Profile of head made of puzzle pieces, of which one is missing.

QUESTION: I have a Ph.D. but the jobs I’m applying to do not require this education level. Should I leave it off the resume? Will that be lying?

Jennifer Gruwald, University of Connecticut

If you are including an Education section and have listed other degrees, certifications, or licenses, you should not remove your Ph.D. as this would be misleading. Instead, think about where on your resume your Education section is listed. Perhaps this section is at the end of your resume so the reader sees your experience and other qualifications first. Include a cover letter to further explain.

Grant Cooper, Strategic Resumes & Business Plans

While you can leave the Ph.D. designation off of your name, it would be disingenuous to delete it entirely from your resume. Others may advise doing so, or risk being “overqualified.” However, in general, employers prefer to hire the most qualified candidates. When applicants hear that they are overqualified, it is often a less disagreeable form of rejection for other reasons you should address.


Monica Reyes

Do not omit “Ph.D” off your resume. Make sure the content and the meat of the details reflect your capabilities for the desired position, but there is no need to omit your degree.

Mary Jo King, Alliance Résumé & Writing Service

Your resume should be strategically developed to address the requirements of the role at hand. Most omissions do not fall into the category of lies. That said, don’t be quick to assume that your Ph.D. will not be an asset. Smart hiring authorities will try to secure the best candidate they can afford. If you’re unsure, keep the education section at the bottom of your resume and include it there.

Julia Mattern, Julia Mattern Career Services, LLC

In resume writing, it is acceptable to omit material that is not relevant to your target. However, it may be advantageous to include your Ph.D. Earning a doctorate positions you as an expert in that field and demonstrates advanced research, analysis, and writing skills, as well as the ability to work independently, receive feedback, and meet deadlines, all of which are valuable job skills.

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