Summaries are all about perception and appearance. During a downturn in the economy or in a career change situation, many people are forced to seek jobs for which they are overqualified. Understanding what might make you appear overqualified on your resume can help you make adjustments to your resume writing. You need to minimize your chances of being tagged in order to get interviews.
If you’re looking for an affordable entry-level vehicle and a salesperson directs you to a luxury car, the first thing that comes to mind is price. You immediately equate the luxury or overqualified vehicle as more expensive. This is the same conclusion that employers draw from employees.
If you’re ready to buy your $50,000 option-packed dream car and find a new one on sale for just $21,000, you’ll no doubt be suspicious and wonder what’s wrong with that car. This same suspicion arises when an obviously overqualified person applies for a job that pays far below his skills and experience. The employer wonders what is wrong and how long the candidate would stay working for a lower wage. Additionally, these candidates can often be set in their ways or think they know better and be more difficult to train.
What can make you seem overqualified? Typically, you may be listed as such on your resume or cover letter because:
- of their job titles.
- his education goes far beyond the requirements of the position.
- the position is under management and his experience is in senior management.
- the position is entry level and has several years or more of experience.
- the job posting clearly states a level of experience required and you have considerably more.
- Your salary history or requirement is much higher than the pay range of the position.
Matching job titles between your resume and job postings can be critical to landing interviews. Job titles can make you overqualified, even though employers may be comparing apples and oranges. For example, if he has been working as a vice president in a small company with 6 employees, his responsibilities and duties may not be much different than a middle management employee in a larger company. However, because there may be several thousand employees in the largest company and a vice president is considered to be at the top of the food chain with considerably higher pay than managers, he or she may be considered overqualified.
Your job title can also make you appear like a competition to a hiring decision maker. When a department head sees that you have more education or experience than him or her, they may write you off due to personal fear of them. In this case you will never know why they didn’t call you.
What you can do:
While job titles can often be adjusted, be careful not to distribute or post your resumes with too many different titles. This may seem misleading if you ever compare their resumes. Make sure you have your previous employer’s approval and make them aware of any slight flexibility in the title. Title flexibility means making small changes to the title that still describe the position. For example, a vice president of a small company could be a managing vice president, a manager, or a general manager, or he could omit the titles.
Amount or type of experience
Because the amount of experience is a measurable factor, the amount of experience you have is easy to recognize on your resume. When an employer requires a minimum of 5 years of experience, having 7 or 10 years of experience will generally not make you overqualified. In that case, if his experience exceeds the minimum five years, he could be seen as overqualified. If you have five years of experience and are looking for a position that advertises an entry level or one year of experience, you have a good chance of appearing overqualified. All of this can be compounded by your previous job titles and education.
What you can do
When a position is described as entry-level, employers may want a candidate they can train or mold to fit their environment, and often budget the equivalent entry-level salary. If you have extensive experience in the field, you can minimize this on your resume by using a skills or functional format and being prepared to offer explanations in an interview.
Make your skills work for you
Focus on your skills that are relevant to the available position you are seeking. An employer might be looking for an entry-level candidate, just like you might be shopping for a low-priced economy car. That doesn’t always mean they just want entry-level skills. You want to pay the lowest price possible, but hey, if you can get the same car with premium alloy wheels, GPS, leather seats, or an upgraded sound package for the same price, will you turn it down?
Look for any extras or features on the employer’s wish list. These are the bells and whistles that can push the employer off the fence about your resume and get you called in for an interview. What’s great is that employers frequently tell you their bells and whistles wish list in their job advertisements. These abilities are associated with what I call the wish list words. These are words like useful, knowledge of, more, great advantage, desired, beneficial, useful, familiar with, familiarity with, and more.
- experience with Quickbooks software helpful
- knowledge of labor law a plus
- Desired HTML skills
- beneficial business degree
- experience using truck scales helpful
- Desirable familiarity with electronic schematics.
I have also seen the words advantageous and favorable in job advertisements. If you have a special skill or knowledge that the employer has listed as advantageous, desirable, or favorable, you have a golden ticket! Who does not want to be advantageous, desirable or favorable in the field of job search?
These are not required knowledge, skills and abilities, but desired. If you meet the employer’s basic requirements, owning one of these wish list items can be the hot button or deciding factor for getting in. Make sure they know you have these features. Work these items into your resume at the top in the Skills Summary section and in your cover letter!
Amount or type of education
Sometimes a lack of available jobs in a particular field or other reason may require you to seek a position below your education. If the position requires a bachelor’s degree and you have a doctorate, many employers will consider you educationally overqualified. If you are applying for a job as a health assistant and you are a registered nurse, you may have the same problem.
What you can do
After all the hard work and cost, education is not something most people want to hide. If you are severely overqualified by your education, skipping your education is one option, although you might consider a short line of explanation in your cover letters. Explain that you are looking for the position and a suitable salary and why. Offer guarantees of continued employment and if you are interested in advancement opportunities within the company when available.