On being overqualified when engaging in a job search

by Raewyn Whyte

The ongoing recession has had a significant impact on the flow of work for many small businesses in Auckland. For the first time since we began the business in 1995,  our boutique-sized web development company has been experiencing fluctuations in demand, and also a shift in the kind of projects we are attracting.

At this point, our technical expert/PHP developer is over-extended,  we have a good supply of graphic designers to call on, but as manager/administrator/site maintainer/SEO tweaker/social media and enews creator and accounts person, I am less than fully employed.

So I have recently begun the search for additional employment opportunities. I have taken all the advice offered by other who have trod this path recently ahead of me. My Linked In page states that I am seeking extra opportunities in specific areas. I am monitoring SEEK , Trade Me, DoGoodJobs and Writerfind, and have begun applying for once-in-a while positions for which I have entirely appropriate experience and/or qualifications.

I have some ongoing commitments which at times would make it difficult for me to undertake full-time work, so I am seeking part-time work, or short-term contracts which centre on technical writing and/or editing, content management and content creation  for websites, SEO, email newsletters, emarketing, and associated duties . Those could  range from website audits to  any kind of general office administration,  marketing assistance, marketing communications, office administration, office support… and technical writing, proofreading, sub-editing.

My experience so far? There’s lots of full-time work out there in the marketing and admin arenas, but very little available for part-timers. And when part-time work in my particular niche comes up, I am seen as “over qualified”, largely because I have been self-employed for two decades, and not because of my skill base.

If you were looking for a 4-6 week replacement to handle your manual development, articles for print, compile enews, write newsletters and short articles, do website updates and SEO via your Content Management System, plus general office admin  — and your choice was either a less experienced 20-something or a more experienced mature adult… which would you choose? and why?

Inquiring minds want to know how to get past this particular barricade – your suggestions are welcomed.

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