Resume writing – Are You Overqualified?

While limited experience may hinder a job seeker’s career campaign, on the flip side of the coin being overqualified can be as detrimental – particularly if you have recently found yourself out of a senior position and are now forced to target lower-level roles due to non-availability of higher level roles, or because you no longer want to assume as much responsibility.

While you may believe that extensive experience, excellent qualifications, and outstanding achievements at the senior level could be an asset for potential employers, the unfortunate truth is that being overqualified can often sound alarm bells for a recruiter/potential employer.

This can be for a number of reasons, including that you will:

– soon get bored with the role and leave;
– jump ship as soon as something better comes along;
– have salary expectations far higher than being offered;
– make a play for their management role.

So how can you develop your resume in order to avert being screened out due to any of the reasons mentioned above? Firstly, don’t be tempted to lie on your resume, as you are bound to get caught out either when you attend an interview or when the interviewer begins the reference checking process.

Building a relationship that is founded on lies is destined to turn sour down the track, so below are some strategies on how to repackage and sell your skills (without resorting to untruths) to keep you in the running.

How to repackage your resume

Your aim is to focus on the skills relevant to the position rather than highlighting your management-level accountabilities.

Using a combination format resume (otherwise known as the hybrid resume) will allow you to position relevant skills at the forefront of the document without specifying job titles or statuses within the organization.

This format will also allow you to condense many years of experience without having to list dates and companies for whom you worked, another strategy for seasoned workers.

To recap, this approach blends the best elements from both the Functional and Reverse Chronological layouts, hence the aptly named title – Combination.

This format contains a powerfully written qualifications/professional profile and other relevant sections, including selected and relevant skills and/or accomplishments, followed by an employment history that is detailed in reverse chronological order.

Your qualifications/professional profile should de-emphasize senior management capabilities and portray enthusiasm and competency in the tasks pertinent to the role.

– Include a section beneath your qualifications profile to highlight achievements and contributions that depict desirable skills and experience significant to the position.

– Downplay a 30+ year career by listing only the last 10-15 years of employment within your employment history section.

– In your job scope, stress the skills and aptitudes that you used within your role rather than showcasing your senior-level leadership.

Here are some tips for your cover letter:

– Address the reason why you are seeking this new position, remembering to portray your enthusiasm for this new challenge, as well as your commitment to their organization.

Reasons for seeking a less senior role could include: you want a more fulfilling and ‘hands-on’ role, or you don’t want as much high pressure or responsibility anymore.

– Highlight how your experience can save their organization training time and expenditure and that you would integrate far more quickly and produce results much faster than someone who is less qualified or experienced.

When called in to attend the interview, it is best that you directly address this issue rather than letting the interviewer bring it up in order to minimize any apprehensions they may have. Ensure your responses give good reasons why you are changing industry or seeking a less senior role.

Re-emphasize your enthusiasm and commitment to their organization and the fact that they will not be required to put a lot of time and cost into training you due to your outstanding qualifications and experience.

Continued success with your career!

Cover Letter, Resume