During the last recession, maybe you took a pay cut or downgraded to a less skilled position as a way to “pay the bills” or for resume continuity sake. Now that the job market is on the upswing, you may feel as though you are “stuck” in your position and really want to start looking for a position that is more in line with your professional goals.
According to some executive recruitment experts, not all is lost–executives have options and there are steps that can be taken to get back on track. “Overqualified employees need to take a step back and evaluate their situation,” advises Stacy Ethun, President of Park Avenue Group, an executive recruitment firm specializing in the banking, securities and financial services industries. “First, look at the company you’re currently with, is it growing? Are there perhaps future opportunities based on that growth? The outlook may be promising for those who are seen as contributors who sacrificed for the good of the cause’ during the bad times.”
“If you’re leaning toward staying in a job for which you’re overqualified, find ways to make the most of it and maintain a positive attitude,” says Ethun. “Look for opportunities to do more, learn something new or share your knowledge. Extend yourself–you might be surprised at how you attract the notice of those making advancement decisions.”
But maybe this is not an option for you and you prefer to move on.
According to Dave Dart, Managing Partner of the Morisey-Dart Group, an executive recruitment firm located in Naples, Florida, “If you decide to look for a position that you feel suits you better, you don’t have to feel guilty about leaving the employer who gave you a job when you needed it. Your employer hired you knowing there was a risk of flight as the market improved,” he said.
Dart continues, “The employee was able to continue working, and the employer was able to leverage the skills and experience of the overqualified individual for a solid return on investment.”
Step 1-Extract relevant skills and experience from your interim position and include them when marketing yourself to prospective employers.
Even though you may have taken this position until things opened back up for you professionally, you probably learned a skill or two that you can take with you. Figure out what skills can be transferred to your ideal professional role and add them to your resume.
Step 2- Emphasize the fact that you worked through the difficult times and persevered.
This shows a prospective employer that you stuck it out even when things weren’t ideal. Maybe you took a pay-cut or demotion; this shows you can deal with difficult situations and do things that normally you might not necessarily want to do. It also demonstrates a strong work ethic and the fact that you’ll do whatever it takes to get through.
Step 3-Keep in touch and up to date with colleagues in your field.
Keeping in touch with them helps you keep a pulse on what is going on in the industry or area that you used to work in. For example, you’ll probably be one of the first to hear when any positions open up in your field. It also means that those that may be able to help you get access to decision makers are within reach.
Step 4-Continue to network and meet new people within your industry.
When you take the initiative to meet new people, make it clear that your current position is temporary and that you have higher professional goals that you are targeting for the long term. Share your talents, skills, accomplishments, and capabilities with them–make it known that you can bring value to an employer.
If you decide to leave your current position, give a reasonable notice period to help give your employer enough time to get things in proper order rather than abruptly leaving with chaos behind. The thing to keep in mind is the way you leave is probably the way you’ll be remembered–so it’s always best to do things the right way.
If you deliver value up until the last day on the job, you’ll have a positive impact on your former employer and be thought of in good terms long after you move to the next step in your career.