Q: I have just graduated from university with a Masters in English and Philosophy. I’m now job-hunting for that elusive ‘first job out of college’. The biggest problem I face is that most of the jobs advertised are, to be blunt, beneath me.
I am an extremely motivated individual and throughout my years at university I have managed successfully to balance my academic studies with various responsible part-time jobs. I would really appreciate an employer who is willing to give me a chance so that I would have an opportunity to get my foot on the career ladder.
However, I have not received one invitation to interview for jobs I am perfectly capable of doing. you can imagine I am becoming frustrated and have considered revising my CV to remove some of my achievements in a desperate attempt to cast out a wider net and hopefully net the big fish; my first job.
A: Dumbing down your CV is not a strategy that I recommend. This is a very common issue for Irish university graduates and I’m glad to have the opportunity to speak to it. There are much more effective ways of casting a wider net when approaching the job market.
Let me say from the outset, that employers are not, primarily, nurturers of talent. Talent spotting is very often not their strong suit. And some employers believe that ‘over-qualified’ employees will ‘jump ship’ as soon as a more challenging opportunity presents itself.
I suggest that you clearly state in your cover letter as well as at interview, that you have a wide range of skills and that you really want to utilise them in this particular job. Lay out explicitly that you value the position, not as a holding job but that you are prepared to commit to it for more than a few months.
Reassure employers that your main motivation is to kick-start your career and you have chosen this job in particular as the ideal situation to enable you to do so. Make it clear that time invested in you would be worthwhile and that, one day, you would hope to be promoted up the ranks of the company.
Perhaps an employer who cannot envisage your potential is not the right fit for you. The image of a round peg in a square hole comes to mind. I grant you, this may seem to strike an arrogant tone considering current job market pressures, but ultimately working in environments where your talents are valued must take priority.
Sli Nua Careers offer CV preparation, interview training and mock interview services at their offices in Galway, Limerick, Dublin, and Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo. Each month, they give away a free CV Makeover to a reader. Enter here: www.slinuacareers.com/cvgiveaway.