Leaving my PhD off resume

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Re: Leaving my PhD off resume

Postby Rich Lemert » Thu Feb 25, 2016 1:02 pm

At best, Steven Z. is naive - living in a binary world where your only two choices are to lie and not reveal anything that might require an explanation, or volunteer everything every negative event in your life no matter how relevant it may or may not be. Fortunately, a rational job seeker recognizes that there is a huge middle ground within which they prefer to tread.

Unfortunately, the cynic in me strongly suspects that Steven is nothing more than a troll, posting inflammatory remarks for no reason other than to get a rise out the forum's participants - not caring that his advice has the very real potential to cause serious, permanent damage to the career of anyone so foolish as to follow it.

The issue the original poster (M. Hart) raises is a serious concern, and one that the members of this forum are very aware of. Some of us have been in a similar position. Others have been - or are currently - hiring managers themselves. We've seen what approaches to the problem have been successful, and we've seen what happens to those who choose to follow Steven's "advice".

It's up to each individual who's advice they choose to follow; it's not going to impact my life in the slightest if someone chooses not to listen to me. However, I would strongly advise anyone dealing with a sensitive issue such as this to consider the source of that advice and understand the reasoning behind it before they make up their minds.
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Re: Leaving my PhD off resume

Postby Steven Z. » Thu Feb 25, 2016 1:51 pm

Well the OP is in a bad spot. Most people recognize there is a really horrible glut of PhD's in the sciences and engineering, there are nowhere near enough jobs for them, and he/she is getting automatically rejected from every job he applies by showing he has a PhD under the assumption that the OP is too good to do work. Unfortunately rather than judge applicants on the merit companies just make huge assumptions and generalizations and disqualify people for nonsense like this. The OP is being summarily denied employment for being too educated and the idea of hiding the PhD is somehow ethically repugnant?

Yes the blanket/blow off advice here to anyone's employment problems here is network, network, network. Well networking isn't always an option for everyone. Not everyone has good contacts nor the skills to develop them especially relevant contacts in a niche field.

So the OP's options are to 1. Network and hope to someday meet someone who can get the OP a job, 2. Play by the "rules" be honest and be summarily rejected from the entire labor market for having the audacity to be too educated, or take some calculated risks and get employed.

As for the ethical considerations let me tell you what I learned very quickly on the job market regarding business ethics. Most don't have any beyond the law and money. I could post pages upon pages of bad behavior by companies that I have seen especially when it comes to hiring. I especially love the part where big pharma and tech companies after laying off thousands of scientists and programmers the next day are in front of Congress perjuring themselves claiming how a critical shortage of STEM talent is crippling their companies.

In short there are no easy solutions for the OP. I wish you the best of luck and all the other victims out there of the American STEM shortage.
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Re: Leaving my PhD off resume

Postby Dave Jensen » Thu Feb 25, 2016 2:25 pm

Steven Z. wrote:And your advice is what? Go to the interview and reveal every deleterious piece of information from your past? I was fired from Target when I was 19, my greatest weakness is I am disorganized and distrustful of authority, I was arrested for drunk and disorderly when I was 25 but no record exists of it because the charges were dropped but I thought I should reveal it anyways and by the way your tie is ugly and the reason I want this job is because I need a job, you pay more than minimum wage, and are close to where I live, my previous salary was 30% below market, and I am seeking a new job because I am bored and my last boss was an [expletive]. Yep you will definitely go far being completely honest and revealing everything.

There is a place that HR has for honest candidates. It is called the rejection bin.

Wow. That's a nice rant, but no one here is going to suggest behavior like that in an interview. Your earlier post was about whether the written history of your education and experience (your resume or CV) should be accurate or not. You advocated for concocting anything you want on the CV, dropping or adding things at one's whim. I cautioned you that this wasn't a super smart idea. You countered by coming back with "let's just open up in an interview and spill our guts." I don't see how the two are related. Nonetheless, your post tells us more about the approach you've used, and I hope it leads you to permanent work of some kind.

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Re: Leaving my PhD off resume

Postby Steven Z. » Thu Feb 25, 2016 2:35 pm

My simple point is noone is honest at an interview (least of all the interviewers). Everyone lies and it is all a matter of degree and what about.

I have a great job and if I was desperate and getting rejected for every job I applied to like the OP for nonsense reasons I would not hesitate to lie and in the case of the OP I still would not even call not revealing the PhD a lie.

