I Am Desperate for Work, but Overqualified for Most Jobs

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I Am Desperate for Work, but Overqualified for Most Jobs

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Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother,

I was laid off from a high-end job in an industry hit hard by the recession. I’ve been applying and interviewing for months with little luck. I think companies are scared off by my former fancy title and high salary. There are also a lot of people who look enough like me on paper. Honestly, I’m so desperate that I’d be willing to take a major pay cut and do work that I’m overqualified to perform. Any suggestions for “dumbing down” my resume in order to get the job? Should I offer to work free for a month?


Dear Desperate:

Customize your resume and cover letter for each job before you apply. Yes, it is a lot of work, but the time invested is well worth it. Just keep thinking: 100 qualified people for every job.

Make your resume look as much like the posting as you possibly can. Assume that whoever is culling the piles of applications takes maybe 10 seconds to scan a resume to look for the keywords that match what they’re advertising. Even if the position is two steps below what you did, apply, apply, apply for everything. Write the same job title that they’re advertising, even if you used to supervise their supervisors.

Assuming you get an interview, explain that though you may appear overqualified you bring a lot to the table, and they’d get a bargain by hiring you. Say that you offer management experience at a staff wage.

Their greatest fear will be that you’d bail for more money and they’d lose their investment. Rather than offering to work for free for a month, offer to start at the bottom of their pay scale, not take a raise for a year, and sign a one-year commitment to stay. If they don’t think you’re worth it, let them discount your final paycheck.

Do a good job, and then see if there’s a place to grow; or, after that year, go elsewhere, assuming the market is better.   

YourJewishFairyGodmother.com: What does she do? What do you need? Motivation. Inspiration. Support. Problem-solving.

This article is from WorkingWorld.com