Do my two degrees make me overqualified for a first job?

Friday April 21 2017

Someone recently told me that potential employers probably don’t get back because having two degrees in my CV comes off as being overqualified. PHOTO | NATION

Someone recently told me that potential employers probably don’t get back because having two degrees in my CV comes off as being overqualified. PHOTO | NATION 

By MWIKALI MUTHIANI
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Q. I have two degrees; Law and Arts. 

I have been sending my resume and applying for many jobs, especially in the corporate/NGO/UN sector, but I have never heard from them, which is quite disheartening.

Someone recently told me that potential employers probably don’t get back because having two degrees in my CV comes off as being overqualified.

Is this true? What can I do to improve my resume and make it more attractive to potential employers in my fields of interest?

 

Congratulations on your achievements and just for the record, you are not overqualified. It is good to acquire knowledge, but of key importance is how you apply it and create value and despite the disappointment you mention, do not give up. It is important to align your CV to every role you apply for. With your two degrees, you will lay emphasis on the one that meets the job requirements most, and highlight other competencies with reference to your second degree. Your resume has to stand out and here is how:

Format: Chose a professional format that will easily highlight your qualifications and competencies. Organise your data well, clear sub-titles, easy to read style and standard font. A CV written in caps throughout is a turn off to most recruiters. Check CV templates online.

Personal Details: Avoid giving too much personal information — your ID number, sex, and age — unless it is required. Avoid giving many email addresses or phone numbers. The recruiter has no time to check which number works or to send emails to multiple addresses.

Quality Check: Avoid grammar and spelling mistakes, use of acronyms or misuse of capital letters. Pictures: If you choose to add your picture in your CV — which is a good idea — use a professional one.

Length: Keep your CV between 2-3 pages and leave the rest to the interview process.

Application letter: Keep it simple and professional. State the job you are applying for and give a brief summary of who you are and why you are suitable. 

Attachments: Unless asked to submit these, avoid unnecessary attachments and instead present them during the interview.  Many employers state upfront they will only contact successful candidates and so do not feel discouraged when you do not receive response for every application you send.

Some recruitment portals allow candidates to track their CVs after submission, but if this is not available it is okay to call and enquire the status of your application.