Finding a job , getting your CV right, finding out how to pitch yourself is an art on its own, and sometimes you really need some advice or insights , and I found James ‘s Caan answers a real treat!
I am just posting his latest Question and Answer session.
If you like to get his weekly Question and Answer , just join http://www.linkedin.com/ and join the group http://www.linkedin.com/groups?mostPopular=&gid=1988204
Thank you for your comments regarding last week’s column. This week I’d like to turn my attention to the problems self employed candidates face when trying to move into mainstream employment.
Take Brian Watson’s situation. Brian has owned and operated businesses for more than 25 years. He feels his key strengths are his ability to build relationships and generate sales. However, recently he has assumed a more ‘hands on’ IT role and is spending a disproportionate amount of time behind a computer.
“I could of course employ others to do the work that I do not enjoy so that I can focus on what I’d prefer to be doing but I’d rather take a clean break from self-employment and return to mainstream employment ideally within sales management.
“I have a vast array of transferrable skills and countless past achievements so I tend to select a few relevant to whatever vacancy I am applying for and incorporate these into a tailored CV and covering letter.
“What advice can you offer someone with decades of experience as a business owner and board room contributor who wishes to take a career change necessitating applying for positions that a potential employer might consider beneath the capabilities of such a person?”
Brian, in the current economic climate many self employed professionals are looking for the security that comes with being employed. Not only are you freed from the day-to-day worries of running a business, you are able to focus on the things that really interest you.
Unfortunately many people in your position are facing similar difficulties. Although your extensive experience should give you an advantage, when viewed from a potential employer’s perspective, it can be a drawback.
An interviewer may worry that you will be bored or leave if another opportunity presents itself.
From your email, it sounds as if you are already on the right track. As I have said before, tailoring your CV and covering letter is essential when applying for any job.
Have you considered combining your skill sets? Someone with your sales background and programming skills would perhaps find success in a pre-sales appointment.
Whatever role you apply for, getting a potential employer to consider you when you seem overqualified can be a challenge. It is essential to be proactive. Try approaching local SMEs. A smaller company could greatly benefit from your skills. They may also be more inclined to employ someone with a wide array of talents rather than recruit a specialist.
During your time as a business owner, it’s likely that you have built an extensive network of contacts. Use this to its full potential. An employer will be interested in interviewing someone who has been recommended to them.
Attend networking events and seminars. These are great opportunities to stay abreast of industry news and liaise with like-minded individuals.
Once you secure an interview, you have the chance to show your prospective employer how your experience is an advantage. Stress that although you seem overqualified, you are relishing the challenges the role will bring.
Take this opportunity to demonstrate ways in which your varied knowledge could save the business money. Perhaps your experience of running companies will allow you to see ways processes could be streamlined. Maybe you could mentor junior co-workers?
If an interviewer still seems uncertain, ask them to describe their ideal candidate. Focussing on your skills, demonstrate how you fit that profile.
Experience shouldn’t be seen as a barrier to employment. Overcome a potential employer’s fears by proving your knowledge would be a huge asset to their team. The important thing is not to give up and to use every resource available to you.
Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for the chance to feature in next week’s column.