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5 Resume Tips For Any Overqualified Candidate

5 Resume Tips For Any Overqualified Candidate

Looking for a job isn’t easy, but putting together a well-written, eye-catching resume is a great way to start. While some people struggle with what to put on their resume since they may lack experience or education, others have the exact opposite problem–they may have too much experience or education for the job they’re applying for, giving the impression that they’re overqualified. But don’t give up hope; your resume can still make it to the top of the pile.

Here are five resume tips for overqualified candidates that can help them land an interview where they can sell their skills in person.

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Simplify

Let’s say you have 20 years of total work experience, but only five of those years relate to the job you’re applying for. Or maybe you have a master’s degree, but the job only requires a bachelor’s or associate’s degree. Keep your resume simple and leave off unrelated experience and education, focusing only on what jobs and degrees relate to the one you’re applying for. If you decide to include it to avoid questions about an employment gap, keep the explanation very short–perhaps just the job title and the dates you worked.

Choose words carefully

If applying for a non-managerial job, shy away from using terms such as supervision, overseeing, and other words that give off a managerial vibe and may lead recruiters to put your resume in the “overqualified” pile. Instead, focus more on work-specific skills that the job you’re applying for requires. For example if applying for a job in accounting, mention your strengths in bookkeeping, payroll, spreadsheets, and databases. Discuss your skills in concrete ways and explain how they relate to the job you’re looking to fill.

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Customize

You’ve heard you should customize cover letters for each job, and the same is true for resumes, especially when you have more experience than required. If you have a lot of experience, focus on what skills relate directly to the job you’re applying for. Leave off that extra information and focus on the skills, education, and experience you have that are a match for each specific job.

Play down titles

If you were a manager at a previous job and are now looking for something without a title, seriously consider leaving past titles off your resume. Instead, list the company’s name, how long you were there, and key job duties (although you may want to limit the words “supervise” or “manage” as discussed in tip #2). By focusing more on what you did, rather than the job title, you’re less likely to get that “overqualified” label.

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Pair it with a great cover letter

A resume is only part of the job hunting equation. You also need a compelling cover letter selling you as the ideal candidate. This is the obvious place to say you’re excited about the job opening and committed long-term to it. Sometimes, hiring managers shy away from candidates who appear overqualified since they may erroneously think they are only going to take the job until a better one comes along. Come out and state why you’re interested in the job and how you see it fitting with your long-term goals.

In today’s tough employment market, job seekers need to work harder than ever before to match their skills, experience, and education with what a specific business is looking for. Take a serious look at your qualifications and the job description and see how well you can match words and phrasing to make yourself to appear to be the ideal job candidate and get you an interview where you can sell your skills in person.

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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