Updating your resume in the midst of a job search can be difficult for individuals who do not have the skills or experience required for a specific opening. It can also be difficult for candidates on the other end of the spectrum who may be overqualified for the opportunities they now seek. We recently received a question on the Beyond.com Facebook page regarding this issue and I’ve also spoken to many job seekers who have expressed similar concerns. How do you tailor your resume for a position that you are clearly overqualified for? Below I’ve compiled some tips that will help moving forward:
- Streamline Experience: Traditional advice says you should include every single accomplishment spanning your work and education history, with the goal of selling yourself to the employer. In this case, however, you may want to leave your PhD or Master’s Degree off of the resume if the open position only requires a Bachelor’s degree. If your career summary highlights 25 years of work experience and the job is asking for someone with 10, align this section and any others to suit the job announcement. Finally, consider reshaping accomplishments that clearly don’t align with your new job target.
- Elaborate on Relevant Skills: While we do recommend simplifying your resume in certain respects, it benefits you to elaborate on the relevant skills and experience that do fit the description. A good way to do this is by crafting a functional resume format that focuses more on your overall skills rather than your chronological progression through your career. See what the key attributes are for the ideal candidate at the company you’re targeting and match that to your resume.
- Nail the Cover Letter: The cover letter is very important for overqualified candidates. Be sure to articulate your excitement for potentially joining the company, passion for getting back into a role that will challenge you, and why this shift in your career will help your work/life balance and thus your happiness as a whole.
- Prepare for Employer Concerns: Should you succeed in getting to an interview for the role you’re targeting, you’ll want to prepare for the questions and concerns your interviewer will likely have: Will you leave this job once a better offer comes along? Why take a job that many would consider below what you’re capable of? Will you be challenged in this position? Clearly explain your commitment to the company long term, your energy to bring your wealth of knowledge to the team, and any factors that might explain why you are targeting the particular position. The way you respond to these questions and many more like them will likely decide your fate.
By adopting these tips, you can tackle the issues of appearing overqualified and losing out on job opportunities. Ultimately you are more than capable of succeeding in the position you’re targeting, it’s just a matter of aligning your resume to fit the description and addressing the employer’s concerns. Prepare your resume, practice interview questions, and execute the strategies and you can’t fail!