February 6, 2004, Newsletter Issue #3: When You`re Overqualified - Part 2

Tip of the Week

Getting a job at a company just for a short-term paycheck can become anything from throwing your career off track to completely derailing the career train. But that’s not the only reason some people look to step down or off the corporate ladder. And some reasons for doing it are very valid.

The 40-hour work week for salaried management is a thing of the past. Sometimes people decide that circumstances are such that they can afford the cut in pay in exchange for more time.

I once placed a Director of Pharmacy with a regular client who was president of a 250-bed hospital. From the beginning, the candidate knew – and was willing to take – the significant pay cut involved (it was about $40K). But he’d been doing heavy traveling with a pharmaceutical company and wanted to stay home, because he had two children under the age of 5. He was missing them grow up. He stayed at that hospital 11 years before he decided to move on.

There are now fewer and fewer people doing more and more at each company, and people are burning out. Occasionally they decide they want more balance in their life to pursue other endeavors – developing a hobby into a side business, taking care of an ill loved one, raising their kids, or following an entirely new career line.

If you recognize yourself in these words, don’t succumb to the urge to tone down your resume, drop credentials, or omit career strengths. Yes, you are correct to realize that hiring authorities will be reticent to hire you. They’ll be afraid you’ll become dissatisfied, bored, or decide you’ve made a mistake…..and quit.

But if parking yourself there for a paycheck is NOT your ulterior motive, then your sincerity will work in your favor. Be sure to share the circumstances and thought processes that have led you to this decision. Your interview preparation is especially useful in these circumstances. By knowing fully what you want in a job to be happy, what you are looking for in the company, and what your boundaries are, you can more successfully communicate your reasons for dropping down the corporate ladder.

In addition to this, you need to have thought through why it is to their advantage to hire someone who is overqualified. You already know, going in, that you’ll be taking a cut in both title and pay.
You’ve chosen to apply for a job that gives you the ability to do what you love. Share this with them.

Tell them that what’s important to you is the ability to contribute your expertise and knowledge in order to benefit the organization – and tell them how, specifically, you’ll be able to do that. Not only that, but you’ll be able to hit the ground running, which minimizes training time on the company’s part.

Remember, companies generally DO NOT enter into the equation with the perspective of “we’d be lucky to have him.” In fact, you are in a position of having to prove to them why they SHOULD hire you, even more than the candidate who meets the qualifications dead on. If they come ‘round to feeling lucky to have you apply, it’s because the truth of your decision has convinced them to hire you.

Judi Perkins
Career Guru for Lifetips.com

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