Many veterans tell me they are fed up with being rejected for being "overqualified" and don't understand why this is such a bad thing.
Perception vs. Reality
Some applicants believe Hiring Managers are intimidated or fear that the candidate will take their job, but for me, it was never that at all. In the past, when I determined a candidate was overqualified, it meant that I didn't believe the position would hold their interest, challenge them enough, or pay what they're worth. Hiring Managers have to be careful not to hire people who won't stay with the company because turnover costs a lot of money. I know some veterans are still trying to figure out what they want to do and "will take anything" until they decide, but employers need to make sure the positions they are filling aren't just a placeholder until something better comes along.
Would someone who manages a CVS undoubtedly be qualified to dispense medication?
If a candidate feels they appear overqualified, they should refocus their résumé to highlight the requirements of the position to which they are applying and not those at higher levels. Many veterans have had leadership roles and describe managing, mentoring, and supervising personnel throughout their résumés. If I'm hiring someone to complete specific tasks and not someone to manage the staff that completes them, their management experience is irrelevant to me and doesn't prove they possess the skills required to complete the actual tasks. Don't think of it as dumbing down your résumé. Think of it as keeping it relevant.
Write your resume for the position you want, not the jobs you've had.
I once had a retired Colonel tell me he wanted to be a Supply Clerk without any supervisory responsibilities. When I reviewed his résumé, it was covered with extremely impressive high-level accomplishments. I asked him, "Have you ordered pencils? Have you forecast how many pencils are needed annually? Have you sourced vendors to find good quality pencils at affordable prices? Have you inventoried on-hand supplies and made sure you never ran out pencils? Have you confirmed and tracked shipments of pencils? THAT'S what your résumé should include." Keep it relevant. Keep it simple.
Ease their minds.
In addition to a well-targeted résumé, you can write a cover letter explaining why you're applying for the job to address the concern that you'll bolt at the first offer of a higher salary. Try explaining that you were able to learn your previous job from the bottom up and are excited to do the same at ABC, Inc. Preparation is key and if you don't know the internal structures and processes of a company, you can't be as effective in leadership roles. Statements like this show humbleness and an eagerness to apply the skills you have to grow with the company. It says that you will look for those opportunities when you know you are capable of excelling at them, and I'd hire that "overqualified" candidate any day.
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