For the next three weeks, we will share stories of job seekers who have applied for a scholarship (see the application form here), so you can see how important it is that we get them the help they want and deserve, but can’t afford. Meet Kay*: Q: What’s the hardest part about unemployed long-term?A: Today I hit the official six-month anniversary of being unemployed... I believe the hardest part is the realization that this much time has passed and I am still unable to say that I have found a new position. I never thought this would happen to me--that I would land among the ranks of the long-term unemployed. The hardest part? There are many hardest parts. Unemployment has taken a real financial and emotional toll that is deep and daunting. I engage in a daily struggle to keep my head up, remain positive, and soldier on. I am 57 with a fabulous track record and strong experience in my field--I would be an asset to any agency or institution, yet I fear that my age and my experience may work against me in subtle and less subtle ways. As I struggle to push aside the stereotypes and remain on point and present in my job search, the bills are piling up, and I am becoming worried about the long-term implications--sliding credit rating, making the mortgage, keeping the heat on. To that anxiety, I add the reality that I may have to consider a major move to remain in my field, and that makes me very uneasy--even afraid. So far, I have managed to compartmentalize and push down the fear and anxiety, but the reality is, it is beginning to seep into every effort I make to get back on track in my work life. I have had a good number of interviews, but so far, nothing has clicked. The rejection is staggering! At this stage of my life, will I need to abandon a lifetime spent preparing for and working in my field? If so, how will I do that?Q: What have you been doing to look for work so far?A: Daily: I search the major employment websites for my field; I make use of vertical job search engines; I network in person and via LinkedIn; I subscribe to a number of career newsletters; I strive for self development and professional development using online resources. Weekly: I apply for positions that are a fit for my background, experience, and interests; I stretch to identify and apply for positions that are relevant to my experience yet perhaps not directly related to the work I have been doing throughout my career; I follow up with and reach out to prospective employers; I seek out consulting opportunities; I volunteer at a local agency. Periodically: I attend conferences and networking events.Q: Why do you feel our Job Search Accelerator Program can help you?A: I need outside help in seeing what I may not be seeing about the realities of my circumstances and the efforts that I am making in my job search. I need a new perspective, a renewed "kick in the butt," and additional insight beyond that which I bring to the process--a "reality check" of sorts to help me answer the following questions: Am I doing everything I can possibly do, to secure a new role in my field? Will I need to move into another area of employment? If so, how do I do that?CommentsI subscribe to Peter Weddle's notion of being a "career activist," as opposed to a "job seeker." I wonder whether I am being too idealistic now, with six months' unemployment under my belt. It is so hard to start over, and I really don't want to settle, but the reality is that my savings are dwindling, and I need to bust a move, and soon! Kay* is one of the 30+ scholarship applicants we have received since launching Allies to the Out-of-Work. Want to know how you can help job seekers like her? Harnessing the power of the micro-fundraising site, Indiegogo.com, we launched a campaign to raise $10,000 that will give 100 long-term unemployed people a full scholarship to our Job Search Accelerator Program (JSAP). This program is helping hundreds of people find work. However, it’s not something we can give away for free. So, we are hoping to get donations from those of you out there who: A) Have been out of work recently and know how hard the job search really is. B) Know somebody long-term unemployed and want to sponsor them. C) Care about getting Americans back to work and on their feet.
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.
Need more help optimizing your resume? We're here for you!
We'd love it if you joined our FREE community. It’s 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 write your resume—the right way.
It's time to find work that makes you feel happy, satisfied, and fulfilled. Join our FREE community today to finally become an empowered business-of-one!
This article was originally published at an earlier date.
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.
Need more help navigating workplace relationships?
We'd love it if you joined our FREE community. It’s a private, online platform where workers, just like you, are coming together to learn and grow into powerful Workplace Renegades.
Join our FREE community today to finally become an empowered business-of-one!
This article was originally published at an earlier date.