How to Market Yourself for a Job When You are Overqualified

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Here’s the scenario: You see an interesting job posting online. You think to yourself, “I have this experience, and I could be great in this role.” You’re considering applying for the position, but then you pause and reflect, “Wait, what will they think? I did this two steps back in my career. I’m overqualified!”

Believe it or not, this is a common dilemma for many job seekers. Talented individuals go through many stages in their careers, and at times, they find value in taking one or multiple steps back. People consider this scenario for a variety of reasons. This post is not designed to answer the question why, but instead to provide direction on the question: how does someone who’s overqualified garner strong consideration from hiring managers?

 

First, it’s important to understand why a company would shy away from overqualified candidates. There are many potential reasons, but I’ve listed a few commons thoughts below.

  • The person is too far removed from doing the hands on work required for the role.
  • This is a temporary step back for the person applying and as soon as an opportunity at their level emerges, they will leave.
  • There’s no way this person would be willing to take direction to do a job they used to supervise. They’ll feel the role is beneath them.
  • They won’t be willing to learn how to do the job “our way” because they’ll insist that their process is superior.

These are just examples of thoughts going through a hiring manager’s head. None of these assumptions may apply to you, but they exist nonetheless. Your goal should be to justify your motivation and interest in the role and, to the best of your ability, persuade them that you are the best person for the job.

 

A few things that may help you in your mission:

  • Instead of a traditional resume format, consider one that bullets your skills. You’ll want to list your places of previous employment as well as titles, of course, but lead with your skills. Focus primarily on the skills that the job posting requires and how you succeeded in those areas.
  • In your bullet points, be sure to highlight your unique accomplishments and provide some quantifiable details related to those accomplishments. Example: As an accounts receivable clerk with ABC Company, I successfully reduced our 90 day accounts by 80% within a 6-month period bringing over 75 customers into current status.
  • Use your objective to communicate a viable message to the company as to why you are looking to make this change in your career and why it would benefit them to consider you. Be brief but honest. Do your best to dispel their concerns about your motivation.
  • Utilize your network. There is nothing more powerful than a referral. Think about how many times you’ve asked friends, family, and co-workers to recommend a store, service, product, etc. People like helping other people. If you know someone associated with the company you’re applying to, ask them to put in a good word for you. You can deliver a message in a resume all day long, but having a neutral party speak on your behalf can speak volumes.

In summary, being overqualified does not mean you are not the perfect fit for the role. What it may mean is that you need to take additional steps to help that hiring manager understand why they would be doing themselves a disservice to not call you.

Written by: John Riddle

John joined the Godshall team, having previously spent 9 years in sales and management as well as 4 years in recruiting. After earning his Bachelor of Business Administration from James Madison University, John spent the last 13 years working and living in Washington, D.C. He most recently managed a recruiting team in the D.C. office for SPARKS primarily supporting HR and administrative roles. John is a member of the professional team at Godshall and recruits for administrative, accounting, legal, Banking, and HR.  A recent transplant to Greenville, John moved here with his wife and two sons. His wife, Laura, is a native of Greenville and Wofford College graduate.

 

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How to Leverage Social Media in Your Career

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We’ve all been witness to how quickly social media can bolster and subsequently destroy someone’s career. Justin Bieber was discovered on MySpace, while Twitter has forever blemished Anthony Weiner’s political career. Every day people are also impacted by their online media presence, but usually in less viral ways. If your primary focus is protecting yourself from a social media gaffe, you’re on the right track but you’re missing some integral ways social media can help you as well.

Facebook

facebookMany people feel that because Facebook is a personal platform, its accoutrements shouldn’t impact the professional realm. I remember the good ol’ days when you needed a college email account to join Facebook and my mom didn’t “Like” every photo I posted.  Unfortunately, we now live in a different reality and you have to adapt. Most recruiters and hiring managers will check Facebook. A few strategies to avoid any mishaps include strengthening your privacy settings and censoring your posts. Much to the chagrin of many, this means removing any revealing selfies, blatant “party pics” and statuses that are polarizing or offensive. If you’re in the heat of a job search, you can even disable it until you’ve secured a position.

Can Facebook help me? You bet. Facebook is filled with people who support you. Don’t hesitate to share accomplishments, projects and goals. Additionally, it’s a great relief to me as a recruiter when someone’s Facebook I’m following up on isn’t littered with obscenities.

LinkedIn

768px-LinkedIn_logo_initialsIf you don’t have a LinkedIn, you’re missing a huge opportunity to promote your services, meet like-minded professionals and learn about career opportunities. More than just a virtual resume, LinkedIn is a great place to share articles that are relevant to your industry and post some blogs yourself without the hassle of a separate account or website. It’s supposed to be interactive, so use it for more than just the profile!

Can LinkedIn hurt me? In short, yes. Make sure that the dates on your LinkedIn profile and the dates on your resume match up. Use a headshot that is professional and flattering. And for goodness sakes, check the spelling on your profile backwards and forwards.

Twitter

indexThanks to the advent of screen shots, an ill-thought-out tweet lives on forever. You should review your privacy settings and stay vigilant about the information you disperse on Twitter. I recommend going back over the history of all your tweets and removing any that are off-color. Are they funny in the right context? Maybe. But consider whether or not your quick-wit is worth losing your job.

Can Twitter help me? Of course! Use this platform to share valuable information about meetings, events, and news. You can also advertise your skills and follow/interact with others in your industry.

