Turned Down for a Job Despite Being More Than Qualified

Question:

I’ve been looking for a job for two months without landing one.  It torches me that I’ve not even been interviewed for jobs I’m more than qualified for. I’ve been an office manager for a day care center and a shoe salesperson who was almost promoted to supervisor before I left for personal reasons. I even ran my own small dog sitting business and was successful enough I needed to hire two assistants.  So when a two person company advertised that they needed an assistant to handle their office duties, I thought I’d be the perfect hire.

I wrote them a letter telling them I could run their office and with my business and sales experience I could help them grow. I waited a week, expecting them to be excited to talk with me and when I called them they said they’d picked three candidates to interview and they were sorry but I wasn’t one.

I was shocked, but swallowed my irritation and said that I would be the best assistant he could dream of.  He said “thank you, but I need to go now” and hung up. I called him right back and asked that he reconsider. He said “no.”  When I asked “why?” he said he thought I wouldn’t be happy with an assistant job.

I wouldn’t work for him now if he begged me, but want to know what I could have done I didn’t.

Answer:

You can’t bully your way into a job.

Although you view yourself as highly qualified, this employer might have seen other applicants as more right for an assistant job. In fact, you somewhat shot yourself in the foot by your initial letter, which showed that you saw yourself as better than the job for which you applied. They wanted someone to handle office duties and probably believe you’d want more of a job than they offered.

Your resume presents another problem. You’ve been an entrepreneur, a salesperson and done office work. You believe your background makes you a well-rounded candidate. An employer might view it as “all over the map,” and also reflective of an individual who might be highly independent and hard to manage. Before you apply for your next job, redo your resume so it directly targets the job for which you’re applying.

© 2020, Lynne Curry

Lynne Curry is the author of “Beating the Workplace Bully” (AMACOM, 2016, https://amzn.to/30V5JO6) and “Solutions”, https://amzn.to/2GYlnAN (both books are rated 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com). Send your questions to her at lynnewriter10@gmail.com, visit her @ www.communicationworks.net or follow her on twitter @lynnecurry10.

3 thoughts on “Turned Down for a Job Despite Being More Than Qualified

  1. To me this person comes across as arrogant. It’s great to be self confident but watch that you don’t cross over into arrogance.

  2. Lynne–these are insightful comments. And they come from someone who offers training, interviews and hires people, and sees a lot of applications. So they’re based on experience and feedback and observations from this and other situations. When I read them, I felt it sounded like she? thought he? could perhaps take over and run this business, which could make the employer a little nervous, because they’re looking for an assistant not a new head. I was interested in your comment, too, that the variety of experience could look to some potential employers as if the applicant had been “all over the map.” In the light of many employees having taken jobs wherever they could find them–and probably seeing themselves as adaptable–this could be the look of many resumes. Something to cogitate about! Honest feedback can be hard for a person who thinks they’re doing pretty well to take–especially when it indicates some areas for potential improvement. Good show!

    1. Susan, thanks, an excellent set of comments, and as always I appreciate your valuable insights. You’re so right, an employee who’s been willing to take work where s/he finds it shouldn’t be penalized, and that’s where a well-thought out cover letter can make all the difference. Lynne

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