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Any success when leaving PhD off resume?

by nickyrtr
Tags: leaving, resume, success
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twofish-quant
#55
Mar17-12, 07:33 AM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by ThinkToday View Post
Failure to be completely truthful and accurate on your resume is a termination offense at EVERY place I've ever worked.
We are being completely truthful and accurate. However, you have one minute to make an impression on a resume, and you have to decide what you can say in that one minute that gives the listener the most relevant information.

Rather than hide or deminish the PhD, pump up the things you'd like to do with a company.
1) If the company thinks that the Ph.D. is either useless or negative, they by mentionng it you are taking valuable addition from some other aspect of your application that they would consider positive.

2) It's a Catch-22, but companies often will not tell you want the job is about. It's a Catch-22, because if they tell you that they are looking for skill X, they will get flooded with 10000 resumes claiming to have skill X. If they don't mention skill X and they hit on a resume that mentions skill X, then that person just won the lottery by picking the right numbers.

If not directly related to the work at hand, perhaps, push the budget, teamwork, supervisory, time management, etc. aspects (value) of the PhD experience.
You have one minute to make your case. You don't have time to do this. If the employer doesn't already know that Ph.D.'s do a lot of management work then it's going to hard to convince them. If you know that administrative skills are important, then calling yourself a research administrator might do this is two words, but it's still a long shot.

There is something called pre-sales, which means molding the perceptions of the buyer before you try to make the sale. Now the applicant doesn't have the ability to do pre-sales, but schools and professional societies should do a better job, since they may not be limited to one minute.

IMO, all those things would be important for jobs that carry responsibility.
On the other hand, you may get hit with the overqualified label. If the job is for entry level, then putting in management experience will knock it out of the bin.
twofish-quant
#56
Mar17-12, 07:43 AM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by Choppy View Post
I've obtained the rank of shodan (black belt) in Kodokan Judo. This is an accomplishment that took many years of training and dedication. I don't generally include this on my CV because it's not relevant to my profession, it's not something that employers generally look for in my field, and it would take up extra space that I use to convey far more relevant information.
On the other hand, I know that some companies look specifically for this sort of thing. There are companies that I work for that will be impressed by some outside interest that requires a large amount of personal training and whose results are quantifiable. For example, I know people that have gotten an interview because they put on their resume the fact that they finished a marathon, can play chess at the national master level, or have won money in poker or bridge tornauments.

Again, one has to think about this when marketing. Mentioning that you jog as a hobby won't get you anywhere, but mentioning that you've finished a marathon will help. Also, be prepared to defend this in an interview. If mention that you are a champion bridge player, then you will be interviewed by someone that knows something about bridge.

The philosophy is that if you've put a lot of energy into playing poker and you've gotten really good at it, then you have the personality to put that energy into whatever the company is doing. Not coincidentally, companies with this sort of thinking also are impressed by physics Ph.D.'s.
Diracula
#57
Mar17-12, 05:04 PM
P: 108
Other than a Ph.D., is there something one can do (short of prison time) for 5-6 years that will actually harm their career prospects so much that it is actually better to leave it off a resume?
twofish-quant
#58
Mar17-12, 10:15 PM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by Diracula View Post
Other than a Ph.D., is there something one can do (short of prison time) for 5-6 years that will actually harm their career prospects so much that it is actually better to leave it off a resume?
It's a matter of relevancy.

For example, if I spent five years as both a pastry chef and a computer programmer, and I'm applying for a position as a pastry chef, I'd leave off my programming experience, and vice-versa.

Remember that people's attention spans are extremely limited, so that mentioning that you did something means not mentioning that you did something else, and vice-versa.

The other thing is it's not so much harming your career prospects as "putting together a bad movie trailer." If you do have an employer that is extremely opposed to your having a Ph.D. no matter what, then you *should* put it on your resume so that they don't waste your time with an interview for a job that you aren't going to get. But I can't imagine a situation in which an employer is ready to hire someone and then changed their mind once they find out that he has a Ph.D.

The situation with being "overqualified" is quite common, and not limited to Ph.D.'s.
nickyrtr
#59
Mar17-12, 10:44 PM
P: 89
The other thing is it's not so much harming your career prospects as "putting together a bad movie trailer."
Disgruntled PhD graduate sets up hideout in volcano, builds death ray and robot army ... "they laughed at my resume, now I'll show them all, mwahahaha!!" Someone call the SyFy channel, this is way better than most of their plots :P
Diracula
#60
Mar18-12, 07:16 AM
P: 108
Quote Quote by twofish-quant View Post
It's a matter of relevancy.

For example, if I spent five years as both a pastry chef and a computer programmer, and I'm applying for a position as a pastry chef, I'd leave off my programming experience, and vice-versa.
But you're leaving a resume gap when you do that.

