Your Career Coach
Overeducated and Underemployed
I am in the middle of a transition in life. I am currently working for a temp agency in an office that is, well, less than a desirable workplace for me. I am looking elsewhere and am having trouble finding anything. One reason may be because of my two degrees. I have a bachelors and a masters and the types of the jobs I’m looking usually don’t require a degree at all. Most employers aren’t willing to even look at my resume, much less give me an interview so I can prove myself.
What are some options for me out there? I’d like something that I can like myself for, some place where I can be of service to people and still make enough money to support myself. Any ideas?
— Smart Gal
Given the economy, employers are really in the catbird seat. They can now probably afford a PhD where previously they could only hire a person with a Master’s degree. In your situation, where your dream job doesn’t really require the education you’ve earned, can you consider downplaying your degrees?
For instance, you could put them at the end of your resume, and make sure the content of your work experience section plays to what it is your prospective employers are really looking for. If you’re asked about your education, you can simply say that you got your advanced degree because you were really interested in the subject matter. I’ve found that if it’s not a big deal to you, it won’t be a big dealbreaker for other folks. Sure, getting a Master’s is a terrific accomplishment and you deserve your props for that. But your role as a job seeker is to prove that you’re the ideal candidate for the job that’s available.
If your particular education isn’t a big help in making your case, then why emphasize it?