The OP is being unfairly denied employment by everyone for basically being over-educated and is being stereotyped and somehow simply omitting the PhD and not letting them do that is morally repugnant. That is quite a distorted ethical standard. It is unfair that you are not allowing me to treat you unfairly.

There is no ethical obligation to follow the rules of an unfair game.
-If HR badgers and threatens you into revealing your salary information so they can low-ball your salary lie to them.

-If HR is going to toss your resume for having a PhD don't tell them you have one.
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Re: Leaving my PhD off resume

Postby Ana » Thu Feb 25, 2016 3:50 pm

Steven Z. wrote:The OP is being unfairly denied employment by everyone for basically being over-educated and is being stereotyped and somehow simply omitting the PhD and not letting them do that is morally repugnant. That is quite a distorted ethical standard. It is unfair that you are not allowing me to treat you unfairly.

I don't think that can be taken as a fact. That's why I asked the original poster why they thought the reason behind not having any offer was that pending PhD defence.
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Re: Leaving my PhD off resume

Postby Dick Woodward » Thu Feb 25, 2016 3:59 pm

I have been watching this thread for a while, and all I can say to Steven Z is that if I was to find that someone lied on their resume - either about their credentials or lack thereof - I would fire them summarily and likely contest unemployment on the grounds that they were fired for cause. If someone lies on their resume, how am I to believe that they are not lying on batch records, in lab notebooks, on their expense reports or somewhere else where one ultimately depends on the veracity of the person reporting the result?

In fact, depending upon the circumstances, legal action might be a possibility as well. If, for example, my company performed a project for a client that depended, in part, upon our representing that a PhD had a certain role in the project, and that person was found not to be a PhD, it is not beyond the realm of probability that the client would come to me for redress. Were that to be the case, I would probably sue you for the costs of that redress, and all other associated costs. If it was to turn out that you had falsified a report that the client presented to the FDA, criminal charges might also result.

Lying occasionally or selectively brings to mind the old saw that it is not possible to be "a little bit pregnant" - you either are or are not. Same with being a liar.

Please let us know if Steven Z is your real name so that we can be on the lookout for your resume in order to put it into the garbage.

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Re: Leaving my PhD off resume

Postby D.X. » Thu Feb 25, 2016 4:57 pm

Hi Steven,

I think you are missing the point. Not disclosing job relvant information such as education credentials is in fact a lie and unethical. Its is something that comes to bite you in the future as with any lie. The key word is relevant. Is what was done at 19 relevant to a person at 30? Probably not. But education credentials hell yeah. I think dont anyone on this forum has ever advocated one lies or omit job relevant details.

As PG noted this us a very small world. For me, someone in my current company knew my name from nearly 8 years in the past, from another continent, 4,000 miles away. I never met this person before but the heard of me as we were in the same compny back then and suffciently remembered my reputation to give a green light to my hiring manager. Small world.

But let me be clear -

What is job relvant then is in the accoutability and responsibility of the applicant. If you deem a firing from the age of 19 is not job relevent. Fine. Thats your call and you own it. Right?
Its your decision. This forum is geared to give advise, whether the readers and posters want to follow that advise, well its on them right? Just be ready to pass the red face test when it comes back to you. You determine what is job relevant right?

Now i will say i omitted something i deemed as job relevant in an interview. I had my rationale and i was ready for the red face test. I owned my decision full on. Guess what? HR called me on it. call..and with balls on accuracy i owned up to it, i was ready, stated my point a direct as i could have called in fir the second face to face interview (!) , again my omission was brought up to my face within seconds of sitting down...but as i said i owned that...and hells no i was not apologizing stood my ground, look'em strait i the eye...well i was hired. But i was ready, if they were going to harp on it, i was ready to walk out of the room - my BATNA was well defined, because i owned my decision. But you know what helped me out? That person i never met, who knew my reputation from 8 years in the past (hell of a memoery i must say), separted then by 4,000 air miles, 2 degrees of separation...may have had a say in that hiring decision. Small world.

So go ahead, lie, omit, whatever, just be ready to own up to it when it comes. I wont said what my omission was, but suffice to say, it was job relevant and certain the words ethical, ommision, lack of transparency, bad taste, character issues were thrown at me. Again i was hired, amazing experience, water under the bridge but I can tell you, i never want to be in that spot again. Not all will have my experience - but my face was still pretty red.

Good luck with whatever YOU decide...omit, lie, cheat, own it.

