Even when you have the education and professional background to qualify for the job, don't count on it as a sure win that you will be asked to come in for an interview. In fact, your qualifications may hinder your chances.
It's very common in today's market for employers to dismiss a job applicant's resume because they are âoverqualified."
Sometimes there's an abundant supply of highly qualified candidates but not enough jobs to go around for everyone. In those cases, job seekers may resort to applying for positions where the level of expertise required on the job is below their previous position's requirements. In addition, those making a career change often need to seek out entry-level positions, where there may be more job opportunities.
The challenge for job seekers is not simply competing with so many other applicants but finding a fine balance of information to place on their resume without coming off as overqualified. Employers are mostly concerned that, if you take a lesser position, you will leave once you find a position that is more commensurate with your skills.
Here are a few tips to help guide you in preparing your resume for the next job opportunity and avoid coming off as overqualified and ruining your chances of landing the job offer:
1. Only Include Relevant Work Experience
Focus on what the employer is looking for and show them you can do it. If some of your management experience is not a part of their job description, then don't mention it. This tip is especially critical for applicants moving from one career to another.
For instance, if you had your own mortgage or construction firm and are now just looking for a sales job, just speak to your experience driving sales. You can also change your title from "Owner" to "Sales Manager." As you list your professional experience, be sure to quantify your sales results.
2. Only Highlight Necessary Degrees
Many of today's positions require candidates to have a bachelor's or master's degree. If you continued to pursue education to obtain other degrees, earning you the title of Ph.D., M.D., or others, don't be so quick to include that information on your resume.
You have to ask if it is at all relevant to the job you are applying for. It's great if you moved on to obtain your Ph.D. in neuroscience, but if the employer's business and the job is focused on finance and accounting for toy manufacturing/distribution, your additional education will be of little relevance and may sway an employer to reconsider whether you are right for the position.
3. Explain Why You're The Right Candidate
Write a disruptive cover letter that tells a story about why you're passionate about the position, how you feel a connection to the company, and how your experience, skills, and talent make you the right fit. If there's a chance your resume comes off as overqualified, even after following the tips above, make sure to provide sufficient explanation in your cover letter.
Give the employer confidence that you are challenged by the opportunity and will be there a year from now. The employer needs to know that you are not simply taking the job because you can't find anything better. They also need to be assured you aren't going to be quick to run off to another job as soon as the market improves or another opportunity opens up that is more in line with your level of experience from your previous positions.
Your resume is a marketing tool to help get your foot in the door for an interview. Placing too much information or irrelevant information will only give the employer more reason to dismiss you. Carefully review the job posting and do your research to really understand what skills and experience are desired for the position so that you present your resume and qualifications in the best light. Not everything you've accomplished, regardless of how significant it is, is appropriate to include on your resume.
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.
Are you concerned about age discrimination? While most job seekers fear discrimination by hiring managers, the truth is that youâre more likely to be discriminated against by a computer.
Most 50-something or older job seekers donât realize that the technology they leverage to apply for jobs may be screening them out of consideration. Sadly, this is one of the most common reasons that job seekers donât get the interviews they want and deserve.
Hereâs the key thing you need to know. The databases, or applicant tracking systems (ATS), that employers, recruiters, and job boards use to parse, store, and analyze incoming resumes are capable of estimating how much experience you possess. When recruiters or hiring executives search these databases for candidates with a certain amount of experienceâletâs say 12-15 yearsâthe ATS will screen out candidates who possess anything other than 12, 13, 14, or 15 years. As a result, your resume or LinkedIn profile will not be listed in the resulting candidate search. This eliminates your candidacy before a human even sees your resume or LinkedIn profile.
Please note that while job boards, companies, and recruiters are not intending to discriminate, the technology they are using to organize the flood of resumes they receive is doing so inadvertently. This means that every time your resume is entered into a job board system, company website, or recruiter website, the experience filtering described above may occur. It also means that your LinkedIn profile could be subjected to this same filtering process any time a company or recruiter searches for candidates like you with a specific amount of experience in mind.
If youâre currently in or plan to launch a part-time or full-time search for a new role, take time to age-proof your resume and LinkedIn profile. Three simple changes will boost your candidacy, help you attract more opportunities, and win you more job interviews:
1. Revamp Your LinkedIn Profile Picture
While we strongly recommend a professional headshot for your LinkedIn profile picture (you can get one in most markets for $100-$200), an amateur photographer might work if you know one who takes good portrait shots. The key is an attractive pose that makes the most of your facial characteristics and personality while minimizing any age-related deficits.
If you have silver hair, for example, consider using a dark background or black & white photo to reduce the risk of a washed-out appearance. Select a pose that conveys energy and vitality and hints at the wisdom youth simply canât replicate. Use a full-face smile to project energy with the photo and make sure you dress in interview-ready attire. You want to seem professional yet approachable.
2. Eliminate Dates From Your Education Listings On Your Resume And LinkedIn Profile
Itâs standard these days for most folks over 30 to omit education dates from resumes and their LinkedIn profile. This is easy enough to do on your resume where you can also omit dates of training, certifications, licensure, or affiliations.
In short, omit any date prior to 2000, since most recruiters only want to see the last 10-15 years of your experience on your resume or LinkedIn profile. To achieve this on LinkedIn, go to your profile and then edit your "Education" section. Select the âââoption in the drop-down box for your start and finish dates. Eliminate dates from other sections as well.
3. Remove Pre-2000 Dates From Your Work History Sections On Your Resume And LinkedIn Profile
This is a little more complex but well worth doing. On your resume, list your post-2000 work experience in your "Work History" section and separate your pre-2000 experience into an "Additional Experience" section. For your pre-2000 jobs, omit your dates of employment and list the amounts instead. For example, if you worked at GE from 1992-2000, report that as â8 years.â
LinkedIn doesnât allow members to omit dates from employment so your only choice is to eliminate pre-2000 jobs altogether. Try embedding a short version of older jobs in your first post-2000 listing or briefly noting relevant older roles in your LinkedIn summary. Either tactic will help you win more LinkedIn profile views.
While we donât recommend using online job boards as a key component in an effective job search at almost any age (there are other more powerful and faster ways to create and pursue career opportunities for yourself), the truth is that these systems inadvertently âdiscriminateâ against candidates with more than 15 years of work experience. Unfortunately, this same potential exists on LinkedIn and company/recruiter websites anytime a hiring manager or recruiter conducts a candidate search based on the amount of experience job seekers possess.
The good news is that a few simple tricks can protect your resume and LinkedIn profile from age discrimination and give you greater access to the career opportunities you want and deserve.
Need more help age-proofing your resume and LinkedIn profile?
We'd love it if you joined our FREE community. Itâs a private, online platform where workers, just like you, are coming together to learn and grow into powerful Workplace Renegades. More importantly, we have tons of resources inside our community that can help you update your resume and LinkedIn profileâthe right way.