Applying for positions you aren’t likely to get & how to make it worth it - Part 1:  If you are Over-qualified

Apart from all the jobs you aren’t going to get because the hiring ‘executives’ don’t know what the hell they are doing and don’t recognize your perfect suitability for their stupid little ‘position’ that you wouldn’t have taken even if it had been offered to you since you’ve certainly got better things to do with your life than work in a drab office all day marking time until the boss’s half-wit son-in-law finishes at Harvard Business School and comes back to drive the company into the ground…apart from those jobs, you won’t get jobs you are much, much too qualified for  and jobs you are completely unqualified for.

Are there times you should apply anyway?

Of course there are, otherwise this wouldn’t be much of a post!

Let’s take the case where you are clearly overqualified - a real entry level position without much upside for which you would have been a strong candidate 20 years ago…or more.  So I’m not talking slightly overqualified or overqualified only in your mind, I’m talking you are really unsuitable for the position…but you are also really interested in the organization and don’t know anyone who works there and when you call the best address you get is to email jobs@xyzorg.org…a mailbox that returns an automatic reply that hasn’t been updated in two years.

If something like that is the case and the job you are overqualified for asks for applications to go to an actual person, I’d suggest waiting a month or so and then writing that person, including a resume, and being upfront about the situation: you are interested in the organization (ideally for some reason), have some potentially valuable skills (let’s assume this is true), haven’t really found the right person at the organization to approach (don’t mention that their HR department is all screwed up, the person probably knows this), and just wanted to provide your information in case this person is involved in hiring people like you (that is, skilled in whatever you are skilled in) or knows someone in the organization who would be good to talk to.

It’s a long shot, to be sure, but so much of getting hired for interesting work involves your resume coming across the right desk at the right time, and this at least gets you in front of a human being, even if just on paper.

You might ask yourself if you really want to work with an organization that is so hard to approach, but sometimes HR departments can be unwelcoming and unhelpful to both candidates and internal staff, even as others in the organization may be desperate to fill a position and would love to have the right person magically appear.  Talk to anyone in a large organization in particular about how hard it is to fill positions through channels and it will give you hope!

Finally, this approach can also be useful if the recruitment is being handled by a headhunter.  Wait until they’ve dealt with the initial onslaught of job seekers, and then send a note to the recruiter saying you are interested in organizations like the one they were recruiting for and wanted to pass along your information in case they were recruiting in a similar organization for something more along the lines of …whatever it is you do.  It certainly can’t hurt.

Next post: Applying for positions you aren’t likely to get & how to make it worth it - Part B:  Suppose you are Under-qualified?

Upcoming posts:

Can you actually be overqualified and should you apply for jobs that appear ‘beneath’ you?

Targeting your resume - can there be too much of a good thing?