I've had several rejections, often without even getting to interview stage, and each time I've been told that I'm over-qualified for the jobs on offer. Should I consider toning down my CV?
A: I have a nasty feeling that your confidence in making this move was based on a common illusion. You mistook the authority you enjoyed as a member of a well-respected management consultancy for personal reputation. For future reference, the best way to sort out the difference between corporate and personal clout is the telephone test. Ask to speak to some important potential client, first by giving your own name and nature of business only; and then later by adding the name of a reputable company. The results are invariably humbling - but salutary.
Most of us owe at least some of our fragile status to the name of the company we work for; and this may be one of the reasons you've found little success from sending out your CV.
In any case, the sort of part-time, freelance work you're now looking for is unlikely to be drummed up by cold-calling. You should start again, however modestly, and build up a network of contacts based on word-of-mouth and personal recommendation.
You'll still need a CV, but keep it simple and include as many names of happy clients and willing referees as you can drum up.
Please address your problems to Jeremy Bullmore at: Management Today, 174 Hammersmith Road, London W6 7JP. Or e-mail: email@example.com Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.