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Posted July 03, 2008 by

Creating Your Cover Letter When Feeling Overqualified

Are you highly skilled in your profession, yet seeking a job that for which you are probably overqualified? It is never bad to come into a position already encompassing a boatload of skills. However, some employers are intimidated by applicants who they feel are overqualified, which means you may have your work cut out for you.
If you know you have high qualifications, but think this could stand in the way of the job you want, you can use your cover letter to change minds. Let’s look at some ways you can get this done …
Explain Your Motivation
If you’ve been in a top position for many years, you may feel that it is time to lower your level of stress and get back to the basics of your profession. For example, you may have been the director of a non-profit for many years, working diligently to write grants and develop initiatives to bring money into your organization. However, the strenuous lifestyle has left you ready to step into a smaller role as a non-profit event coordinator, something that will offer time to relax and be with your family.
While this is good motivation, an unknowing organization only seeing your background might question your decision to downgrade. So when writing your cover letter, it’s good to focus on how taking this step will offer fulfillment in your career – and life. Many hiring managers will understand your motivation, and appreciate you bringing your advanced knowledge to the table.
Remember that Your Experience is a Plus
By being overqualified, you’re coming with an overwhelming amount of experience – something the organization or company can truly benefit from. So when writing your cover letter, try to stay away from any verbiage that makes your level of experience sound like a handicap. Instead, try explaining some of the ways that your experience can enhance their mission. Take some time to research what they are striving for then incorporate your skills and advanced knowledge in a way that can present thought-provoking ideas for making a difference.
For example, you can explain how as coordinator you would like to create events to entertain disadvantaged children, or bring in business professionals to help homeless individuals prepare for the work world. It’s no secret that your expansive experience gives you a wide and beneficial perspective. But letting them know that your only agenda is using that experience to enhance their goals could positively affect whether you’re considered for the job.
Let Them Know You’re Not Going Anywhere
When writing your cover letter, it’s good to assure the employer you’re not going anywhere. Some hiring managers may fear that with your experience they may fall victim to an employee “hit and run.” That is, you may depart prematurely if you get bored. Even worse, you might ask for money outside of their budget, or suffer from a superiority complex. None of these behaviors are desired by employers. But by highlighting your commitment to all previous jobs, you can express that they have nothing to worry about.
Remember, being overqualified for a job is not the end of the world. So by focusing on your passion in your cover letter, you can overshadow any doubts prospective employers may have regarding your sincerity, and possibly secure that position you want.
Heather Eagar is a former professional resume writer and owner of http://www.ResumeLines.com who is now dedicated to providing job seekers with resources and products that promote job search success from beginning to end.

Posted June 26, 2008 by

Optional Resume Sections: Deciding When (and Which) to Include

Writing a resume can be complicated if you’re not sure how to convey the message that you’re the right person for the job. A good way to get this accomplished, however, is by choosing the right sections to include in your resume.
Choosing the standard sections (contact information, objective, work experience/skills, and education) is typically a breeze. But optional sections like career highlights, interests/hobbies, professional/community involvement, awards, and technical skills can be more of a challenge to decide between. So to help you get on the right track, let’s look at some ideas for choosing your sections.
Consider the Position for Which You’re Applying
When thinking about what sections to include in your resume, it is a good idea to first look closely at the position you’re applying for. Why? Because this can help you determine which sections will help you provide the most thorough information regarding your skill set.
For example, if you’re applying for a position that requires several years of professional experience in Corporate Communications, and also a strong writing background, there are a couple of ways you can take advantage of resume sections. Of course, you can use your standard Work/Professional Experience section to showcase the jobs you’ve worked in the field. Then if you have standout writing accomplishments, you can include a separate section (ex. Writing and Distribution) strictly for your writing accolades.
Likewise, if you are interested in furthering your career as a software developer, you could include a “Certificates and Training” section strictly for showcasing all of your Microsoft, Apple, and other certifications. This way you can highlight your standout skills and paint an accurate portrait of your potential abilities.
Think About the Message You Want to Convey
When thinking of optional sections to include, it is also a good idea to consider what message you want to offer the employer about the type of person you are. This is especially true if you know that getting hired for a position might rely partially on your personal interests.
For example, you may want to apply for a manager position with Girl Scouts of America and have extensive professional experience as a manager, though not with a non-profit organization. However, in your spare time, you’ve sat on the boards of multiple non-profits in your community. This would be a great opportunity to include a “Professional/Community Involvement” section that could showcase your understanding of non-profit organizations coupled with your strong professional background as a manager.
If You’re Thinking of Using a Template …
If you are brand new to writing resumes, or simply want some help creating a new design, a template can provide a good starting point. However, it is smart to avoid following the template to a tee. You would be doing yourself a disservice by not critically thinking about each section in reference to each job you’re applying for. This can result in your resume looking carbon copied – and ultimately ending up at the bottom of the stack.
By exploring what the company is looking for, and deciding what message you want to convey, you can have great success in choosing optional sections for your resume. So take your time and think out your purpose. You will find that doing so can help you create your perfect resume.
Heather Eagar is a former professional resume writer and owner of http://www.ResumeLines.com who is now dedicated to providing job seekers with resources and products that promote job search success from beginning to end.

Posted June 19, 2008 by

How to Create Your Cover Letter When Switching Careers

You have recently made the decision to exit one career and enter a new one, which can be both exciting and a little bit scary. But while the choice to make the career switch was probably a grueling one, the prospect of explaining your lack of job experience to potential employers is probably downright terrifying.
Though you may be concerned about drawing attention to this missing portion of your career history, don’t spend too much time dwelling on it. The truth is, if you really desire to move into your new career, you can do it. You just have to believe in yourself and present this belief in your cover letters. Let’s look at how you can do it …
Be Honest about Why You’re Changing Careers
When you begin explaining why you’re switching careers in your cover letter, it is best to be as honest as possible. You can do this by remembering that at some point you sat alone and contemplated your reasons for making this major life decision. So take this time to revisit those reasons. Are you switching because you weren’t fulfilled in your previous career? Or do you believe that you’ve always had talent in this field and now you want to pursue it?
Whatever your reasons may be, express them well. Doing so may help prospective employers better relate to your new-found passion. Even more, it may inspire them to take a chance with you, even if you have less experience in this specific career than other candidates.
Discuss Your Relevant Experience
As mentioned previously, you may not have an extensive background in the career you are pursuing, but that’s okay. If you have relevant professional experience, you can simply dig that up to show the prospective employer your ability to perform.
For instance, you may have years of experience working as a PR manager. However, you would like to become a marketing manager because you’re interested in branding products, participating in trade shows, and getting the company name out to the public. As a PR manager, you may have experience talking to the media on behalf of your company, and developing strategies to help create the proper public image. So you can note these and other relevant PR experiences in your cover letter to show that your understanding of the company’s public image and products can easily be applied to a marketing career.
Do You Believe in Yourself?
You should question how much you believe in yourself before writing your cover letter. Why? Because you are making a major change in your life that requires courage, and could possibly face a little rejection. If you hold fear in your heart, it can easily translate on paper. So before you write your cover letter, it is a good idea to develop and nurture your belief in your capabilities. This can boost your confidence and possibly help the potential employer take a greater interest in you.
Switching careers can definitely be an intimidating prospect to consider. But if you have confidence in your abilities, the skills to back it up, and a great cover letter to boot, you will be well on your way to successfully entering an exciting new career in the field you absolutely love.
Heather Eagar is a former professional resume writer and owner of http://www.ResumeLines.com who is now dedicated to providing job seekers with resources and products that promote job search success from beginning to end.