And fast food won’t do ’cause you overqualified.
– Words from the song ‘Children of the World’, sung by Big K.R.I.T.
It’s a little difficult to understand and digest the fact that you got rejected because you were overqualified. But yes, that’s true! Companies think, rightly I might add, that overqualified people accept the job because they just want to be employed and take home a paycheck, and will eventually leave when they land a better job. Therefore, the time and money the company spends in paperwork and training goes waste. If you think from a company’s perspective, you will realize that their thought is also legitimate. But that doesn’t imply overqualified people cannot get a good job again. Of course they can, by applying a little smartness and editing their resume as per the resume tips given below.
Limit Your Goals
You may dream of becoming the CEO or starting your own company in the near future, but right now you want a job! Therefore, I would suggest that think practically and act likewise. You don’t have to forgo your dreams, keep them safe with you, but act according to the need of the hour. Again, I’m not asking you to be fake, but only a little selective while putting your goals down on your resume. If you are applying for an accounts executive position, keep your goals in line with the post, and write that you would strive to reach the top position in the field of accounting, and are ready to work hard for it.
In your case, making a powerful first impression is not the issue. Your resume will ultimately do it for you. What you have to do is just the opposite; downplay your resume a little. By asking you to soften the resume, I’m not intending to say that you have to sell yourself short. You can very well go ahead and highlight your accomplishments, but only those that are relevant to the job you are applying for.
If the job profile is of a non-managerial level, and you mention terms that are in line more with a managerial level job, like supervision, policy making, or staff training, it’s likely that they might find you overqualified to fill the vacancy. Instead, focus more on work-specific points that are demanded of the position you are applying for. For example, if you tell them that your core strengths are bookkeeping, payroll, spreadsheet or database creation, it would earn you more brownie points. You have to research the job well and make a customized resume.
If your employment chronicle spans a whole page or more than that, then it’s high time you cut it short. Like I have mentioned in the previous sections, you have to be very specific as to what (not) to include. If you are switching careers, for example, jumping ship from HR to accounts, then it may be wise for you to drop the exhaustive HR role and responsibilities paragraph.
You may just write the name of the organization that you were working for and the duration. No need to elaborate too much. This is just to show the hiring company that there are no gaps in your employment chronology. If you feel that there are any coinciding points between the two jobs, like report and document preparation, keep them in mind and mention them in your interview, but not on the resume.
You may be a double post-graduate or may have earned the title of Doctor with a PhD, but if it doesn’t go well with the job profile that you are applying for, then you may have to omit these details. I understand that it feels awful to simply whitewash the hard-earned degree off your resume, but you have to do it. Let’s assume that the job profile in question is of finance and accounting in a clothing manufacturing company. You hold a master’s degree in commerce as well as business management, along with some short-term courses and certifications in accounting.
The HR department knows that you are ‘more than capable’ of filling the vacancy, but what they will also realize is that you are just trying to compromise for a short period of time, and may leave as soon as you get a better opportunity. It would force them to reconsider your candidature.
Even after drafting your cover letter properly, if you find that it may give a hint that you are overqualified, you can mention that the reason you want to give up your current job is to ‘improve the quality of your life, by reducing the stress and the long hours that are usually demanded by higher level jobs’. If you are pursuing any hobby, you can write that you wanted to give ‘your innate flair for writing’ a chance, therefore, want to opt for a less stressful job.