Someone recently posted worrying about being seen as overqualified when trying to enter a new career direction, because they have an advanced degree in another field.

This leads me to wonder: Could one perhaps get away with just not mentioning the advanced degree? Most of us (not all) do get a more basic degree first, so claiming only a BS is misleading but not actually lying. And if you got the degrees at different schools (common in some fields), a basic check would be unlikely to expose this omission.

It does require that you explain what you've been doing in the meantime, but it might be possible to say you've been working in your second field without having to admit to having earned the degree. If you've been doing programming for bio research, that's still programming experience, for example.

And of course it's likely to come out at some point. Hopefully after you have made yourself invaluable...

Feel free to close this as speculative/opinion/underspecified/discussion. It's half an idea, and half an hour from now I may find I'm being a halfwit.

  • 4
    I think it depends on the role you're applying for as well. I have Electrical Engineering degree but I am a programmer mostly. I don't usually mention my embedded or core electrical based project/ assignments for a programing job in my resume. Same can be applied for an irrelevant advanced degree. You can choose to omit the information as if it seems irrelevant for the position.
    – Sherry
    Feb 23 at 16:51

2 Answers 2


Could one perhaps get away with just not mentioning the advanced degree?

Yes, of course.

There is no requirement to mention an advanced degree on your resume, in a job application, or in an interview.

That said, be sure you have an explanation for any omitted information, in case a background check, social media, Linkedin, or other source indicates your omission.

  • 2
    "Be sure you have an explanation for any omitted information." How about "I didn't think it was relevant to the position I'm applying for." Feb 23 at 22:49
  • Yes, it is by choice. Feb 24 at 4:08
  • Maybe even an honest "would I have gotten the chance to interview with you if I'd mentioned it?" would work, if you are assuming that the suspicious layer is the automatic screening and that you'll be able to convince the interviewer you aren't a flight risk and would be more interested in growing your role within the company.
    – keshlam
    Feb 24 at 14:40

I read about a PhD who listed their bachelor's degree in the education part of the resume and the other degrees under hobbies.

A resume (in the US) is a bit of "advertising copy" intended to get the interview. It does not need to be a full listing of everything you have done and often is customized for each job opening. (I've heard that a CV in Europe is far different and needs to have everything.) The restriction on the "advertising copy" is that what is listed needs to be truthful. Get the interview, then get the job and list everything on the employment forms.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .