We presume because you know you cannot get a job at the level you have been used to. So you think your background will scare off future employers.

I’m tempted to say that if you have previously been very successful, and you feel your CV will be intimidating, then perhaps you are looking for the wrong role? Or perhaps you are going about it the wrong way.

It is always difficult for someone to take a step back in their career, both for the new employer and for the individual. Will they genuinely be happy going back a few steps?

In this situation my advice is usually that you are unlikely to get such a job just from your CV, much more likely to do so from your personal contacts. By explaining to people who may previously have been competitors your situation, they may well be prepared to give you a go. After all they know you won’t let them down and they know you definitely know what you’re doing.

Toning down a CV is difficult, if you have been a sales manager are you suggesting you should put yourself down as a sales executive? Because that would be inaccurate, and in reality I don’t think that’s a good idea.

Perhaps fact by focusing less on your achievements and more on the nature of the job and how much of the more menial tasks you carried out, you might be able to tip the balance. But you are what you are, work out a way of making that attractive.

If you do want to take a step back then maybe it’s also a time to change industries. Perhaps to one that you’ve always wanted to join but it’s never been the right time. Because by moving sideways this way, you nearly always have to take a backward step. And you could do so without feeling that your career was going backwards as well. And if your old industry suddenly picks up, everyone will understand why you took the steps you did.