I’ve been unemployed for some time but there are relatively few jobs in my field, so I have started applying for roles that I’m over-qualified for. The general reaction has been suspicion. Employers and agents don’t seem to understand why I would want to apply for a role more junior than I’ve worked at before. How can I overcome this?

If you’re over-qualified for a role you’re applying for, the problem is one of credibility. Employers may have a range of concerns, from how you lost your last job, through why you can’t get a job at the same level, to how long you’ll stay in the job if they offer it to you, to whether you’ll upset the apple cart because you used to manage things a different way.

The only way to address this is to close the credibility gap. Be honest about your skills and experience on your CV, but if you’re actively downshifting, use your career goal section to explain where you are now, and what you want now.

If you can’t get work at your old level, use your cover letter to acknowledge this, and make some positive suggestions about how the employer might make use of your extra skills and experience if they took you on rather than someone without your extra experience.

If you sense that the employer is uncertain about making an offer, ask if you can step in to do some pro bono work for a week or so. This will give you the opportunity to become less of an unknown quantity, build relationships and put minds at ease.

Don’t look on this as a problem, only as a challenge that needs thinking creatively about.
And don’t be disheartened if you have to drop a grade or two temporarily. The cream always rises.

October 30th, 2009 | Category: career goal, job hunting, overqualified | No Comments »

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