EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

I have often been heard to say that it’s always better to be working.

Being overqualified for most of the jobs published out in the world can be a little unsettling. But, I think you just have to accept it as a fact of life that once you have 20-30 years of work experience, you have probably done everything at least once. The new and exciting part of your work life is now in doing the same things you have done before, but with different people and in different companies.

The model that most of us have in our minds is based on our experience. (What else could it be based on?) The experience for many of us baby boomers is that we went to work for a large company early in our career and then got promoted and promoted until at some point our division was sold and we were out on the street looking for work. What is unique about large companies is that there is the opportunity to move up the ranks in small increments. Out in the cold cruel world, such gradations simply don’t exist. Therein lies the problem.

What you need to understand and accept is that being overqualified for most things IS your product advantage. You are fully trained and ready to do the job from day one. The customers for your services are actually the ones who are hung up on this issue. For the most part, I find that members being interviewed are surprised when the topic is brought up. Don’t be caught off guard by the stupidity of other people. If you know what you want in life, you need to fight to get it.

A good salesman learns to anticipate and to listen for customer objections. If the job in question is one you know how to do, if the people are nice, and the money on the table will satisfy you, there is no reason you can’t win the day if you play your cards right.

The urban legend is that someone who is overqualified will leave for a better job once the market turns around. I’m sure there are examples of this happening. After all, someone does win the lottery every day. But, put in the context of your “competition,” who do you think will stay longer? Someone in their 30’s with a great career track ahead of them and the need to move on, or you? I would also ask the question of who will have a greater positive impact over the next 12 months? You, with your knowledge and experience, or someone learning on the job? (I do enjoy asking easy questions.)

Your goal on a “sales call” is to position your candidacy in the best possible light. Suggesting that you aren’t as qualified as you appear to be is not a strategy that is going to work. The urban legend is that you can dumb down your resume and get more interviews. Perhaps true, but once you get the interview and the interviewer realizes he/she has been duped, how exactly are you planning to recover from that? Who would want to hire a CFO known to leave out facts that were considered to be important to a decision?

I am open to publishing suggestions members have on how to deal with the issue of “overqualified.” If you would like them to appear in our newsletter under our Notes From Members section, just send them to Leads@TheFENG.org. Sending them to me will only slow things down.

Regards, Matt

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