When the economy takes a downturn and jobs are eliminated many people are forced to look for different types of work. One of the effects of unemployment is that the job market is tight, jobs are few and far between and competition for those existing jobs is high. Because of the limited number of available positions, many people are applying for those that they may be over-qualified for, for one reason or another; the amount of experience an applicant has, unfortunately, can be a negative in some situations. However, with the right resume writing style, this does not have to be the case.
The most important thing to remember during any resume writing process is to be honest; lying about your experience or previous employment will catch up with you at some point. Resumes have become very public in recent years and a resume that contradicts one you have used in the past or might need in the future can eliminate you from the running without you even knowing. Now, being honest does not mean you have to emphasize your previous positions; instead, focus on what you can bring to the company (i.e. in need of little or no supervision, advanced technical skills, etc.). I have seen this done by doing nothing more than highlighting specific sills and accomplishments in bold on a resume.
Probably the resume style best suited to this situation is the skills-based style. This style is one in which your skills are emphasized more than your previous work experience. After your objective statement (which states why you are the best for the position), you should write a few short paragraphs detailing some of the skills you have learned in previous positions. This isnt the place to talk about job titles; save that for the work history section. With regards to your work history, remember that listing every job you have ever held is not always necessary; positions from twenty years ago are usually best left off of the resume.
Not all industries or employers appreciate a skills resume. Do some research in the field you are seeking employment. A combination skills/chronological is also an option. You do not always need to include job titles on your resume. If you feel the titles over qualify you, leave them off. You just want to get in front of an employer first, and then you can sell yourself and explain your motives.
Cover letters that are succinct, to the point, and talk in terms of the employer will often get read while most resumes are scanned. So your cover letter is an opportunity for you to make a short list of skills that are most relevant to that employer. Again job titles are not needed here. If your previous position was one of considerable responsibility and the one being applied for is not, you can explain your reasons for making this move in your cover letter; also, should you get the interview, be prepared to answer questions related to this decision. Resume writing can only get you the interview. Once you are in, be ready to answer questions relating to your reasons for applying for this particular positions; common questions are about loyalty, lack of challenges, and, usually, salary requirements.