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No one wants to take a step back or down the corporate ladder, so it is normal that you wouldn't apply for a job that seems to be below your qualifications. In some cases, however, this job can be your way to get your foot in the door, and more aspects in terms of money and title may be negotiable.
Although you don't want to waste your time and energy on pursuing opportunities that you're overqualified for, these jobs may make sense in some situations. If you see a clear, open path for growing up the ladder or if you talk with the hiring manger and find out some flexibility about the role's job description with a potential for growth, this may be a good place to consider.
Even when employers have had the job opening filled with a particular skill set, your proposition of higher qualifications can be welcome if you make a good argument on why and how your additional qualifications can benefit the employer. This also will help you justify a higher remuneration package and probably a better title.
One important point to keep in mind, however, is to separate promises from reality, if you're willing to accept a lower position with unsatisfactory pay. For example, if the employer doesn't make it clear that you will be able to climb to the position that you want within a reasonable amount of time, you may be selling yourself short. To avoid this situation, think of the two following points.
You probably browse through dozens of job openings every day. If a particular job piques your interest even though it is still below your qualification, you need to identify why you want it. Is it because you're tired of the job-hunting process? Is it because you always wanted to work for this particular employer for professional reasons? Is it because it offers some benefit that suits your current needs?
Once you know what you're getting in the case of landing this job, you can decide whether the compromise is worthwhile or not. For example, a job that is slightly below your qualifications but offers better lifework balance may be attractive. An employer that is expected to provide training and education or a great corporate culture also can make up for a small backward step.
Just remember not to overemphasise the importance of the extra points that you're getting, and forget about what fulfils you professionally. Look at the overall package, and be realistic regarding how you perceive yourself and where you're professionally.
Although employers typically look for long-term employees, some positions may be clearly a stepping stone for a better situation. If you're in a position of nearing long-term unemployment, picking up a job that is related to your profession, but not a perfect job, makes sense. Remember, employers are wary of those who seem chronically unemployed.
You wouldn't have to be forthcoming about making a declaration that you're taking this job until a better opportunity is found, but you also should not make promises otherwise. If the employer asks if you're planning to stick with this position for the long haul, you can simply say along the lines of ''it depends.'' Make it clear that given the market circumstances, that job is the best for you now, but you won't guarantee the future.
If that statement costs you the job, be it. If not, you will get a couple of points for honesty if your dream job appears within a short period of employment, and you decide to move on. If you've been unemployed for a long time, you're probably in the best position to know the odds of this happening.
Taking a lower position
— Think of potential professional growth
— Get out of chronic unemployment
— Consider other benefits of the job
— Be honest, but subtle, about your long-term plans
Source: Rania Oteify, Special to gulfnews.com
The writer, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor