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Corinne Mills, managing director, Personal Career Management personalcareermanagement.com
If you are applying for roles for which you are overqualified, you must convince the employer that you are serious about the role. Otherwise they may suspect that you are looking for a temporary stop-gap. In addition, they may have a concern about team dynamics, especially if you are likely to be reporting to someone with equal or less experience. Unless you can provide genuine reassurance on such issues, you are probably wasting your time. Part-time roles are often created with individuals in mind, so use this to your advantage. Work out what it is you have to offer and the type of organisation most likely to require these skills – then proactively contact them. Larger organisations may have some specialist requirements, eg, for project work, while SMEs may be very receptive to having a generalist part-time in-house HR expert who is more senior than they could afford on a full-time basis. Use all of your connections, including those who previously hired you for freelance work, to check out possibilities. Lastly, consider whether you are selling yourself to employers as persuasively as you might. Improve your chances by getting good advice and feedback from a coach or trusted friend.
John Lees, career strategist and author of The Interview Expert johnleescareers.comThe big issue is this: why do you think you will improve results by sending out undifferentiated messages? Why trash your goals and job search at random? If you were getting to interview stage for senior charity jobs, you might simply have been doing one thing wrong at interview. Too many candidates have only vague notions of why they’re not getting offers – but make wild strategy changes anyway. It’s like redirecting a boat by adjusting sails, rudder and centreboard simultaneously without knowing the problem or preferred outcome. Focus on what is working rather than on what isn’t: make more of your recent projects and how they energised you, and bring out flexibility of approach and that you are not purely focused on high status roles. Showcasing your MSc and your director level international experience may be appropriate if you’re after top roles, but wrong for mid-level appointments – employers pick up career frustration and worry you won’t be stretched. Do some rethinking on transferable skials, too. If employers don’t “get” them, you’re not communicating what you do in language that hirers find relevant and exciting.
Julie Waddicor, associate director, Robinson Keane robinsonkeane.co.ukYou are offering a prospective organisation a wealth of experience and superb value for money and yet you seem to be hitting a brick wall. In the current marketplace, employers are less willing than before to take a chance on candidates who don’t match closely their role specification and many candidates face rejection from positions they are more than capable of filling. Review your CV and be prepared to tailor it to the job you are applying for: emphasise the more hands-on or operational aspects of your previous roles and diminish the focus on strategy, projects or change. If you have access to the specification, draw direct attention in your covering letter to your experience in the required areas and make sure your CV echoes this. Can your job title be simplified? Some titles can be rather intimidating and put people off before they look at the detail, eg, “head of” is more accessible than “director”. Consider applying for full time positions (there are comparatively few part time opportunities) and suggesting to employers that, given your abilities, you could carry out the role in reduced hours and save the company money.