Friday, March 27, 2009

How to Handle Being Over-Qualified on Resume for a Career Change

I was laid off in September from my job of seven years as a news editor, a path I am not interested in continuing. I have an Associate of Arts degree in graphic design, however I don't want to seek a job in that field as it's very competitive and prone to layoffs at this time.

I see this as an opportunity to start a path to a new career. How can I structure my resume for an internship or entry-level job in a new career field without looking over-qualified?

First, you need to decide what new career you want to pursue. Once you know that, you'll be ready to write your resume. For the sake of this answer, let's say you want to become a political lobbyist for an environmental group. For that objective, I suggest you create a combination resume.

In your job objective statement, do not use the term "entry-level;" simply say "A position." (For example: A position in environmental advocacy.) Doing this will help decrease the disparity between the elevated job title you held most recently and the new one you seek.

In your Summary of Qualifications section, emphasize the transferable skills you bring to the new position. For example:

  • Eager to bring my writing and media relations skills to the political arena as an environmental advocate.
Under your most recent job title (News Editor) in the body of your combination resume, create two headings that support your job objective (for example: Communications and Environmental Issues). Under each of those headings, write achievement statements that are relevant to your job objective. These statements should not speak about management or leadership, as you don't expect to land a management job in your new career. Instead, refer to your experiences as being part of a team, or speak about projects you did independently. In other words, instead of:

  • Managed a team of eight editors and four production staff to publish daily newspaper with circulation of 200,000.
Write something less management-like and more relevant to your new job, for example:

  • As news team member, wrote pieces on wide range to topics including rain forests, glacier meltdowns, and carbon emissions.

Under Education, mention your AA degree, and any classwork that's particularly relevant to your job objective.

Good luck with your career shift!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your help! Believe it or not, I have an issue with writing so the words and how to use them are hard for me to utilize properly. Again, thank you!


Delaware Job Hunters said...

This article reminds me of this quote, "Seasonal unemployment was found to be a state which does not have much employment, for example, rural areas."

But there are career experts who conduct seminars giving advice about the needed skills to compete in today's competitive job market.