Overqualified? No Job For You!
First, I’d like to apologize once again for the sporadic updates. When you hate your job that doesn’t pay you enough and depresses you (I know, I know, be grateful you have a job because plenty of people don’t have jobs blah blah blah), the last thing you want to do is do more work when you come home. And truthfully, I don’t have much time either, with all the little pleasantries (re: inconveniences) life throws at you. But I digress.
I came across an article from New Jersey’s Star-Ledger that might very well resonate with a lot of the unemployed across America. Basically, according to the article, experience can sometimes work against you. Maurice Paul, 37, worked in construction for two decades, and when he recently found himself out of work, applied to a local Home Depot as a cashier. He went in for an interview and followed up a week later when he found out that the person that he interviewed with felt he was “too qualified” and felt he would leave as soon as he could find a better job. Paul isn’t bashful about that fact either, as he frankly admits he would have done just that.
Paul sent out over 300 resumes in the last few months, including a toned-down resume that doesn’t make him appear overqualified. Paul just wants to get his foot in the door and doesn’t mind starting at entry-level.
The article goes on to say,
“Workers with years of experience, a master’s degree or doctorate, or coming from a relatively high position or salary, face a perverse situation: The characteristics that made them hirable in good times can be a hindrance when competition is fierce for positions at all levels, and workers such as Paul are finding that employers are wary of taking a chance on those who may quit as soon as the economy improves.”
The article points out that the theory that if you are breaking into a new industry or you are under qualified, and then get experience or training. But what do you do if you’re overqualified? The article recommends creating a resume that doesn’t scream that you are going to leave as soon as a better opportunity comes along. Taking a step down from your corporate job and getting into customer service? Emphasize your customer service skills instead of skills that would be relevant to a similar higher-level corporate job.
Lastly, the article states that you shouldn’t give off the vibe to employers or your network that you are settling for a job. Instead, make it appear you are willing to take a step down and you’re actually enthusiastic about your new lower-level role.
When I was on the job market, I endlessly applied to jobs. Although my field doesn’t allow me to apply for as many jobs as say an accountant, I applied for anything and everything. Low-level, mid-level, high-level, and everything in between. I couldn’t help but think my Master’s degree screwed me over as I was too qualified for low-level and under experienced for mid to higher level jobs. I even thought about taking my Master’s off my resume. Eventually I found a job that is probably below entry-level in my field. Although I’m grateful for the start, I can’t do this job forever as I would be undervaluing myself and what I’ve worked so hard to achieve.
Thoughts? Do you feel your experience and education are working against you? How has your job search been going in this market? Have you taken a step down from your previous role?