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Career-Life Times, Issue #60--Overqualified? Flaunt It!
June 30, 2009

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Issue No. 60 -- June 30, 2009

In This Issue:

  • Overqualified? Flaunt It!
  • OMG! Using Text Message Abbreviations on Resumes?!?
  • It Takes Time
  • Resources
  • Worth Quoting
  • Just for Laughs

    Overqualified? Flaunt It!

    The bad economy may have created the "perfect storm" for overqualified job candidates to get hired... if they know how to get noticed among the flood of applicants.

    With so many people looking for work, companies are receiving hundreds of applications for each job opening. They are often able to select the best person from a huge talent pool without having to offer a top salary or other incentives. But at the same time, budgets are tighter than ever and companies cannot afford to make costly hiring mistakes.

    So instead of dreading the "overqualified" label, maybe now's a good time to flaunt it!

    In your cover letter, right at the beginning point out the fact that you have skills and/or experience above those required for the position. You might start with an opening sentence such as:

    As you'll note from my enclosed resume, I'm ridiculously overqualified for the widget polisher position for which I'm applying.

    That's so different from what they read on the gazillions of other letters it will definitely make them sit up and take notice!

    Follow that attention-grabbing sentence with reasons why it's in their best interest to grant you an interview. For example:

    Think of me as a 'super-size' bargain and consider the benefits I can provide.

    Then provide a bulleted list that highlights your benefits while also addressing their fears about hiring an overqualified person (as described in my article, "How to Overcome Being Overqualfied"). For example:

  • I'm looking for a position with fewer responsibilities than I've had in the past, so I can spend more time with my family. This means my focus will be on performing my duties rather than climbing the corporate ladder.

  • I have several years of experience and know all the best widget-polishing techniques. This means you won't need to provide training or continual oversight; I'll be productive from day one and won't be making rookie mistakes that could cost you money.

  • I value job satisfaction more highly than compensation. This means you can save money and get a highly skilled expert at a bargain price if you hire me. Salary is not my primary concern.

  • Unlike today's young employees who change jobs whenever they get bored, I value long-term relationships and loyalty. This means I'll stay with you as long as you'll have me--probably until I retire--and then be happy to train my replacement.

    And so forth, depending on your particular circumstances.

    Right now there are millions of people looking for work. Many of them are willing to take anything just to have a job. Most candidates who are overqualified will downplay or hide that fact, fearing it will prevent them from being considered. But you'll be refreshingly honest and forthcoming while convincing the hiring manager that you, an overqualified candidate, are the best choice for the job!

    OMG! Using Text Message Abbreviations on Resumes?!?

    The other day I was listening to a hiring manager on a radio talk show. I was driving at the time, so didn't catch his name. But what he said was shocking: "I'm seeing a lot of resumes and applications come in with text messaging abbreviations in them, such as using the letter u instead of spelling out the word (you)."

    To my Baby Boomer brain, to do such a thing is inconceivable. And that's not just because I don't speak fluent text or communicate with my thumbs, LOL.

    Your resume and/or application form create a first impression of you that's very difficult (if not impossible) to overcome. Making spelling mistakes or other typos is bad enough... but to intentionally "misspell" words by mutating them into text message abbreviations? YGTBSM! Heck, 90% of hiring managers wouldn't be able to decypher what you've written; 100% of hiring managers will throw such a resume in the trash.

    If you expect to make it to the interview, your resume must be effective, impressive and professional.

    RML: No text message abbreviations on your resume, application, cover letter, or any other correspondence with your potential new employer!

    Beware of Booby Traps

    The same hiring manager I was listening to also revealed a sneaky trick he uses to eliminate job candidates from contention: He gets HR to exchange emails with the job seeker... emails that use text message abbreviations. If candidates take the bait and reply back using similar abbreviations in their messages, those candidates are toast. "Using text message abbreviations shows me they're not professional," he said. "The people I hire will represent me and my company. I'm not going to hire anyone who might send unprofessional messages to my customers."

    It Takes Time

    (This is a guest article by Nan S. Russell)

    The story goes that after one of Ludwig van Beethoven's performances, several people were offering him their congratulations, when one woman commented, "I wish God had bestowed me with such genius." "It isn't genius, madam, nor is it magic." Beethoven replied. "All you have to do is practice on your piano eight hours a day for 40 years."

    That's not the message most people want to hear. Most people would prefer to buy the magazine which headlines, "Miracle Weight Loss Discovery," in the hopes of finding a quick solution before their class reunion, rather than start a daily diet and exercise program. They'd sooner check out a seminar promising, "become a millionaire within months" rather than start a debt reduction, monthly savings plan. And they'd rather put their future hopes in a weekly lottery ticket than in themselves.

