Should I aim for a lower level job?

If you’ve been out of work for a while and money is running out then applying for a lower level job can seem like an easier way to get into work quickly.

Maybe you’ve been in a situation in the past when taking a less senior role seemed like the best thing to do. It might have been a way of gaining more or different experience to help you to get onto a different career ladder, or to move to a different company with more chances to progress. Your previous role may have left you exhausted so an opportunity to do less demanding work for a while seemed attractive.

However think carefully before aiming lower. There are disadvantages. Your confidence may be hit by a feeling that your status has reduced and you will have to explain this move on your CV in future job moves. It will probably be a while before you can move on and get back to your previous level, and of course, if you are applying via the advertised route, being over qualified may be as big a disadvantage as being under qualified. In the end, it is always easiest to target a role that is the right level for your skills.

If you do find yourself applying for a lower level job, you will need to plan how to persuade your potential employer that you are serious, first via the initial application, and then at interview. Prepare a concise, clear story about why and how this job fits into your aims and stress how your experience will help you to do job better than someone less skilled. Reassure them that you will not move on straight away – persuade that you are not just taking any job.

Meanwhile, if you need cash quickly, can you look for a short-term contract, project work or part-time self-employed assignments? Or, if you want to keep your skills up-to-date, voluntary work can help you to boost your CV and your confidence in your abilities.

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