Add This to Your Toolkit For Facing Down the 'Overqualified' Monster

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As a highly placed financial executive pushed off the ladder through no fault of your own, you may find hiring managers and HR interviewers incredulous you want an opening whose level approximates where you were five (or even 10) years ago. If you're sick of banging your head against the "overqualified" wall, a recent article in CFO Magazine offers a fresh and useful resume tip: leave off the size of the business or department you previously ran.

The biggest question, CFO observes, is "how to convincingly apply for such a job without bending the truth too much." It cites this advice from Stephen Ford, managing partner of OI Partners, a worldwide outplacement, coaching and leadership development firm headquartered in Nashville:

If you're going to a department where you would manage five people and you came from a place where you managed 30, you need to say only that you were responsible for the department, without elaborating on how many people there were. (Potential employers) may intuitively know it's a larger number, but they won't know how much larger.

And here's a tactic that helped Vernon LoForti land last month as CFO of Infosonics, after he'd previously worked as chief executive at a larger company, Overland Storage. To avoid being "painted into a corner of requiring a CEO position," LoForti worded his resume to present his promotion to the top slot at Overland as a "transitional role" focused on helping company turn around financially, rather a job he had expected to hold long term. "I made a conscious effort to position my resume to show that [the CFO seat] is where I want to be, and that I wouldn't be looking to take the CEO's job when I got there," he told the magazine.

The story dismisses other resume downsizing tools. Ford says omitting irrelevant jobs or degrees - a tactic eFinancialCareers News has advised - will likely backfire when a new employer discovers them through a background check.