When you are overqualified for a job on paper, find a way to make a personal connection in the hiring organization.
Q: Three years ago, I was rejected for a job I really wanted. Based only on my resume, they apparently concluded I was overqualified. I understand this position will soon be available again, so this time I would like a chance to interview.
The job is with a nonprofit organization whose mission I strongly support. With 30 years of experience in software development, I believe I could be extremely useful to them. Although the description is for someone much more junior, I have no problem with that.
After three decades in the corporate world, I’m ready to use my talents for a worthy cause. I am also no longer the hard-charger that I used to be, so I would prefer a job in which I already have the required skills. How can I increase my odds of finally getting an interview?
A: When your background doesn’t match the stated qualifications, sending in a resume is not the way to go. After a quick review, it will probably wind up in the digital equivalent of the circular file. So to become a serious candidate, you must find a way to make a personal connection.
Accomplishing this goal will require all your networking skills. After making a list of contacts, get in touch with anyone who might help you connect with this organization. Your ultimate objective is to discuss your interest and expertise with someone involved in the hiring process.
Follow up this conversation with a carefully crafted resume and cover letter. On the resume, be sure to highlight the most relevant aspects of your previous experience. After 30 years, consider omitting some of your earliest jobs. Use the cover letter to reiterate your sincere belief in the mission and your desire to contribute.
Finally, when you do get an interview, be prepared for the inevitable question about why you’re considering a career reversal. Describe the many reasons for your attraction to this job but avoid any hint of a desire to slow down.
Submit questions to Marie G. McIntyre at yourofficecoach.com.