Too dumb or not too dumb?

So you've got half an alphabet's worth of letters after your name, qualifications falling out of your ears, years of experience in hospitality jobs and you do Open University degrees 'just for fun'. Yet you've found yourself in a position where you're applying for jobs and getting zero response.





More people than ever are applying for jobs, so competition is fierce. Many have been made redundant and are in the unenviable position where paying the bills has become more important than advancing on to the next stage in their career. Talk to anyone who's looking for a job and they will probably say they've been turned down for some on the grounds of being overqualified.

Fight off the competition without frightening off an employer

The notion of dumbing down CVs to get jobs is a topical one. But what does it really mean for the jobseeker?

For a start, to "dumb down" has negative connotations. You've worked hard to get to this stage in your career, so be proud of your achievements and experience. But you ask yourself whether they're relevant to the job you're going for.

With such competition, the temptation is to try and wow an employer with everything you've got; but it takes time and money to recruit for a role, and you don't want them thinking you won't be challenged enough and that you'll walk as soon as something better comes along.

Stop panic-applying

Take a deep breath and stop firing your CV off like it's a paintball gun. Desperation gets you nowhere. Remember the hare and the tortoise?

What works for one job might not work for another, so you should ALWAYS tailor your CV to each job application, whether you’re looking in earnest or not. You need to look at your experience differently. Instead of seeing how it can work for you, it's spotting those elements of it that might work against you.

If you're going for an admin-heavy job, like something in finance, you can emphasise your organisational abilities. If you're going for a customer service-based position, like front of house, highlight your professional attitude and the satisfaction you get from problem solving.

Take a look at our six step guide to giving your CV a makeover for other helpful advice.

Explain why you want the job

For most jobs in the hospitality industry, it's not about how many qualifications you have under your belt. It's about who you are and the experience you have that relates to the job.

Include a well-thought out cover letter explaining why you're interested in this job. Even if you've had more responsibilities, bigger titles, etc. in the past, if an employer sees a genuine excitement about the role, they will definitely want to see you.

Think about what makes this job different from your last. Is it about stepping back in order to strengthen your foundations? Does the thought of specialising in a niche market spark your interest?

Ask for feedback

If you've been turned down for a role, ask the interviewer if they would mind telling you which areas they felt you were overqualified in and why they felt this would have a negative impact. Use this information to make sure you only highlight the areas relevant to the next job you apply for.

Above all, don’t get despondent if you get the dreaded "overqualified" response. However frustrating it is, see it as a compliment - after all, they’re actually saying you’re too good for them!

Related articles:

- How to write a killer hospitality CV
6 things you can do right now to improve your CV 
- Who's looking at you, kid?
5 things to avoid on your hospitality CV

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