Saturday, April 18, 2009

My New Approach to Applying for Part Time Jobs - Qualification Deflation

Given my lack of success in getting part time jobs, I've decided that part of the problem may be that I'm overqualified, causing hiring managers to dismiss my application. As an experiment, I'm going to revise my application for part time jobs to downplay my qualifications, without lying. Here are the two areas in which I will make revisions:

  • Career history. My last full time position, prior to early retirement in 2007, was manager of a Research and Development (R&D) organization at a Fortune 100 company. I suspect that some hiring managers prefer to not have an experienced manager working for them in an entry level part time job. In my next application, I plan to revise my last full time position to "researcher" or "scientist" in an R&D organization.

    In addition, I will also emphasize my most recent job, which is a part time seasonal role I have been doing for the past couple years.

  • Education. Having a degree from Princeton University probably isn't helping much either. I had briefly considered removing the information from my part time job applications, but decided that would be lying. I decided on an alternative approach of using a former name of the university, The College of New Jersey, which was the official name of Princeton until 1896. For most managers hiring part time employees, a degree from The College of New Jersey is probably less intimidating than a degree from Princeton.

    I thought this option was very clever, until I found out that Trenton State College changed their name to The College of New Jersey in 1996. I guess I can remain truthful by specifying I attended The College of New Jersey located in Princeton, NJ :-)
  • Of course, I really don't know for sure if my (over)qualifications on my application are keeping me from being offered a job. However, being a former researcher in R&D, I thought it would be interesting running the experiment and observing the outcome. Best case, I get an offer or two for a part time job. Worst case is that someday I will be promoted to a significant level, found out and then dismissed for downplaying my experience and qualifications on my application :-)

    For more on Reflections and Musings, check back every Saturday for a new segment.

    This is not financial, career, or job application advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

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