You’ve worked long and hard to be the best you can be but you’re out of work. The Job Market is dismal. Unemployment is the highest you’ve ever seen it. You’re getting interviews which means your resume is working. In the interviews, you’re hearing those dreaded words – you’re “overqualified.” So, what direction is there other than down? Up! You want to go up.
Overqualified is a bad label in more ways that you can think of. They could be using that as a euphemism for “You’re too old but if we say that you can sue us.” They could have decided, without discussing it, that you’re going to cost too much. They could have made up their mind that the job will bore you. If you’re really overqualified for the job you’re interviewing for, it’s a valid concern for both of you. You don’t want to be underemployed – it’s not satisfying and it’s hard to keep yourself motivated. The employer doesn’t want someone who will probably move on as soon as they can. Remove employee benefits from the employer’s list of concerns. There are agencies to help you provide your own benefits. Leverage your value. Spell it out in ways that will appeal to the people who need you. Here are a few ideas on where you can go when you’re already at the peak:
1. Interim management. Thousands of companies start-up every year. None of them can afford full-time people at your level when they’re starting but they all need your expertise. Leverage your years of experience, your extensive network of other experts, and your knowledge to make yourself the “go to” person not only for your own expertise but for experts in other fields.
2. Consultant. Thousands of larger companies have cut back. They still need what you bring to the job. If you’re a consultant, you can choose your clients and your hours. You can fire a client who’s difficult. You can have more control than you’ve ever had. You might even be able to consult with the companies that you’ve worked for in the past. They already know you and are probably short-handed.
3. Owner. The services you provided to employers still have value. Whether you were a heavy construction superintendent or a chief financial officer, you can teach a team how to do a specific part of that work and be an outsourced service for the kinds of companies you’ve worked for. You know what they need and you know how to deliver it in terms they will understand.
Conclusion: Back away from the search for a minute and consider what your greatest assets are for your industry. Consider the experts that your previous employers have hired in the past. Then, using clear, concise communication, market yourself as a product or service you know they need. Identify your value and use all the tools at your disposal so you can take a giant step toward success.
As a coach for startups, small businesses and job seekers, Joy Montgomery helps you position yourself for growth, profitability, and acquisition.