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Help for overqualified job seekers in a difficult market
* May leave as soon as he or she finds a job commensurate with the higher qualifications.
* May continue looking for employment with a higher salary.
* Has never been promoted by previous employers.
* Has not explained why he or she seeks a lower level position.
“If you have a lot of skills, it can be helpful to organize your resume into a functional resume format,” Decker says. “Rather than presenting information in chronological order under each position held, highlight your skills and accomplishments as they pertain to the position you are seeking.” You can include the companies you have worked for in the past without emphasizing titles that may raise concerns. Quintessential Careers, a website dedicated to empowering job seekers, supports this tactic for overqualified applicants.
“Tailor each resume to include the attributes the prospective employer seeks,” says Decker. “Highlight the things that show you are qualified, not overqualified.” Be sure to include characteristics of your personality that show you are motivated, a team player and dedicated to performing the job effectively. Along with a positive attitude, these soft skills can help define you as an asset.
Never underestimate the importance of joining a professional association. “People who know you can vouch for your experience and value to the company, even though your qualifications may be higher,” Decker says. “This is one of the best ways to overcome negative perceptions.”
“Prospective employers call your references, check your background and criminal history, and speak with the company where you last worked. Be honest about the reasons you left, and make it known that you are flexible about salary in a new position,” Decker says. “Today’s economy makes this a reality.”