Like most of my writings, this topic is from personal experience, observation, and discussions with other professionals. For the longest time I was under the impression it was just me, I am glad I figured out the truth.
We all look for work at some point in our lives, and a few years ago during one of those periods in my life I found myself very confused. I was confused not because I did not know what to do or what to say, I was confused because I was getting zero call backs from any jobs I had applied for, even where I was a perfect fit on paper. I was also conducting my search the right way, networking, making personal connections, etc. So what was going wrong? The answer stunned me.
I had too much education and experience on my resume; someone pointed it out to me, and it was proved right when I removed a number of degrees and started getting call backs and interviews. Who ever heard of having too much education and experience? And in this economy, companies are getting great employees at discounted prices. It was not just that they would have to pay me more either, because in some cases the salary range was listed and very narrow anyway. So what was it?
During this time, I can also remember posting my resume up in what I thought was a professional job board, with my goals, wants, expectations, and including the fact that I was not fond of sales job offers. I got one really nasty email back from an anonymous keyboard warrior (dark symptom of social media) stating “you are an over educated dinosaur, good luck with that”.
My story is not unique because over the years I have collected many similar stories from many different professionals, and funnily enough a lot of them were also in the field of education just like me. . Is this how we treat people who are educated in the job market now?
We are in a political cycle right now, and it seems part of the political circus includes being ‘likable” or “an average Joe”, folks seem to be looking for the candidate they would most “like to have a beer with”, not who is most qualified or educated. There was a political candidate during the last election cycle who called an opponent a snob because they advocated college for everyone; and it turns out this candidate was more educated than the person he called a snob. He was trying to dumb himself down; he was doing it because it seemed that was what was expected.
Is this what we are teaching our children now? Is this what we want for the next generation? Do we want to tell them not to reach for the stars because they sound like a snob? Are we telling excellent job candidates that you are no good because you are too smart and experienced? Are hiring managers that insecure because the person they might higher is better educated than them? Do we not celebrate educational achievements anymore?
Candidates do understand they are not going get accepted for every job, and get an interview every time: but since when did education and intellect become a stigma, and how long are we going to let this go on for?
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III