January 30, 2004, Newsletter Issue #2: When You`re Overqualified - Part 1

Tip of the Week

Letís face it Ė the economy has been lousy for a while, and itís not showing signs of picking up. Some people who have been laid off Ė or downsized, as itís now politically correct to call it Ė are sending out resumes for anything and everything, including jobs for which theyíre overqualified.

When is this wise? When is it not so wise?

Itís not so wise when you are desperate. Itís not so wise when you think the company ought to be glad to have you because of your expertiseÖ..but youíd be glad just to have a job! Itís one thing to do some waitressing for a while, or pick up some time in retail sales. These tend to be high turnover spots anyway, and the coming and going of people is somewhat expected.

But if youíve been a VP and are applying for a Director spot, or a Director and are applying for a Manager or Associate position Ė even if you DO have a genuine reason for wanting to step into a smaller pair of shoes - your motives will be suspect to the hiring authority.

If you donít see yourself in that job long term and all youíre doing is buying time, do both yourself and the company a favor and donít even apply. Even IF you are able to convince them to bring you on (and more on how to do that next week Ė for when the desire is genuine), youíre just buying time until something more suitable comes along.

Think long term, instead of just thinking about NOW. To get hired, youíll have to convince the people why you want to work there, why you want to stay, and why you arenít going to leave if something better comes along. Doing just that in the next 6 Ė 9 months isnít going to endear you to the company. So what kind of a reference do you think theyíll give you?

If your track record with your other employers is stable, one short hop isnít going to be too detrimental. But combined with the reference information, a few long-term stays at high level positions and then a short one at a lower level doesnít give much support to whatever theory YOUíRE going to put forth at your next interview, does it? So by association, your decision making ability is suspect.

But you could leave it off your resume, couldnít you? And just sort ofÖ.fudge the dates on your other positions? But reference checks always cover date verification, so thatís going to raise a question mark. And wasnít that short stint at a company thatís in your industry of expertise? Youíd be surprise who knows whom. Can you hear it now? ďBilly Bob worked for you? Phil at Traveling Trees just interviewed him. Billy Bob never mentioned you guys!Ē

Aside from possibly coming back to haunt you, itís inconsiderate. The company will be putting time into training you and making you part of their team. What makes you think they want to go through the entire hiring and training process again just because itís no longer a convenient place for you to park yourself for a few months?

Ultimately, your relationship with your company is about trust. You trust them to provide you with the tools and environment to do a job on their behalf and to pay you for it - and they trust you to represent them honestly and to do the job to the best of your ability. If youíre only marking time for a salary, thatís a violation of their trust. And how good of a job will you be doing anyway if youíre only hanging out until something better comes along? Job performance, by the way, is another part of the reference check.

You can see the strategy of taking a job for which you are overqualified JUST TO BIDE TIME and have a paycheck is a strategy that goes nowhere fast. Donít louse up your career track. If youíre going to take a job for which you are overqualified, do it for genuine reasons. Weíll talk more about that next week.

Career guru for Lifetips.com

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