    It's an instant messaging, plug-and-play world. Too often we bring that instant gratification thinking into our workplace. We have little patience for the business idea that doesn't show an immediate return. We aren't interested in learning how to do something; we just want to do it. We don't want to hit the singles, just the home runs. We want mastery, money and success. And we want it now.

    But I learned in 20 years in management that there's no Apprentice show in the workplace, where a few months of successful exercises and projects makes you a contender for a six-figure job. The only ticket you can buy to the career lottery is a time-stamped one that takes years of hard work, perseverance and drive to collect.

    People who are winning at working know that.They know they're not going to instantly appear at the top of an organization or be text-messaged a significant salary. They know what happens to them, is up to them. Just like a house is built stone-by-stone, they know they build their own work success step-by-step. They know it takes time, and they use that time wisely.

    People who are winning at working practice and develop their skills while others remain tourists in the workplace. They do, while others think about doing. They achieve goals while others contemplate them. They execute ideas while others are still discussing them. They step out of their comfort zones to try things and learn from them while others stay trapped in repetitive sameness. They bet on themselves by nourishing their talents through hard work and efforts, knowing like Beethoven, that's the only magic to be found.

    (c) 2009 Nan S. Russell. Nan is the author of "Hitting Your Stride: Your Work, Your Way." She has spent over 20 years in management, most recently with QVC as a Vice President. Nan has a B.A. from Stanford University and M.A. from the University of Michigan. She is the founder and president of MountainWorks Communications, as well as an author, speaker and consultant. Visit for archived columns, Ask Nan, weblog, more about Nan's book, or to contact Nan.


    More Articles. You can find more articles on my website by clicking on Article Index. Here are some new ones you might enjoy:

  • Who is Reading Your Executive Resume and Why Should You Care?

  • Always an Interview, Never an Offer?

  • Asking Your Boss For a Raise

    Where Are the Jobs? This is an excellent f*ree Special Report available at that answers these questions about the 3 million-plus jobs employers can't fill: (1) Where are these jobs? (2) What are these employers looking for? (3) Why aren't these jobs being filled? and (4) What do I have to do to get one of those jobs? Go grab your copy here: Looking for a job is tough. There aren't a lot of companies hiring, and few will respond to your job applications. It's a numbers game: you need to apply to a lot of positions to get a handful of responses. But then you need to keep track of all the places you apply. This site allows you to easily record your applications, resumes and cover letter templates; track which job applications you sent, how far they have advanced, and what your next steps are; and set reminders and to-do items for the future, such as interview follow-ups and thank-you emails to recruiters or referrers. A very handy site for active job seekers! Best of all, it's f*ree!

    T.A.P. into CAREEREALISM. This is a fantastic way to get f*ree personalized help from top career experts... in 140 characters or less. Trust me; you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much help can be squeezed into so few words! You'll need a Twitter account (also f*ree), but that's a good thing. You should already have one. (I'll write about that later.) Go watch the video or read the easy-to-follow instructions and start asking questions! T.A.P.

    Best Career Strategies. I have a new blog (this one DOES allow comments), and a new ebook called "The Best Career Strategies of 2009: How to Get Hired and Get Ahead Even When the Economy is Getting Worse." It's super-duper awesome (because of the contributing authors, not because of me), and it's F*REE! Go get your copy here:

    Job Interview Success System. The job market is worse than ever, but you don't have to go it alone. Get step-by-step help, and a big advantage over your competition. All the details are here: Job Interview Success System.

    Worth Quoting

    "Things turn out the best for people
    who make the best of the way things turn out."
    (John Wooden)

    Just for Laughs

    The Economy Is So Bad...

    ... African television stations are airing 'Sponsor an American Child' commercials!

    ... I saw the CEO of WalMart shopping at WalMart.

    ... Bill Gates had to switch to dial up.

    ... Dick Cheney took his stockbroker hunting.

    ... my ATM gave me an IOU!

    ... Hot Wheels stock is trading higher than GM.

    ... Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.

    ... Martha Stewart did a show on creative uses for food stamps.

    ... the Lone Ranger sold his silver bullets on Ebay.

    ... McDonalds is introducing the 1/4-Ouncer.

    ... I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

    ... hobos in Beverly Hills now have to drink tap water.

    ... when Bill and Hillary travel together, they now share a room.

    ... instead of a coin toss at the Super Bowl, they do "Rock, Paper, Scissors."

    So, what did you think of this issue? Any suggestions? Topic ideas? Questions? I really appreciate your feedback. Please send me a note at

    Please forward this to your friends!


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