How to Overcome Being Overqualified

You knew you’d land this job, no problem.

You were more than qualified, possessing skills and experience that went beyond the minimum job requirements.  You completed the online application, following every instruction to the letter.  You submitted a concise, error-free digital résumé highlighting your accomplishments and qualifications.  You even customized your cover letter.

So why were you never even contacted for so much as a screening interview?

It could be a case of “too much of a good thing.”  Today, employers are cautious about hiring you if they think you’re overqualified.  Here’s why:

  • They fear you may quickly jump ship for a better offer.
  • They believe they can find another adequate candidate for less money.
  • They may wonder why you’re applying for a position at a lower level than your previous job, and mistakenly perceive you as washed-up, burned-out or too old.
  • They’re concerned that the lack of challenge will negatively impact your motivation and performance.

What can you do to overcome these misperceptions?  Use PrideStaff’s suggestions to beat the “over-qualification objection” and land the job opportunity you want:

  • Remove financial objections.  If you suspect that your salary requirements are the primary concern, you can address the issue in one of two ways.  Either make it clear from the outset that you are flexible about salary (and that your previous salary is not relevant in your current job search), or explain the financial advantages of hiring you (by demonstrating how you increased revenue and/or cut expenses for a former employer).
  • Focus on skills, not job titles.  Consider a performance-based rĂ©sumĂ© format that lists relevant skills and accomplishments first and your (extensive) background second.  Focus on skills that will make you even more efficient, and able to handle an even bigger workload, than a less experienced candidate.
  • Demonstrate your loyalty.  Allay a potential employer’s fears of you “jumping ship” – right in your cover letter – by pointing out your longevity with previous employers.
  • Go above and beyond to get the interview.  If you don’t get called to interview for a job you know you’re qualified for, follow-up on your application.  Try to schedule a brief meeting with the hiring manager to make your case in person, or at least find out exactly why you were passed over.  If it turns out that the manager has salary, longevity or motivation concerns, you’ll have the opportunity to address them in-person.

Perhaps most importantly, you need to stay positive during your job search.  PrideStaff can help!  By working as a temporary employee with us, you can:

  • Earn valuable income – at a time when you really need it;
  • Keep your spirits up – by being productive and engaged;
  • Build your rĂ©sumĂ© and keep your skills sharp;
  • Find direct employment – if you prove yourself on the job, your temporary position may convert to a direct opportunity.  Additionally, while you’re on assignment, PrideStaff can actively search for direct positions that match your skills, experience and interests.