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Re: Leaving my PhD off resume

Postby Steven Z. » Thu Feb 25, 2016 5:04 pm

It has been pretty widely reported and even admitted by some companies that they don't hire PhD's for bench level positions.

First off we are talking about leaving the PhD off not claiming a degree/license you don't have.

Second, as I said if you think an interview even exists, where the candidate was 100% honest you are deluding yourself. When you ask a candidate why they are leaving their last job how many tell you their boss is an [expletive] or they want more money? Those are the top two reasons I guarantee you.

Thirdly I find the hypocrisy amusing. I can count on one hand the number of companies I've interviewed with that I can say conducted the interview or their labor policies fairly and ethically. I especially love all the temp to hire jobs around here where the companies promise to hire you if you work hard and do a good job and studies show only 27% ever do. As I said I can just post pages and pages of repugnant behavior I've seen from companies. But I get it. Only companies are allowed to lie and behave unethically because they have a responsibility to their share holders to make a profit. Job applicants have to be 100% honest and volunteer any deleterious info since they don't have a responsibility to make a living or god forbid support their family. I'm sure you divulge all the negatives about your company when you interview.

Finally no loss. If you get caught and fired try someplace else. It is better than being unemployed. Believe me the way I've seen companies behave I have no sympathy for them. I'm fortunate that I was able to wake up before it was too late and get the heck out of my PhD program before I over-educated myself out of the labor market. If I had that albatross around my neck like the OP I don't know what I'd do except whatever I had to do to survive and not keep allowing myself to be summarily rejected for the terrible crime of being too qualified to work.

I have known people that omitted the college degree off their resume to get a job that does not require college. I admit I do not know anyone who left off the PhD to get a job. I know a chemistry PhD that sells real estate though.
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Re: Leaving my PhD off resume

Postby PG » Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:58 am

First in one of the previous posts it was suggested to fake a position to hide the time that you actually spent doing your PhD. Noone can argue that this isnt lying. It is not omitting information but it is telling a direct lie that will cause complications when a company calls for references.

Importantly most companies will call for references to your previous positions even if you have not listed anyone on your list of contacts. Anyone that isnt working for your current company is fair game and many companies will insist of calling someone at your current employer late in the process and especially if you have a limited number of previous positions ie possible references.

D.X. wrote:Finally no loss. If you get caught and fired try someplace else. It is better than being unemployed. Believe me the way I've seen companies behave I have no sympathy for them.

Again this will cause problems when the company that you are applying for calls for references. Either you will get a bad reference ie no new job offer or if you follow the track suggested in this thread you will have to invent another falso position which means that you also need to find one or more other people who are willing to lie for you and pretend that they are giving you a reference. Finding someone who can do this in a reliable way is going to be difficult or impossible.

The more lies you tell the more likely it will be that you get caught and get into a lot more difficult situation than you are in now.

My advice to the OP is to start a new thread and instead of asking whether you should hide your PhD or not describe how you are approaching your job search and what type of responses that you are getting. This will allow the forum to give advice that hopefully can help you with your job search.
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Re: Leaving my PhD off resume

Postby Steven Z. » Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:05 am

I'm assuming the OP is not applying for sensitive positions that require a clearance or high level positions but ordinary corporate positions.

I agree lying is always a risk which is why you want to understand what the risks are and minimize it but when you are unemployed and every company is using the PhD as grounds to deny you employment it is time to take the gloves off and get down in the mud with them. The companies know exactly what they can get away with and every loop-hole they can use to behave disgustingly.

I can tell you exactly what is happening. The OP fills out the application, indicated he has a PhD and the applicant tracking software or HR is programmed to reject all applicants that have a PhD. His resume is probably not even being seen by a human being.

Some companies don't even check references and many of the rest farm it out to some third party background check. It isn't Sherlock Holmes conducting the background check it some low paid lackey at a call center many whom aren't even in the country. They call the listed references and companies and try to verify the information or they come back to the subject and request a pay stub or w2 form (easily faked).

Most companies will often direct references to HR who will only comment on titles and dates of employment for fear of legal liability.

If you get caught and don't make it through the background check no big loss just leave that position off the resume and noone will likely ever hear about it. Try Try again. Once you make it through the background check it is likely you are home free and you are only likely to get caught if you say something.

Hiring nowadays is a dirty, unfair, war and there is no honesty nor fairness on either side just one-sided rules and expectations dictated by the companies so they have every unfair advantage. And all those rules of course go right out the window as soon as the relative or buddy of a decision maker shows up which is why networking is very effective whenever possible.
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