But I can't imagine a situation in which an employer is ready to hire someone and then changed their mind once they find out that he has a Ph.D.
Really? I hear all the time how Ph.D. holders are disqualified from technical jobs for being overqualified. We have evidence on here of people getting better results when applying for jobs and leaving the Ph.D. off. It seems pretty typical for people to disqualify candidates who may be awesome fits simply because they spent 5 years getting a Ph.D. in a tough technical field like physics. Maybe even commonplace.

The situation with being "overqualified" is quite common, and not limited to Ph.D.'s.
Someone with 5 years industry experience in a technical field may be overqualified for entry level jobs. But they will be sought after for jobs requiring 5'ish years experience.

Someone who spent those same 5 years getting a Ph.D. in physics is overqualified for entry level jobs, and they don't have the skills and experience required for the jobs requiring 5'ish years industry experience.

There's a massive difference between these two situations even though both can apply for jobs they are "overqualified" for.

I don't think being a pastry chef for 5 years would leave one overqualified for getting an entry level computer programmer position, but a Ph.D. in physics certainly could based on what I've seen.
twofish-quant
#61
Mar18-12, 11:34 PM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by Diracula View Post
But you're leaving a resume gap when you do that.
See previous posts. There are pretty useful ways of getting around the resume gap.

Really? I hear all the time how Ph.D. holders are disqualified from technical jobs for being overqualified.
Here is where marketing comes in. You have fifteen seconds to make an impression, and if in those fifteen seconds, the first thing you say is "Ph.D." people will immediately assume a large number of things about you. If you say something else, then people will assume different things, and then if they conclude that you are a good match, at that point finding out that you have a Ph.D. is merely a random fact.

Also, there are reasons why people don't hire Ph.D.'s that have nothing to do with being overqualified. Ph.D.'s are being stereotyped as being too academic, too argumentative, too arrogant, or too smart.

We have evidence on here of people getting better results when applying for jobs and leaving the Ph.D. off. It seems pretty typical for people to disqualify candidates who may be awesome fits simply because they spent 5 years getting a Ph.D. in a tough technical field like physics.
Not true. If a Ph.D. really *did* disqualify you from a job, then what would happen is that you'd go through the interviews, and when they find out that you had a Ph.D., you'd get the door slammed in your face.

You have a Ph.D. If you are in a situation in which someone will absolutely refuse to hire a Ph.D., then you are screwed and so you better give up and look for another job. That's *not* the situation people are finding themselves in. There's no point in getting an interview for a job that you aren't going to get.

Part of the problem is that for most physics Ph.D.'s, getting one is probably one of the most important things in their life, and so it's hard to put yourself in the shoes of someone that doesn't think that. The other problem is that academic selection tends to be partial ordering. I.e. you can rank jobs and candidates, and if A gets a job and B is better than A, then B will get the job. That's not the case in industry. There are also other differences. There is a pretty settle set of criterion for who gets admitted to university X, but you'll find that in industry there isn't a set of fixed criterion.

Someone with 5 years industry experience in a technical field may be overqualified for entry level jobs. But they will be sought after for jobs requiring 5'ish years experience.
Which stinks when people are firing experienced people so that they can get cheaper people. Also, there *are* industries in which people *like* physics Ph.D.'s. The trouble with those is geography.

Someone who spent those same 5 years getting a Ph.D. in physics is overqualified for entry level jobs, and they don't have the skills and experience required for the jobs requiring 5'ish years industry experience.
A lot depends on the Ph.D. For my first job, I was able to sell myself as an experienced numerical programmer, because I was.

I don't think being a pastry chef for 5 years would leave one overqualified for getting an entry level computer programmer position, but a Ph.D. in physics certainly could based on what I've seen.
It could, but in situations in which Ph.D. leaves you overqualified for entry level positions, then you need to go after the positions which require programming experience, and that means calling yourself an "experienced scientific programmer" rather than a "physics Ph.D."
twofish-quant
#62
Mar19-12, 02:47 AM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by nickyrtr View Post
Disgruntled PhD graduate sets up hideout in volcano, builds death ray and robot army ... "they laughed at my resume, now I'll show them all, mwahahaha!!" Someone call the SyFy channel, this is way better than most of their plots :P
I prefer the John Byrne version of Lex Luthor to the Silver Age version. John Byrne figured out that an evil supergenius wouldn't be in some underground lair and draw attention to himself. Rather Lex Luthor would be a corporate executive, carefully playing chess behind the scenes.

Evil lairs, death rays, and robot armies require a great deal of funding, and if you start mumbling about crushing your enemies, you ain't getting any of that.


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