going to make for a glaring omission in a CV unless you had other jobs at the time to cover the period.
It's hard enough getting a job, true, but it would be even harder to have a job snatched away from you because you misrepresented yourself on your CV. Some employers probably wouldn't care, which is fine, but companies are getting more careful about who they employ. Even just a simple google check on your name may throw up your department webpage for your PhD (mine still does several years later).
======= Date Modified 16 Jun 2012 23:52:16 =======
I have to confess that I've "dumbed down" my CV in the past, in order to get entry level and seasonal jobs while in undergraduate and graduate school, removing my Masters degree or even my BA. My rationale, at the time, was that I was tailoring the CV to reflect my skills and experiences relevant to the job, and nothing more. I just figured the employer wasn't interested in superfluous information. I didn't consider that lying, but I can understand why some people might see it that way.
I would imagine that one way forward is trying to tailor the skills gained in a PhD to the employer's need rather than trying to hide the PhD. For a purely hypothetical example, if I had a PhD in Nuclear Physics and wanted to apply for a job as a regional manager for a small firm, my strategy would be to only mention that I gained a PhD, what University it was from, and what year. I wouldn't list the title or subject on the CV, perhaps not even the department, and underneath would create a heading along the lines of "relevant skills: time management, self-motivation, coordination of large project, working to deadlines, public speaking, and database maintenance." I would just keep it very brief and vague, and concentrate elsewhere on what else I could bring to the business.
I definitely wouldn't mention anything along the lines of, "'Nature paper, 2011,' 'Einstein Prize for Best Postgraduate Presentation,' 'Time Magazine Young Researcher of the Year Award,' '£100,000 business development grant, AWE'"
Of course, this example is silly, but you get the idea. There are ways of massively dumbing down a CV without lying or pretending that the last three years haven't happened. I would feel heartbroken if I were in a situation where I had to lie about, or even apologise for, my PhD. I hope I can always be in a position where I can take even 1% of it and justify why it gives me an edge to any employer, even in casual work, and simply ignore the 99% that makes me sound scary and overqualified.
Also, when companies turn you down for being overqualified, what do they really mean? Does anyone know? Do they think that a PhD makes someone too independent, too much of a risk, too likely to demand more money or promotion? Or are they afraid that an employee will be bored in the work, or be seen as a threat by other employees or even managers? Perhaps understanding what employers are afraid of, as well as what they want, might make it easier to tailor that CV to their needs?
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