Putting degrees on top of a resume was favored during the Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Movement when employers wanted to prevent lawsuits. They found the “most qualified” people easily at the top of their resumes and chose only candidates with the most education, so they wouldn’t get sued.
Since then, things have been turned upside down. Now, a person’s education is only a footnote at the bottom of a resume. Job candidates who leave it at the top are considered out-of-date, old-school and probably NOT someone they want to hire anymore. Inability to keep up with change is a definite deficit in today’s job market.
Degrees simply don’t mean what they used to mean. They still matter in jobs that require degrees, but knowledge, skills and experience trump degrees today in most fields of work. If two candidates apply for a job that requires a degree (like teaching, law, medicine, etc.), they both know they need a degree and should include details toward the bottom of their resumes to show they meet requirements. The candidate who gets the job, however will be the one who can articulate his/her strengths best in a resume and in an interview.
Since the 1990s, most employers have been much more interested in what candidates can actually DO, rather than how many degrees they have or from which college. Companies can no longer afford to hire someone with a degree who can’t do the work that has to be done! The world is too competitive.
Consequently, your’re better off to top your resume with detailed descriptions of work you’ve done (all those statements that start with action words, like developed, managed, designed, etc.) and provide very specific examples in 10 words or less.
Google, for example, just sent a news release around the world about the kind of people they want to hire. Google made it clear that they no longer look for degrees per se, but focus on specific abilities. HR people take 28 seconds or less to read each resume (according to studies). They want to know right from the start what you can actually do and what have you done to earn your keep at previous companies.
Does that mean your resume needs to be longer? No! All CAMEO clients are encouraged to limit their resumes to one page. Changes in technology in recent years have influenced resume design. If you use the right wording, you can put as much in one page as in four. Two, three and four-page resumes don’t work well when uploading to job search sites, college sites or business sites, either – and that’s the way it’s done today.
Susan Maciak’s new book, Add to Your Edge: 12 Ways to Excel in the 21st Century, sheds light on how and why the hiring process has changedYou can order this book in paperback or eBook at amazon.com, bn.com or cameo100.com