Stick a Fork in Me, I’m Done!

danny-z-02091Part 1 in a series on coping with supposed overqualifications.

I have to admit, this job market is not the friendliest we’ve had. I was talking to fellow blogger, Aleesa, about something we’ve heard recently from some of our wonderful job seekers coming from degreed professions: I’m overqualified, and I can’t even get into an interview. In the rare case that I do, I’m quickly dismissed.

Sound familiar?

Well, it’s sounding more and more familiar with so many of our seasoned, degreed workers facing layoffs and downsizing in the current job market. The fact of the matter is that younger, new graduates are often more appealing to employers (themselves facing a tough economy) simply because they are cheaper on payroll. Well, I could go on and on about the costs of training new employees versus the cost of bringing tenured employees current on their knowledge. The debate gets ugly! (…and that’s just in my head.)

But truly, I want us to think about the issue of overqualification and how we overcome it. Unfortunately, I do not have a magic answer. I can offer some things to think about and hopefully apply.

First, what exactly is your skill set? In a prior blog, I wrote about being able to define your skills and successes in an instant. So, knowing you’ve done your homework, what can you do? How well can you do it? And, how long have you done it? Here’s a sample of my list for my interest in Training/Education positions:




Training and

(3.5 out of 5)


Instructional Design

Expert (4.5 out of 5)



(3 out of 5)


Live Instruction

(4.7 out of 5)


Notice, for my own purposes, I have included a rating system that works well for me. For example, as a Training and Development Specialist as a whole, I feel I score a 3.5 out of 5 in my content area expertise. This isn’t something I would give a potential employer, but as the saying goes “To thine own self be true.” How are you going to understand your qualifications (or overqualifications) if you can’t be honest about your skills?

Now, those who are overqualified might have a line item such as “Line Item Accounting – Expert (5 out of 5) – 29 years of experience”. OR, he/she might have multiple items like this in their skill set summary. The first thing you need to do is take your left hand and grab your right shoulder. Similarly, take your right hand and grab your left shoulder. Now, with a firm and steady rhythm, determination, and some umph! pull back and forth quickly to shake some sense into yourself.

NO ONE knows everything about anything. Break down the skill and make mini-skills from this skill. Detail your competence and experience for each of those skills. Now, that’s some homework. I’ll see you in a couple of weeks (because that’s about how long it will take you) once you’ve broken down your qualifications for reconsideration.

Danny Zendejas is the Hospitality Business Consultant for Workforce Solutions in the Houston metropolitan area. He has over eight years of experience in the hospitality industry and workforce development and is a native of San Antonio, Texas.

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