Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Over-Qualified for Non-Management Job

I have been off work for approximately one year to take care of personal matters. I would like to return to the workforce, but I am over-qualified for the type of positions I would like to apply for.

I was previously in a management position in the hospitality sector, but now I would just like to have a position with no management responsibilities, staying within the same industry.

How do I tone down my resume, so that I will have a chance to have an interview?

Your advice would be greatly appreciated. -- Kathy

by Marc Effron, VP, Talent Management, Avon Products

Kathy, the skills you gained in the management role will certainly make you an outstanding non-management employee. Convincing potential employers of that is going to be a hurdle, but “toning down” your resume is probably not the right direction. I’d suggest a few steps:

1. Emphasize in your resume the skills that will be valued in this new role. If it’s a role with customer contact, provide examples of your customer service capabilities, etc.

2. Have a compelling story and be able to tell it perfectly. The obvious fear of a potential employer is that, while you say you want a non-management role, you might not be happy once you’re in that role. Be able to explain to the employer in one minute, in a clear, compelling, positive way, why a non-management role is perfect for you. Emphasize what interests you about the new role without being negative about the old role (e.g., “I really value more face-to-face time with the customer,” not, “I hated doing all that paperwork.”)

3. Apply in person, if possible. Once you have your compelling story and your new resume, try to get informational interviews with potential employers so you can tell your story in person. If this isn’t possible, put your compelling story into a cover letter with an introduction that acknowledges the step you’re taking (e.g. “When you first read my resume, you might wonder why I’m applying for this job after having been in a management role. I’m interested in this job because . . .”).

I hope that helps. Best of luck in your job search!

Susan Ireland’s Two Cents
Kathy, consider joining LinkedIn where you can meet colleagues from your industry. Because LinkedIn is a network of trusted professionals, you can be honest about your reasons for wanting to “downsize” the amount of responsibility you have in your next job; and hopefully get some good support. It’s also possible that through LinkedIn’s Jobs section, you’ll find a hiring manager with whom you are directly or indirectly connected, and therefore have a chance of applying in person, as Marc mentioned above. Best of luck with your transition back into the workforce!

Job Lounger, do you have a question? Email it to me and I’ll post your question and an expert’s answer here in The Job Lounge.

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