What to Do If You Are Overqualified for a Position

job applicationBeing told you’re overqualified for a position can feel a bit like being told you are too smart for the work. Shouldn’t exceeding the requirements be seen as a good thing? However, many employers are reluctant to hire overqualified candidates, fearing that they won’t be happy in the position. If you’re aiming at lower-level positions, here’s how to ensure you don’t get looked over:

Tailor your resume

Your first concern is preventing the hiring manager from rejecting your resume outright. This will require you to trim your qualifications. While you should certainly never lie, it is alright to state your experience in a more subdued manner. Focus on what it relevant rather than what is impressive. For example, if you previously led a team of researchers and are now applying for a lower-level position, emphasize your research ability instead of your managerial skills.

Apply for a good reason

Once you make it to the interview, the hiring manager may realize you’re overqualified and ask you about it. You need to be able to explain why you want this position. Don’t bring up how desperate you are for work. Joking about how you’re willing to sweep floors at this point will not endear you to the interviewer. Instead, talk about the unique advantages the position has to offer, whether it’s the company culture, the chance to work in a fast-growing organization, or the opportunity to refocus your career.

Address their concerns

‘The work will bore them.’ ‘Their salary request will be too high.’ ‘They’ll leave the moment they get a better offer.’ These are the worries that go through a hiring manager’s head when faced with an overqualified candidate. Counter this by reassuring the interviewer you understand and accept the nature of the position. For instance, talk about how the job’s duties align with your interests or confirm that you are looking for a position to settle into.

If your light is too bright, hiring managers may look away. Don’t let your skills become a negative attribute. If you have any tips for dealing with excess qualifications, share them in the comments!