Combat the Curse of Being Overqualified
For job seekers, it can seem like a cruel joke: You invest time and energy to develop your professional skills, and earn an education to help advance your career and make you a better employee (and a more attractive job candidate). Then, you send off your impressive resume only to be told you’re overqualified.
This can leave you feeling frustrated, and probably a bit helpless. How to overcome this obstacle? A candidate who is underqualified can always seek out additional training or bulk up their work experience. But if you're overqualified, you can’t make those accomplishments disappear.
From an employer's viewpoint, the idea that an applicant is overqualified is a legitimate concern. They worry that you're just trying to grab the first available paycheck or are filling time while you contemplate your professional goals. They don’t' want to waste their time hiring someone who will jump ship as soon as something more worthy of their qualifications comes along.
So what can you do to combat the overqualified label? You can selectively edit your resume, leaving out (or at least, de-emphasizing) positions that might scream "overqualified." But probably the best strategy is to head off an employer's concerns right off the bat. Use your cover letter or initial contact with the employer to explain your motivations and reasons for interest in the position. You want to avoid saying anything that gives the impression that you see this job as a temporary pit stop or a stepping stone. This article shares other tips for applying for a lower-level position.
Ever been told you were overqualified for a job? Did you try to make your case to the hiring rep? Tell us how in the comments.
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