How to get a cleaning job with too much education but no experience?
March 29, 2019 8:02 AM   Subscribe

I would like to apply for night shift cleaning jobs to supplement my income, but I have multiple degrees and nothing relevant to put on a resume. These jobs require English proficiency and high school education.

Anyone have experience with this? They'll run a background check. Its a large institution that hires directly, not through an agency.

Before anyone asks I like the solitude of night work and want a mentally and socially easy income supplement. I don't want to ramp up my white collar skills right now.
posted by perdhapley to Work & Money (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
In the past, I applied for entry-level blue collar jobs despite having degree. I did not have much luck except for temp agencies. I think companies may not want to risk hiring someone who does not fit the stereotype; with the temp agencies that is not an issue.
posted by neutralmojo at 8:23 AM on March 29, 2019

You can take your advanced degrees off your resume. When I was applying for entry level jobs, I couldn't get a nibble while I had my Masters on there, but as soon as I took it off, I got several interviews, and a job.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:35 AM on March 29, 2019 [11 favorites]

Also, if you get an interview, don't try and spin it the way you would a white-collar interview (This is a great opportunity for me to learn and grow, looking for a challenge, etc.). Focus on the fact that you need the money (don't say "supplement income" say something like "make ends meet"), that you are reliable and punctual (and have reliable transportation), and that you are looking for something with solitude and repetition.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:39 AM on March 29, 2019 [41 favorites]

Nthing leave the degrees off, and I have been in your position. You're going to have to find some references. Can you get friends to say you used to clean their houses on a regular basis and did a great job? Or someone you know who owns a small business where you did same job? If you're very young they won't question our dearth of references. If you had children when you were very young and stayed home to raise them they might be ok with that as a reason for lack of references, it works better if you're female.
posted by mareli at 9:01 AM on March 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Just leave some stuff off your resume and act like you really need the job, talk about being a really hard worker. I did restaurant work at night, and their biggest concerns were that I'd feel above the work or quit right away.
posted by slidell at 9:02 AM on March 29, 2019 [6 favorites]

When I was working a service job it was my responsibility to collect resumes and give my boss a summary of what I thought of the applicants. Regardless of how positive I was about an applicant my boss would reject them if they had a Masters degree. He wanted people who he thought would be around for a while, not moving on to bigger and better things at the first opportunity. Even jobs that people disparage as "unskilled" generally require training and practice before the employee is competent and high employee turnover is a hassle for employers. Prune your resume and emphasize that you're looking for something long term.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 9:31 AM on March 29, 2019 [6 favorites]

I applied for temp office jobs when I was trying to get on my feet after my PhD. I dropped the graduate degree, found relevant parts of each of my previous jobs, and concealed the further extent of my duties in job interviews (my understanding is that it's acceptable to flex job titles a bit on a resume but I didn't have to). I was also previously admin support staff for the housekeeping department in a hospital.

They probably want to know that you'll show up consistently and sober, you're physically fit enough for the job, you'll work safely / won't generate a worker's comp claim, you won't steal, you'll get along tolerably well with the other folks on your crew/supervisor. So anything in previous jobs where you did repetitive physical tasks or lifted heavy things, if you were responsible for handling cash, you used safety techniques appropriately, that kind of thing. A couple bullet points per job is plenty, and you don't need a long history.
posted by momus_window at 11:03 AM on March 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

In my hometown, the major office cleaning place was known for hiring just about anyone who could pass the background check and be bonded. They understood that for many of their employees they were a second job or a stopgap between jobs, and they didn't really expect many people to stay with them long-term. As long as you didn't screw them over you could quit and be re-hired any number of times.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 12:39 PM on March 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Like Rock Steady said. That was about how my job working in a bagel factory tossing around dough went. Way too qualified, but need job and want the headphones on type of solitude. If you seem reliable enough for a couple of good months and would require little supervision it's a plus. Very high turnover rate.
posted by zengargoyle at 11:33 AM on March 30, 2019

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