What does overqualified mean?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word overqualified means 'having qualifications that exceed the requirements of a particular job'. Now, when it comes to job searching, you may find that employers use being 'overqualified' as a reason to reject you for a position that you've applied for, which can sometimes be a kick in the teeth. You've got the experience of working several years in an industry with plenty of know-how, but somehow, this is seen as a disadvantage and a barrier to securing your next role. So, what can you do to overcome your overqualification? Let's find out!

 

Be clear and direct

The first thing you need to do is to address your experience mismatch from the get-go. When applying for certain roles, be clear in your cover letter that you acknowledge that you have certain skills and abilities above what is expected, but you are looking for an additional type of challenge. By not addressing the so-called 'elephant in the room' you may be encouraging your potential hiring manager to question why you are applying. The main thing for you to do is focus on your interest in the role or company. The hiring firm will be more likely to take a chance on you if you talk about why you're so passionate about working there rather than the fact the job requires less travel or offers more money.

 

Be flexible on your salary

One of the many barriers that possessing a wealth of knowledge and experience can bring is the notion that you will want a commensurate wage. In many cases, hiring firms will not increase the advertised salary just because you have extra experience or industry know-how. So, be prepared to be flexible on the salary you earn and to take a pay-cut if you want a job you could have taken several years ago. Never make it seem like the position is beneath you.

 

Sell yourself

When discussing your previous experience with recruiters and hiring managers, ensure you portray it in a positive way where you can use it to benefit the organisation in question. Think about what your years of experience can bring to the position, even if the company hiring isn't looking for it. Instead of seeing yourself as being 'overqualified', view yourself as being 'highly qualified' with something extra that you can offer. Emphasise that you are perfectly capable of carrying out the position and that your wealth of qualifications and experience means you can accept greater responsibility in a shorter amount of time than it would take to train someone else.

 

Emphasise your long-term goals

One of the many assumptions that hiring managers make when they see an overqualified candidate applying for a position within their firm is that they only want to be there on a temporary basis until a more senior position is available elsewhere. This is one of the most common barriers that individuals face when they are deemed to be overqualified. The quickest and most effective way to squash this assumption is to emphasise and reiterate your longevity and desire to stay for the long haul. Again, you can use your cover letter as a great avenue to reinforce this and explain why you're applying for the position. You can be upfront during the interview and let them know that you understand that this may be a concern but that it's one that they need not worry about.

 

Tweak your CV

When there is an imbalance between the skills you have to offer and what is required in a position, a hiring manager can sometimes assume that the role is beneath you. A great way to counteract this assumption is to tweak your CV in a way that mirrors the job description. Now, we're not telling you to lie. Simply display that you are more than capable of taking on tasks you might otherwise assign to others and list them on your resume. This will give the hiring organisation confidence in your abilities and that you can be of value.

 

So, if you find yourself in a position where you are deemed 'overqualified', follow these simple steps to give yourself a better chance of securing that position. For more career advice, be sure to keep an eye on the Hyper Recruitment blog and follow us across our socials.

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