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Employment Tips

What If You Want A Job But You're Overqualified?
By:Melanie Szlucha

We’ve all been in that position. There are times in your life when you just need a paycheck to keep food in the fridge and gas in the car. You tell yourself that you’ll take any job and love it—you’re just that desperate.
So you apply for some jobs, and even go as far as to hide some of your experience in an effort to dumb down your resume.

But is that REALLY what you want?

Many people take a job they’re overqualified for to just pay the bills. That is perfectly acceptable, as long as you’re honest with yourself about your reasons for taking that position, and don’t harbor any delusions that it will turn into some grand new career launch pad. However, convincing the employer of your intentions while in the interview can be tricky. Chances are when they meet you they’ll have the sense that you are more than what is on your resume. Your best defense is to try to explain your intentions. Saying that you’re desperate for funds is not going to win you any points, but addressing the interviewers’ concerns upfront is your best defense. You can say that it might seem odd to them that you are applying for this job, but at this time in your life this job is a good fit for you. You can say that you’re looking for a job with flexible hours, a shorter commute, a chance to improve your computer skills—turn any quality of the job into the benefit that you were looking for that enticed you to apply. You can follow up by saying that this flexibility or the ability to enhance your skills allows you to work on your degree, spend more time with your kids, whatever. The formula here is simple.

1. Address the concerns that you’re sure are going through their minds. It’s OK to bring this up yourself in the interview.

2. Mention a specific benefit of the job that you are applying for.

3. Show how this benefit fits into bettering your lifestyle at the moment.

The big don’t with this, is to NOT promise that you’ll be there forever, and don’t oversell yourself that this is the complete perfect job for you. You want to avoid the scenario that three months down the road, your situation has changed and you’re ready to leave, but you feel badly about the lofty promises you made to get the job.
If you’re taking the job to get the necessary experience for a career switch, be honest about that as well. Emphasize that you bring expertise in different areas, and that you have a genuine interest in learning about this new career. Recognize that there are some parts of this diminished position that you won’t like and that you’ll need to pay your dues all over again. But keep your long term goals in mind and you will get through it successfully.

The key is to be honest and open.

Melanie Szlucha

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