"I need resume help! I'm over-qualified for a job that I really need to the pay bills. What should I do on my resume?"
Sound familiar? A lot of people are saying this these days because they're applying for jobs that are below their qualifications. Some can't find work in their professions and are forced to look for lower-paying jobs to make ends meet. Others are easing into retirement and want jobs with less responsibility than what they held in their active careers. Still others are being forced out of retirement back into the workforce and they're willing to take any jobs they can find (not always in their former lines of work) in order to support themselves.
So, when you sit down to write your resume, how do you handle being over-qualified for a job you want? Here are some tips:
Delete Items That Make You Look Over-Qualified for a Job
Degrees and Certifications
If they make you look too educated for the job, leave college degrees and certifications off your resume. In fact, if you're going for an entry-level job (the kind of job that states, "high school diploma required"), you could list just your high school diploma (no dates) and don't list any of your higher education.
Don't write about how you were responsible for anything more than what you'll be required to handle on your next job. The worst thing you could do is threaten the hiring manager by looking more competent than she.
If you've had a long career, shorten the work history on your resume so you don't look over-qualified for a job that asks for just a small amount of experience.
Concerned it will be a lie to leave some of your jobs off your resume? Don't worry! You're not expected to start the Experience section of your resume with your first job. Pick a point in your career that makes you look like the perfect job seeker for the type of job you want. (Remember, dates on your resume give clues about your age.)
If your recent job makes you look over-qualified, then perhaps you can leave it off your resume and list some unpaid lower-level work you've been doing.
Lower-Level Wording That's Right for Non-Management Jobs
No Management-Level Achievements
If you're not applying for a management job, don't use any words such as "managed," "supervised." or "led" as these will give the impression that you're after more responsibility and money.
Less Talk About the Bottom-Line
Don't brag about managing budgets, raising money, or making investments no matter how good you are at doing those things. Keep it low-key and appropriate for the level of employment you seek.
Teamwork, Not Leadership
Instead of touting your leadership skills, refer to teamwork. Use words like "coordinated," "co-developed," and "as a team member." This will appeal to your next employer without sending the message that you're after her management job.
I realize this may go against the grain of all you've learned about how to promote your career. But you're in a new ballgame, and these techniques could help you win.