Work and Income staff told a woman with a university bachelor degree to "dumb down" her CV before applying for jobs.

Natalie Meehan hopes to join the Navy later this year and said she wanted to take on some short-term employment before the next in-take later in the year.

She went into her local WINZ office in Napier for help finding a job or a short-term allowance and was told to remove her Bachelor degree and any mention of her two administration jobs from her CV before approaching prospective employers at Pak'n Save and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Work and Income deputy chief executive Patricia Reade said the WINZ case manager was trying to help Natalie target her CV at the kinds of jobs available for short term periods.

"We accept this was not well articulated and did not reflect what the case manager was trying to achieve. We have addressed this with the case manager today," Ms Reade said in a written statement.

Ms Meehan said she was outraged at the suggestion that she remove her degree from her CV. She said having put herself through university, all she wanted to do was get some part-time employment to support herself before a career change.

"They said in order to get interviews I would have to dumb down my CV," Ms Meehan said.

She said she hoped to get some part-time temping work but the WINZ officer told her to apply for jobs that do not require qualifications including Pak'n Save and KFC.

"She said: Make it look like you're completely unqualified because otherwise employers in Napier will feel like they're less qualified than you," she said.

Ms Meehan is living with her parents before she joins the Navy but said she felt sorry for anyone who had to pay their own way.

"What are you supposed to do?" She said.

Ms Meehan emailed the Minister of Social Development Paula Bennett and told her what happened. She said she also asked the Minister to look into the practice of WINZ staff telling people to leave qualifications off their CV.

A spokeswoman for Ms Bennett told nzherald.co.nz the Minister did not approve of people "dumbing down" their CVs.

She said the Minister was looking into Ms Meehan's case.

Ms Reade said WINZ did its best to help Ms Meehan. She said the Hawkes Bay Regional Manager will meet with Natalie to discuss her concerns.