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Being Overqualified Can Kill Your Job Prospects: Toning Down Your Resume
Rejection from jobs for being overqualified is a far more serious situation than usual joblessness. The reason is that overqualified candidates are usually senior people or at their mid-careers. Continued rejection can quickly ruin their careers, as gaps in stellar resumes are harder to explain, and growing age starts to work against them. In spite of all the laws and regulations, age-bias exists in workplaces and there are few employers ready to accommodate a senior executive in a line job.

From the employer's perspective, overqualified people are unreliable, for they are prone to use jobs beneath their station only as stopgap arrangements, and the employer cannot entertain such waste of company resources. However, the truth does not change the reality of a jobless person or a jobseeker, who faces rejection for being overqualified. The only thing that can be done is to gloss over the ''overqualified'' part by toning down both resume and attitude and putting up a front acceptable for the job applied for. This article discusses some points that a candidate should look into for avoiding rejection due to ‘more than required' qualifications or work-experience.
  • Create a short but all-encompassing objective statement: Try to make it sure that the recruiter finds what he or she is looking for within the first few lines of the objective statement. Finding required keywords and things that the recruiter is looking for at the very beginning can kill the interest to look further down the resume except for scanning the headings and subheadings. Remember that if you hold a Master's degree, there is no compulsion to mention that in the objective statement if the position is for a bachelor's degree holder.

  • Use bullet points and paragraphs of similar volume: When information is presented through bullet points and having paragraphs of equivalent volume, readers have a tendency to visually scan rather than read through the document. Headings, subheadings, first lines, and bold characters are really the only things that catch attention, if the recruiter has already found what he or she is looking for in the first paragraph of the resume.

  • Use addendum: Keep your resume short, sweet, and relevant, and move all risky information to addendum.

  • Temper the expression of your qualifications: Do not mention irrelevant qualifications and tone down qualifications that are more than what the employer is looking for. It's all in the play of words. A Masters Degree holder can also place himself or herself as a Bachelor's degree holder in relevant/irrelevant subjects with post-graduation in ''such and such.'' The trick is to elaborate on the subjects, or college of the Bachelor's degree at the beginning to deflect attention, and tone down the existence of the Master's degree to post-graduation. There's no guarantee that will work, but that's the best you can do. And it does not harm to take the chance.

  • Put work experience before qualifications and divide it into parts, mentioning the relevant part first: Now suppose you are a marketing manager going for a salesperson's job. Your achievements and experience as a marketing manager is irrelevant and would rather hamper than enhance your prospects. It is better to divide your entire work experience into periods like, two years of consumer item sales, three years in consumer item marketing, four years in marketing logistics etc. Then take that whole bunch, and if you want and you can say ''two years of experience in hardcore consumer items sales backed by further experience in associated functions.'' There's nobody in the world who can deny that marketing is an ''associated function'' of sales, but you need not make people wiser unless they ask specifically.

  • Always be honest at physical interviews, but don't raise issues by yourself: Don't raise issues and start explaining things unless asked for. If the employer feels that he or she needs to ask about something or clarify some point, they have the freedom of choice to ask you and receive an honest answer.

  • Be humble: Forget about your past status. Dress and act in consonance with the job applied for.
There can of course be many more points one can look into, but these are the points that come first to mind when trying to solve the situation of an otherwise ''overqualified,'' jobseeker. You need to learn from the examples and suggestions given and apply it according to the instant case.


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