Question From The Job Seeker

I am one of the many victims of corporate downsizing caused by global economic meltdown. Despite of the large size of my company and myself being well-qualified and well-experienced (rather an expert in the field), my manager decided to make me a scapegoat of the downsizing. In spite of loosing heat, I showed great patience and mustered up courage to apply for job opportunities in other companies. I mapped out a special strategy for my job hunt i.e. applied for relatively smaller companies so that my chances for getting the job would multiply. One after the other, I sent my resume at number of medium-sized companies with complete confidence in my professional profile and my expertise. However, to my utter disappointment, my job search resulted in a total failure! Even then, against all odds, I did not give up and tried to discover the reason behind this failure. After a little effort, I realized that the reason for my resume being turned down was my “over-qualification”.

I am very upset because of the circumstances. I really need a job to keep the wheels of my household moving. Also, I do not want to apply in a large company as I already had a bad experience with them. Please suggest me as how can I make myself acceptable for the moderate-sized companies.

Ali Raza Qureshy

Answer From Rozee Team

Dear Ali Raza,

Your problem is very unique and interesting. In the prevailing job market situation, professionals often consider openings that are less lucrative and less prestigious than their last job. Sometimes employers are glad to hire well-experienced workers at high benefits, however, most of the times the employees dismiss such candidate as being over-qualified.

The employers’ fear behind an overqualified candidate is that if you are hired, you will be searching for a better job before you even learn the basics of your company, and also that an over-qualified candidate might ask for heavy financial benefits. However if you really want the job, there are ways of countering the perception that you’re too good for it.

•    A resume is not a document carved in stone, you can always rewrite your resume according to a particular job, and that may mean taking down the irrelevant experiences and emphasizing exactly the skills needed in the new job. To tune your resume and cover letter, consider including relevant words and technologies.

•    Do not lie about your job history; however, what you ‘can’ do is not to mention your previous salary just to ‘get in the door’ (unless you are filling out an online form). Most hiring managers go right to the subject of salary in order to comb out the expensive candidates. If you were working as an executive earning a handsome amount, do not say you were a junior accountant. Also, instead of addressing salary in the cover letter or interview, you can say, ‘I assume that the company will pay competitive salary for the job’, which is a softer way to explain the matter.

•    Clearly explain why the job will be good for you. Have good and logical reasons as to why it would benefit you personally and professionally to work in that company. If the position is in your area of passion, or if the job is a good career fit, the employer will be much more impressed.

•    Employers look for the right energy and attitude for their company. One way to turn around all your negativities and impress the interviewer at the same time is to come prepared with keen questions about the job duties and the company. Show them that you are in touch and engaged with your field and understand the needs of the company.

•    Just because you earned more and had greater responsibilities in the past does not mean that you are over-qualified for this job. If you meet or exceed the criteria, you should consider yourself highly qualified rather than over-qualified. In other cases, if you do not meet all the requirements, e.g. you are required to use a new technology you are inexperienced in; you may actually be under-qualified for such a job.

Remember, the employer is looking for a good fit, and that means cultural and personal fit in addition to professional fit. Likewise, your network and personal references can speak volumes for your ability to fit in. No matter how over-qualified you are, the best way to impress a hiring manager is showing how well you understand the prospective company’s immediate problem and how you can be the right solution.

Best of luck with your job hunt!

Rozee Team

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