Countless times I have met job seekers that have held higher education qualifications and they always ask me: “Should I include my unrelated degree in my resume?”. The reason that they ask is that they don’t want to appear ‘over qualified’ for their job applications in a different career path, particularly when they are applying for jobs that are entry-level.
Why is it a bad thing to be over qualified? Do employers think the candidate will view entry level work to be menial? Or do they think they candidate won’t settle being a ‘cog in the machine’? In my recruitment experience, I don’t think I’ve ever had an employer tell me they didn’t want to hire a person because they hold a degree in a different field/industry. I’ve been asked this question a lot by job seekers so maybe there are employers that don’t like seeing unrelated degrees…. In any case I’m writing this to clarify things with my job seekers and to any employers that have this view.
Here are five reasons for hiring someone with an unrelated degree.
1. They have committed to and followed-through with a goal – The completed course is hard evidence that they can commit to something and complete it over a period of time.
2. They are inclined to follow protocol and evidence-based information – Writing assignments needs correct formatting and referencing.
3. They will have a degree of critical thinking – This is an important skill learnt through higher education.
4. They can be organised and adhere to deadlines – Sometimes a loose term for admitted procrastinators but all assessments (particularly University) have a deadline.
5. They can work autonomously – Getting assignments and study done is really up to the individual to be self-motivated.
Many people change career paths and what they thought would be a good idea for study (and subsequent career) may not be the same at the end of the course. The graduate job market is extremely competitive in many industries and those that aren’t high achievers may need to look at other options for employment (this happened to me when I graduated!). I hope that job seekers keep their completed degrees on their resumes as I feel like they should be proud of their achievements and employers need to see the value in that too.