What to Do If You’re Overqualified for a Position

During your job search, you may apply for a position for which you are overqualified.  People apply for such positions for several valid reasons: the job is with a dream employer, it is in the right location, it offers rapid opportunities for advancement, or it poses another career-related challenge separate from its core requirements.

It’s easy to assume that employers will skip your resume once they see you are overqualified.  Consequently, it’s easy to assume that “dumbing down” your qualifications can prevent your resume from being overlooked.  However, the best route in most cases is to be honest about your overqualification – and make it work to your advantage.

Here are ways to use your overqualification as an asset, not a liability:

  • Eliminate assumptions.  Many employers assume that an overqualified employee will be bored, lack motivation, and leave the organization as soon as they find a job opening that matches their qualifications.  Eliminate these assumptions early by explaining exactly why you are applying for this position.  For instance, if you have always wanted to work for the employer, explain exactly what attracts you to their company.  If the position offers a challenge you want to tackle, explain what it is and how you plan to learn and grow by facing it.
  • Be flexible about salary.  Explain that your previous earnings are not relevant to your interest in this position.  Instead, talk about your personal satisfaction and interest in the job, rather than the salary it offers.
  • Match your strengths to the job requirements.  Just as you would in any position, talk about your personal strengths and how they fit the job posting – but specify that the strengths and skills required by the position are the ones you are most interested in using and developing now.  For instance, if you previously held a management position but are now seeking a more individualized, technical position, talk about your technical skills, and explain that you are looking for a job that allows you to perform more hands-on technical work and take a break from people management.
  • Admit that you have concerns, too.  Tell the hiring manager that you are also concerned you may not be a proper fit.  Promise that if you realize the position isn’t going to allow you to bring your A-game, you will withdraw your candidacy.  This position communicates that you understand the hiring manager’s concerns, and that if you stay in the running, it’s because you genuinely intend to give this position your best effort.

There may come a time in your job search process when you apply for a position that you know you are overqualified for. However, by going into the application/interview process with this in mind, you will be able to address any concerns the employer may have about your overqualifications. If you are looking for additional help in your career, or to learn about our great employment opportunities in the Twin Cities, contact THE RIGHT STAFF, LLC, today!

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