Dumbing Down Your Resume Doesn’t Work

I’m about to sign up a new resume client who is a Marketing VP in television.  Media companies are not readily hiring these days and there are few jobs for the  pickin’ for senior folks.  That said, she requested that I create two versions of her resume — one positioning her for a VP job and one for a Director title.  She was basically asking me to dumb down her resume.

This client, who I will now refer to as “Alice,” (after my cat), clearly needs a job.  Most of us do.  But, the reality is, it’s impossible for me to position her as a Director.  Resumes need to be traditional in many respects — a chronological order of the jobs you’ve held along with dates and position titles.  If you leave your titles or dates of employment out of your resume, it sends up a major red flag.  

Titles are different at each company.  A VP at a smaller company can be comparable in pay and bonus to a Director at a larger company.  I told Alice that she should keep this in mind as she approached her job search.  Some folks might turn her down when they see her resume because she’s too senior, while others will bring her in to find out what she’s all about.  

A major determination as to whether a job is right or wrong for you is the level of compensation.  If the pay for a Director job is much less than that of a VP job, the hiring manager for that Director job won’t be interested in Alice.  He’ll assume, and probably rightfully so, that she’ll have one foot out the door, waiting for something to open up that’s truly at her level.  Plus, the chances are that Alice could very well be more senior than her hiring manager.   That’s not functional in a real time scenario. So, my advice to Alice is to continue to apply for Director jobs and deal with the rejection if it occurs.  She might find the right position without having to dumb down her resume.  Or, she just might get someone to up the title for her if she’s really that good.  

Carpe diem

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