How to handle being "overqualified" for a position in 2021.
You submit your resume to a staffing firm, like Visium Resources, or a hiring manager at that company you really want to work at. However, the word comes back that you were not selected because you were overqualified.
Getting labeled as overqualified can be a challenging hurdle to overcome when searching for a job. To many, the idea of being “too capable” for a job may seem crazy. However, employers have many reasons for turning down candidates who appear to have superior experience and a high level of responsibility. If you are eyeing a job where over-qualification is a concern, here are some tips to help ease your worries- as well as, hopefully, your potential employer’s.
What’s the issue with overqualified candidates anyway?
There are a variety of reasons why employers are quick to turn down overqualified candidates. Most commonly, they are worried that an experienced new hire will quickly become bored with less challenging responsibilities, leading to frustration and a quick exit. Employers do not want to waste time and money training a new employee only to have them leave as soon as something that may better fit their qualifications comes up. It is also possible the employer may believe you are only using the job as a launchpad to find something better.
Money is also a major concern. Many employers believe that someone with more talent than required will expect and demand a higher salary than they are willing to pay. These employers also tend to doubt an overqualified candidate’s willingness to take direction from less qualified managers. If the candidate thinks they know better than their superior, it is bound to cause issues- something any employer will wish to avoid.
If you really want a position that you may appear overqualified for, these will be the issues that you will have to deal with when talking to your recruiter or the hiring manager at your chosen company. But how can you address these concerns?
Explain it all in your cover letter.
As with any job application, your cover letter is the first chance to make your case. If you think you may be overqualified, it is wise to address this fact in the cover letter. Use this opportunity to ease the common concerns we explained above, by emphasizing positive traits. This also gives you a great opportunity to express the reasons for your interest in the position, and make it clear you are willing to accept a cut in pay if necessary.
Custom resume for success.
It is always tempting to fill your resume to the brim with previous accomplishments and experience. However, this is the easiest way to come off as overqualified. For this reason, here at Visium we often “focus a resume”.
It is important to adjust your resume to fit the position; this requires time and research in order to figure out exactly what the employer is looking for. You want to make sure that you put the correct experience on in order to tell the hiring manager that you are a great fit. However, be careful when including extra details which may not be needed. In other words, avoid overselling yourself.
While your resume must be an accurate representation of your job history, it is not necessary to include everything. Because of this, it is in your best interest to stick with only relevant experience, qualifications with a strong connection to the job. Conversely, you should avoid emphasizing areas that make you seem overqualified; for example, you shouldn’t call yourself an office manager if you’re seeking a clerk position.
Find success with a staffing firm.
When you work with a staffing firm, like Visium Resources, they can help make sure the resume you submit is as focused as possible for the position. A staffing firm can save you time researching the position and company as, often, the firm has worked with the client previously and knows what they are looking for. This affords you a better opportunity for success in landing an interview.
Partnering with a staffing firm can also help when it comes to the next step. Once you get into the interview, the staffing firm can best direct you how to sell your unique advantages to the employer.