Contracting Experience – Too Senior
This article, about having too much contracting experience, is from Aussie site www.Brainbox.com.au.
I have a friend who’s been an IT manager for a few multinational companies.
Unfortunately, he lost his job and finds it hard to get into the industry again. Most of the responses he gets state that he is too senior, too technical or lacks experience in the industry e.g. financial and banking.
He is now in a serious financial situation and need a job, even if it’s a junior position of some sorts. Still, the agencies or employers seem to think he probably wouldn’t stay with them. It’s so bad he can’t even get an interview.
Any idea what he should do?
Trick One – Brainbox Response
This is a tricky one, and I must admit I haven’t been in this situation myself. The best I can do is give it my best shot.
Part of what you want to do when going for a job is transform yourself into what you believe would be the perfect candidate. Tailor your resume and your responses at interview for the role.
For example, let’s say your friend was a Helpdesk Manager, or even in charge of the helpdesk. What I’d do is make that role appear as if it was a fairly junior position. Play up the fact he was working on the helpdesk, and try not to focus too much on the management aspect.
In your resume, when you list the activities at your job, concentrate on how you helped front-line customers instead of how you guided others to do it for you.
No Fixed Job Title
Often in IT, people don’t even have a fixed job title. When I’ve worked in permanent roles, I’ve been asked what job title I’d like printed on my cards. If this is the case with you, mould the job title to fit the role you’re applying for – Helpdesk Customer Support instead of Helpdesk Manager, for example.
If you get an interview, extend this to the interview as well. Instead of talking about how you managed people, talk about how you helped customers.
I wouldn’t actually outright lie, but focus on the aspects of your previous jobs that you feel are relevant to the role. That’s all most recruiters are looking for anyway.
Others might also want to jump in with advice in the comments section. I’m not sure if anyone out there has actually been in this situation themselves? If so, let us know how you dealt with it.
I’ve heard and seen all this before and the only thing I can say is B.S.!
People try to justify everything decision they make. What can too experience mean?
Let‘s look at a few things:
1. They will get bored and leave.
2. We will have to pay too much.
3. They are too set in there ways.
4. They are more qualified/experienced than me, I might loose my job.
5. I don‘t have a job for him/her and have to say something.
6. I want a younger person.
7. I want someone we can train our way.
8. I want someone who will see this job as a challenge.
Things for Contractor to Remember
The main things to remember are:
1. Find ways to counter these questions without apologising. You don‘t have to make excuses for being too-experienced!
2. If someone suggests you are too experienced, don‘t leave it at that, make them explain how that would negatively impact you getting the job and don‘t let them go without explaining! I always ask those who have turned me down why and what they thought I could do differently next time – It really helps and I have never been refused.
3. Use the experience to good use. Take on some consulting work by contacting companies and offering the work at reasonable rates. You can‘t be too experienced to consult; you might just pick up a job out of it! Don‘t give your knowledge away, it is valuable and people will take advantage of you! Also, the act of trying to sell your consulting skills could just land you a job!
4. Remember that agents have less than 10% of the jobs in the market, so do what the agents do themselves and go direct. Agents can help but they only have 10% of the jobs so only spend 10% of your search effort with them.
Keep Your Spirits Up
5. Keep your spirits up, I know it‘s very hard but things will eventually turn your way but it can take a very long time, especially for experienced people. If you start acting desperate you won‘t get a job but if you are confident you will often find that people will want you working with them. Nobody wants a depressed person working with them or for them!
6. Join a professional organisation if you have the money or try to borrow the money if you haven‘t. The contacts can assist with names in organisations that could lead to a consultancy or even a job but you will need to pick you room working skills up!
7. Try to see a psychologist to talk things through. I know the negative social response but they train these people to help and they often do. Years ago we want to the local church and some still do (also good for networking). For those that don‘t (me included) I would suggest you find a replacement (the psychologist). Many local government and health services have psychologist on staff to assist in these circumstances.
Hard to Find a Position
I know that sometimes it can be very hard to find a position even if you have had no problem at all in the past. The worst part is all the advice you get from those who have never experienced it and can‘t understand why you are. They often think there is something wrong with you but often it is just bad luck which compounds with the negatives of depression and self doubt.
From my part, and I hope I talk on behalf on everybody on Brainbox, don‘t feel like you are not a part of our community because you don‘t have a job, we all feel for you and maybe somebody out there with jobs (all you managers listening) will give somebody with experienced a go!
IT Contractor Comment
What about our readers?
Have they ever found that having too much contracting experience is detrimental to them getting work?
What is your contracting experience of that?
Put your comments below.