I have been told I have been overqualified often when I am turned down. Here are the steps that I take to be more attractive to companies.
- Only have a decade of experience on your resume/LinkedIn profile. When you have more than this they think that you are too expensive and that you will jump ship with a better offer.
- Emphasize that you are an individual contributor and downplay any managerial experience you have. You can say you are just a “mentor” or a part-time fill-in for a higher position. In this way, people who don’t have much management experience feel they can manage you and you won’t show them up.
- If you have glasses don’t wear them on your profile, and don’t wear them in the interview. Glasses always make people look smarter.
- Try to limit any big words in your resume. Don’t use any big words in your interviews with recruiters/HR/screening people. I have used words that bosses don’t know and they are embarrassed and too proud to say they don’t know. When you make someone feel stupid, you don’t get a job.
- Compliment people’s experience and wisdom in reaching out for help. Try to show them that you are sympathetic to their issues and that you care already about the job. If you can research something you don’t know about the job and share that you are already researching about the job because you want to “hit the ground running.” People love to hear that.
- Delete any degrees that you might have above a standard BA/BS. Depending on the type of job, you might want to delete the degree entirely. If you aren’t getting the job, then delete the degree and if asked tell the truth but don’t volunteer your advanced education. People think you are bragging when you share you have advanced education, certifications, or anything like that. There are many insecure hiring managers out there who are afraid for their jobs.
- If you have worked in diverse industries and don’t have the specific industry experience you want, share how what you have done has transferable skills to that industry. Speak expressly about the skills they want and how you have had hands-on experience with them. People want people who have hands-on knowledge, not gained from a book.
- If they need a college degree and you don’t have one, a good recruiter can argue for your experience. You have to impress the recruiter, so you need to give them a reason to have them take a chance on you. Be good at some skill, and don’t be afraid to tell them the skill you are best at and how that skill can help you in that job. People want strong skills and a specialist more than a generalist.
- If you have worked in different kinds of employment from consulting to full-time then state that upfront. When they look at your resume they may be confused about why you have shorter positions on it or frequently change jobs. A job hopper is still a negative quality to many hiring managers and they think you will change from their job as well. You can point out that companies have financial issues which are true, and that you joined a company while it was having financial issues. You can also state that you wanted career growth and that is a valid reason as well. What you can’t do is give them the impression that you are hard to deal with or a problematic employee. Refer them to your LinkedIn character references and always be charming and respectful.
- If you got fired from a position great. Own it and state the reason. I was let go once because I was told I was too much of a leader. That isn’t a negative for many companies. The reason you were let go is often not an issue for another company.
These are some ideas that have helped me get positions in which I could continue to help others and be of service. Good luck!