Snapchat

240px-Snapchat_LogoMany of us have been burned by that friend who took a screenshot of the ironic and contorted face you sent in jest and then immediately shared it with the group chat (haven’t we?). Spoiler alert: that will always happen. Be judicious in the illustrations and photos you send through this platform.
Can Snapchat help me? Actually, yes. Many professionals share trade secrets and information about their businesses via the “My Story” feature. Send people to your website. Share a beauty tip. Promote your brand.

Instagram

instaI appreciate the privacy features on Instagram and find that typically people are more circumspect about what they post here. However, be wary of posting too many selfies as it can imply narcissism.
Can Instagram help me? Well, where would the Kardashians be without Instagram?

In summary, you have a virtual reputation that is very difficult to mend once tarnished. In addition to protecting it, spend some time strengthening it as well.

How to Land a Great Position in The Technical and Engineering Field

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As you may already know, this is an engineering and technology driven society, more so than any time before. With that said, it is still a highly competitive market for engineers and technical professionals. As a job seeker in this economy, how do you differentiate yourself from other possible candidates when searching for a job?

  1. You must put in the effort and time to research and know the hottest markets and trends (in your geographical area(s) of preference) with regards to your area of expertise. Know which companies are hiring candidates with your similar education, technical skill set and credentials.
  2. Make sure to add the keywords to your resume and cover letter that will accentuate, detail and add the appropriate experience that you have relative the targeted ‘hot markets’. Needless to say, do not embellish these details and make sure to document what, when and where you had this experience/training. Also, be certain to detail your specific professional accomplishments.
  3. Maximize your networking efforts, utilizing personal and professional contacts, professional societies/groups and social media such as LinkedIn. Never stop seeking out new contacts and connections. Often, you are one click away from discovering the perfect career option or meeting the right person to introduce you to your ideal career position and employer.
  4. Once you have zeroed in on your targeted potential employers, make certain you have researched everything that you can about the company including their products, culture, history and trends. This will help you target your cover letter, introduction and resume. It will also help prepare and increase your comfort level for the next important step, the interview process.

Written by: Richard Heard Richard_Heard

Richard Heard has been a technical recruiter with Godshall since 1991. He specializes in manufacturing management, engineering and technical placements. Richard is ASA certified as a Technical Services Professional and a Certified Staffing Professional. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Management and Marketing from the University of South Carolina. In his free time, Richard loves spending his time with his wonderful children, new granddaughter and family. He is an avid fisherman with an emphasis on freshwater trout and redfish.

How To Beef Up Your LinkedIn Profile

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LinkedIn has undoubtedly changed the professional networking landscape since it went live in May 2003 (it is actually older than Facebook by about 9 months….who knew?).

Here are some headline numbers; there are now more than 335 million people on LinkedIn, with 187 million (and growing) unique monthly visitors and 40% of those users check in daily (I know I am one of those!).

There are also plenty of demographic breakdowns of LinkedIn vs. the other sites that you can take a look at too (here’s one for example http://pewrsr.ch/1xMwvDG from the Pew Research Center).

With the continuing explosion of data, along with our access to it, we’ve become a little more adept at “decision scanning” – a term associated with viewing a “page”, identifying with one or two words or phrases, associating those with something visual (like a picture) and then deciding if we want to see more.

So, how can you beef up your profile?

A quick search for “advice on writing LinkedIn profiles” on Google, gave me just over 17 million results. Having read them all, I’ve prepared a condensed list for you…

  1. First and foremost, ADD A PHOTO! According to http://www.careerlism.com, LinkedIn profiles with photos receive 50-70% more inquires than profiles without. Use a picture of you and make it recent. I’d suggest that you make the photo a reasonably professional one. Seeing that it is a professional networking site, I assume there’s no need for me to suggest a dress code…..
  2. The Summary – it is the only area on the profile page where you get to sum yourself up or “elevator pitch yourself”. It also happens to be the first thing people read. It is personal to you and should reflect your personality and in essence–tell your story. Talk achievements and results more than responsibilities and tasks. Make it authentic and write it in the first person, not 3rd. While 2015’s LinkedIn buzzwords/terms haven’t been released yet, try avoiding the 15 highlighted as being “overused” over the last 3 years – creative, responsible, organizational, motivated, driven, extensive experience, strategic, track record, expert, effective, innovative, analytical, passionate, patient and problem solving. Make it punchy, to the point and loud! Now, look at your profile again – will I buy into “Brand You” in 10 seconds?
  3. Join Groups specific to your area of knowledge, job role, interests and get involved in the discussions. Mashable, a site with some really terrific contributors, ran a piece today about how someone was able to increase their profile views by over 400% – take a look at it here – http://on.mash.to/1H3SuHg.
  4. Claim your personal URL if you haven’t already. Mine is http://www.linkedin.com/in/douglasfowler. You can change it at the same place you edit your profile. You’ll see your current ID for LinkedIn (a long web address). Click on the settings “cog” next to it and you can change it there. You can then include it as part of your email signature, leading more people to your LinkedIn profile.
  5. LinkedIn’s self-publishing platform gives members the ability to share lessons learned or comment on industry trends. This will only add to your online credibility within your network and on the site. As LinkedIn says, “Publishing posts is a great way to showcase your professional knowledge, position yourself as a thought leader in your industry and even highlight some of the interesting things your company is doing.”

Don’t finish with your profile page and then forget about it. Make changes, tweak it, look at the profiles of others in your industry and ask for advice if needed (the vast majority of people on LinkedIn appreciate being asked for help or advice). Also, check out your member number by hovering on your profile picture in ANY screen. Move your mouse over the profile picture of you in the top right hand corner and a long, ugly URL will come up – your linkedin User ID number is in the middle of that line).

Written by: Douglas FowlerDouglas