Often people with excellent job skills and extensive years of work experience sit with me and complain that their job search is stretching out far too long. They begin to consider taking jobs below their level of expertise just to make ends meet. Their first questions to me are “What should I do about my resume? Should I dumb down my experience and qualifications to get a lesser level position?”
First and foremost, the answer is “it depends.” It is essential that you tell the truth on an employment application, but your resume can have a few omissions and some ambiguity in it. It might be advisable to omit you have a PhD in rocket science and merely list the school that you attended and your topic of studies. Leave out degrees attained.
Another idea might be to just list the companies for which you worked. Leave out your job title as Director of Operations for The Entire Company. Simply list your “involvement” in the projects that you created, along with some of the accomplishments that you achieved in the process.
Since you create a resume for each position that interests you, your resume will largely be a listing and matching of the skills and attributes necessary to competently perform the job for which you are applying. Therefore, you can leave out those tasks that are not related to the new position.
Of course, when you land the interview and the hiring authority asks you to complete an application, you’ll need to include everything on this legal document, listing job titles and other pertinent information. Your resume has done its job to get you the interview.
During the interview, it’s your opportunity to dispel any fears the potential employer may have about hiring an overqualified individual for a lower level position in their organization. “Yes, Mr. Employer, I may be a bit more qualified than your other applicants, and I’d like to share with you how that could become an advantage for you.”
“No, Mr. Employer, I do not expect to be paid a salary comparable to the one I had at my last position as DOO for The Entire Company. However, I would expect to be paid the going rate that your organization has budgeted for this position. I am anxious to get back to work and make a contribution in the field that I have enjoyed for over 10 years, and would like to make those contributions with your organization.”
Your objective during the interview is to convince the employer that you are truly interested in the work and not the money. That you desire an opportunity to make a contribution to their success, and that they would be well advised to bring you on board and capitalize on your knowledge and expertise. Let the employer know that you have so much more to offer than a candidate of lesser skill and knowledge.
If the employer asks whether you intend to remain with their company, or bolt at the first opportunity to return to a similar position, your response could be that you do not intend to leave. However if you should, as a professional you would always leave the company in a better condition than when you joined it, regardless of the amount of time working there. At the end of the day, what more can an employer ask of any employee?
Sharan Nunn is an employment counselor with Workforce Solutions – Pasadena. With a background as a human resources generalist, she has experience in both health care and hospitality industries, where outstanding customer service equals success. Sharan is a native of East Texas, and has called Houston home long enough to remember when the Astrodome was the new “Eighth Wonder of the World.”