Local News

Overqualified for a job? Don't hide it, expert says

Posted April 30, 2009 5:52 p.m. EDT
Updated April 30, 2009 6:40 p.m. EDT

— Many laid-off workers face this dilemma: They have more qualifications than available jobs require, and employers can be reluctant to hire a candidate who seems overqualified.

David Walker has worked for IBM and Lenovo and has experience in information technology, marketing and sales. Since being laid off, though, he's open to any job that comes his way.

"I'd rather be in the game than in the stands where I am now waiting," Walker said.

Resume coach Dick Hart said he is seeing people in such situations more often in the resume-writing class he teaches at Wake Technical Community College. Hart said he encourages job-seekers to see all their experience as a plus.

"I use 'overqualified' very loosely. Mostly, it means you are 'better qualified,'" Hart said.

Job-seekers should never dumb down a resume, he said.

"I want you to tell them who you are, how good you are, what you can do for me," Hart said.

People should be direct in cover letters, saying that although they've had previous jobs with big titles, they really want the one for which they are applying.

"I want you to know I really want this job, because I've done it before, I'm good at it, and I really want to work for your company," Hart said.

Include activities and hobbies in your resume, because an employer might have them in common, he recommended.

"It's a game, and you've got to play it honestly," Hart said.

A job candidate should never bring up salary first, especially in a resume, but should have a number ready when a prospective employer asks, he said.

To figure out if jobs could be a fit for you before applying, research how much they are paying in the existing market, and calculate how much you need to make to pay your bills.

"It's a different dynamic, and people who are looking for jobs have to realize that the dynamic has changed," Walker said.