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How to Handle Being Overqualified


Chief Executive Officers are working at McDonald’s. Department managers are working as administrative assistants. There are thousands of applicants for every job. Bills need to get paid and families need to eat. As a result, applicants are reaching out and trying to secure any job they can. As the economy continues to struggle making it difficult for ends to meet, applicants are trying creative methods just to get a job and pay the bills. Many job seekers are finding it very frustrating to be told that they are over qualified for the position.

The Dumbing Down of Resumes

Highly skilled professionals are resorting to dumbing down their resume and applications. By not sharing their true skills sets, they believe they stand a better chance of securing a position. They strategically leave off vital information showing they were once a highly paid member of management.

Why? An office manager is looking at two resumes for an accounting position. The first resume is from a former Chief Financial Officer of a large company. The second resume is an administrative assistant who performed accounting duties in her prior job. Given the choice, the office manager will tell the former CFO they are overqualified for the position and hire the administrative assistant. The manager knows that once the hiring situation improves, the CFO will leave for a more appropriate position. They also know that while the CFO would be happy with the income in the short term, long term contentment is not likely.

Many job seekers are beginning to feel penalized for having the level of skills they do. While there is no perfect solution to the situation, it’s all about the presentation. The key is convince hiring managers you are interested in the job, and not just using it as a temporary stop gap measure until you find something better.

What can you do?

Leaving off certain details such as degrees and management titles is certainly one way to skirt around the issue. You run the risk, however, of being caught lying by omission.

Convince the employer that you bring added value to the organization. Most organizations would be extremely happy if they could offer entry level salaries to an experienced candidiate.

High unemployment is also a time of re-invention. Share that you are changing careers and realize that you need to start in a more entry level position.

Spending more time with your family is also an excellent argument. In your previous high level, fast-paced position, you had little time to spend with your family. This position will allow you to spend quality time at home.

It may take the economy time to recover and the unemployment numbers to decline. Chances are, however, the job situation may never get back to previous levels. You may spend more time in the position than you anticipated.

Take heart, however, more and more employers are realizing the benefit of hiring the “overqualified” worker (for less money). They realize they gain wealth of knowledge for less money.
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Content copyright © 2013 by Dianne Walker. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Dianne Walker. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Dianne Walker for details.

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