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It's very common in today's market for employers to dismiss a job applicant's resume because they are “overqualified."
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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Disagreeing with other people, without taking a body count or courting disaster, is something most people try to avoid. Nevertheless, we recognize we can't always agree with everything that comes our way—even if it comes from the boss.
Many of us think disagreeing with the boss is one of those career-limiting moves to be avoided at all costs. Think again. Most managers want to think they've hired brilliant people who can think and act well on the company's behalf. That includes not letting them (or anyone else) drive off a metaphorical cliff. This means you are being paid to use your brain AND mouth.
The diversity that takes place in the workplace isn't just about race or religion; it's about ideas, perspectives, and insight. If you are truly engaging in what is taking place at work, it's not possible to agree with your boss 100% of the time.
You can disagree with your boss and make that disagreement a win-win for both of you. You can win because you can use it for career enhancement. The boss can win because they will come off as an engaging manager and get a much better end result.
Here are eight tips to turn disagreement into a great thing for your career.
1. Disagree, But Don't Be Disagreeable
When something strikes you as wrong or out of line, keep your emotions in check. No one, especially the boss, will appreciate an emotionally charged rebuttal. People tend to mirror each other's energy level, and if you turn red and flap your arms, it will be met with equal intensity.
2. Don't Make It Personal
The conversation will go much better if you are addressing the issue or topic and not making your disagreement about the person, your boss.
3. Be Clear About What You Don't Agree With
If you can't articulate what is troubling you about something, wait until you can be clear. If you can't be clear, you will not have a conversation that will make any sense to the other person. A confusing conversation will not leave a great impression.
4. Offer Alternatives
Nothing falls flatter than squashing an idea only to have nothing to replace it with. If you can't think up a better idea, then what good is the disagreement? Sure, you might not like the idea, but if you can't come up with something else, then go with what you have. You have to solve problems to be an asset.
5. Make Things Private
Depending on the setting and issue, you may need to take your disagreement to a private setting with your boss. This allows you to cover whatever you need to, have a discussion, and keep both of you looking good to the rest of the office.
You never want to embarrass your boss; if you do, they will remember it for much too long. They will appreciate your sensitivity and professionalism when you have the insight to know when it's time to have a private discussion.
6. Seek To Understand
Many conflicts and disagreements are rooted in a failure to communicate and understand the other person. When something does arise that doesn't hit you right, ask questions and gain clarity. You may discover that you do agree after all. Doing this will also help you avoid discomfort.
7. Don't Be A "Yes" Person
This is more than simply sucking up to the boss. This is agreeing with the boss at the cost of your character, values, and career. You might think it will enhance your career, but it will backfire against you as the higher-ups see that your contributions are limited.
8. Disagree And Commit
The biggest issue that managers have when employees disagree is their becoming insubordinate and undermining efforts. If you have followed all of these steps and you still have a disagreement, then it's time for you to disagree and commit yourself to whatever is being proposed. After all, the idea or direction might really work out well. Your manager will think you are truly a professional if you can work through your disagreement, offer solutions, and be able to "get on board."
Certainly, out there in the universe are managers with fragile egos who can't tolerate anyone disagreeing with their mandates or directions. They too will only get just so far in their career. Anytime you limit the free flow of thought and contribution, you limit the possibilities.
You need to screen for these people in your job search. If you wound up with a boss like that, you should consider a different team or job. But most managers enjoy discussion and debate as a means of developing great ideas and direction. They understand that disagreement is part of the process.
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.