If you’ve been unemployed for a while, you might happily take any job that comes along, even if it means a demotion. But, unfortunately, if you’re overqualified for a position, some employer’s won’t give your resume or application a second look.
It’s a frustrating predicament, but there are simple tips to “dumb down” your resume and get your foot in the door.
1. Leave Off Unrelated Degrees
It’s a tough job market, and many career experts recommend playing up your strengths and accomplishments. Typically, the more education and experience you have the better. But if you’re applying for a job that you’re overqualified for, including all your education and strengths on your resume might be the kiss of death.
Understandably, you might think too much experience is better than not enough, but some employers view the situation differently. If you’re overqualified, there’s a chance you won’t stick with the company or position long-term.
If you’re applying for a job and you have 10 years experience, yet the job only requires a minimum of three years experience, only highlight work experience from the past three or four years. Additionally, if the job only requires a bachelor’s degree, you can mention you have a four-year degree, but don’t mention your master’s degree.
2. Choose Your Wording Carefully
Don’t say anything in your resume that might scream “overqualified.” For example, if you’re applying for a non-managerial job, your resume shouldn’t include words such as “supervise” or “oversee.”
3. Play Down Job Titles
When writing your resume, be honest about your work experience without revealing too much about your past job titles. You might have 10 years of executive-level secretary experience, perhaps working under presidents and CEOs of companies. However, your resume shouldn’t give off an “executive vibe” if you’re applying for mid-level positions.
Let’s say you’re applying for a job as a general office assistant or secretary. You’ll need to play down your previous job titles to give yourself a fighting chance. Rather than describe your previous job as “office manager,” or “executive secretary,” just put “secretary,” “administrative assistant” or “office assistant.” Likewise, if you worked in sales as an account executive or a sales manager, only put “sales associate” on your resume.
4. Don't List All Your Previous Responsibilities
You might feel it’s safe to list every single job duty you’ve held over the years, but this doesn’t work to your advantage if you’re overqualified. This is one of those times when you’ll need to keep your resume simple and brief. If your previous job involved 15 different responsibilities, only highlight responsibilities that specifically apply to the job you’re applying for. Anything extra will make you appear overqualified for the position.
See Also: Dumb Down Your CV: You are Overqualified
At this point, you’re probably grateful for any job opportunity, even if it means stepping down and making less money. But being overqualified can put the brakes on your resume or application and reduce the number of job interviews you receive. These simple techniques help play down your accomplishments, and it might be easier to find work that’s lower than your experience level.
Have you ever been refused a job because you were overqualified? Did you modify your CV or just look for a job that matched your level of experience?