SAGE ADVICE FOR RESUMES, INTERVIEWING, AND MORE!
- By bruce w clagg
Something near one-third of my resume clients continue with some amount of interview and/or career coaching. I’ve authored thousands of resumes and coached more than 900 clients in the past 11+ years. Prior to becoming one of the only two, as of this writing, Certified Professional Resume Writers, Certified Employment Interview Professionals, AND Certified Professional Career Coaches in Texas, I was a VP/GM in the high-tech sector for more than 30 years. My clients come from everywhere!
During those thirty-some years I reviewed more than 30,000 resumes and interviewed more than 8,000 candidates. Those numbers are absolute minimums as I never documented those activities.
Bottom line – As a former, senior, hiring decision-maker (DM), I write and coach to that audience and not so much to Human Resources, or third-party recruiters that cannot hire you, but review and vet your resume, decline the majority and pass along the remainder. No disrespect intended as many of my clients are excellent HR and recruiting professionals and they have important work to accomplish.
Back to the title, above, since my clients experience this more often today than in the past. Let’s take stock of the candidate’s situation:
If you honestly believe that your professional history does not match all, or most of the above because you DO have a host of achievements and experience, an undergraduate/graduate degree(s), pertinent certifications for your profession, then you will probably be screened-out by HR, or a recruiter as being “overqualified.” “Why? Do they want someone that is ‘underqualified’?” No, the DM wants a relative rookie because of many, possible reasons. Please note that YOU may be worth $X, but the JOB is not worth $X!
The other possibility:
Ah! So the only “dent in your armor” is that you want to take a lateral step, or a step backward in your professional career. The reasons could be numerous, but you’ve achieved a level that you either want to keep (because you are very proficient; your hours are reasonable, etc.), or you believe that you don’t want the pressure/long hours anymore and enjoyed your former position?
Margaret Wolfe Hungerford once wrote “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Meaning something attractive to one person may be unattractive to another. That is what you, the candidate, face now.
Most DMs, if they received your resume directly and you didn’t click “Apply” on a job posting, are expecting a resume from someone seeking a promotion, or at the very least a lateral position with greater compensation and/or perks. If you clicked “Apply,” an HR Generalist, or a recruiter likes your resume, but has concerns, (s)he will/may call, but will they quickly deem you as “overqualified” when the call is terminated, or, occasionally will/may ask you “why are you willing to take a lateral move (or a professional step backward)?” You will need a cogent response similar to those below.
You should, by now, be able to predict, with a high level of certainty, that if you are “older,” have an advanced education, years of experience and achievements, the new position is not a promotion, and just want something different in your life, that you probably will be deemed as overqualified – normally not told so in print. Be prepared!
Your brief, cover letter (email), not your resume, should address this. First, your “market brand” and then the position title, industry, and location that you’re seeking. Then, “I am fortunate to be at the point in my professional career where this position is a perfect fit for both parties as I can perform at a very high level and assist the company in promoting corporate growth,” or something similar. Or…”I realize this position is a slight reversal from my current (or most recent position), however I want to pursue this challenging position since I know that I can perform with excellence and little, to no training, and I have the expertise to prove it. This is not a demotion for me, but a chance to do something that I completely enjoy and can help others, if requested,” or the like.
Remember Ms. Hungerford’s statement above. Different DMs will judge your documents differently, but IF you fit the requirements/qualifications of the position and you are told that you ARE overqualified, it is fair to ask “…why and where do you believe that I am overqualified?” Perhaps a dialog here will overcome their fear of an unhappy, future employee? Be honest, but not to a fault!
Hello! I'm Bruce Clagg,
Advanced Career Solutions
Advanced Career Solutions (ACS) is a professional resume writing services firm also providing unique, job interview training, LinkedIn Profile rebuilding, career counseling & coaching from the ONLY certified professional* in Texas. - Bruce Clagg, Rapid Employment & Career Management Coach
*The four Certifications are noted within.