• Anita Ryan

Pitching down



When you leave long term employment, or are made redundant, it can be very scary.

Some people will be ready for the moment, with a plan for what their next move is. But for many people it ushers in a time of uncertainty and fear. (maybe insecurity?)


In the current business climate that fear is exacerbated by the fact that there are a lot of people coming onto the employment market at the same time.


When I left a position, I had been in for almost 13 years I could not picture my next step. I knew I wanted to do something different, but what? The temptation is to apply for roles that are a step down from where you were in your previous company. You think your best pitch to a recruiter would be to offer your experience at a cheaper rate. Right?Wrong, and here is why:

  1. It is extremely hard to pitch yourself with enthusiasm for a role where you are overqualified. Unless you are an extremely good actor, it is hard to project the kind of enthusiasm that employers want to see in an interview when you know in your heart that the role will bore you in less than six months.

  2. You have probably worked your way up the ladder over the years putting in long hours and hard work to get the recognition you deserve. It is difficult to swallow the pill that you are now moving back down the ladder to a role that you grew out of years back. When you feel like that, it seeps out during interviews.

  3. If you have been made redundant and need to find a new job quickly to pay the bills, this becomes apparent during interview discussions. There is a desperation that comes out and unsettles even the best interviewees.

  4. You cannot forget what you know. Your knowledge of a subject or your knowledge of an industry will come out at interview and it will become clear quickly that you will be restless in six months.

  5. Applications for any role these days are arduous and there may be many stages to an interview. It is hard to keep up the momentum for a role that you really do not want.


When does the above not apply?

  1. If you are going to completely change industry. It may be your time to work in that flower shop or golf course that you have always secretly dreamed of. This is not pitching down. It is rebranding. Telling a new story about yourself from the one you have always told. You will need to plan this out and make your story compelling.

  2. If you are looking for a role to ease into retirement. You still need to be clear on what you want to get out of the experience – and what you will put back in - to sell yourself at interview.

  3. If you need some new expertise that you do not currently have but could get if you made a strategic move.


Do not sell yourself short. The world around us may be changing but the world of employment will still need great candidates.


Take the time to think about what you really want to do and how much you really need to earn. I read recently about a guy who gives away everything he earns above £20,000 as that is all he needs.


Then create your new story in your head. If you are happy with your new narrative, then everyone else will fall in line.

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