How to Get a Job You’re Overqualified for in 6 Easy Steps

Maddie Lloyd
by Maddie Lloyd
Get The Job, Guides - 3 years ago

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When you’re applying for jobs, it’s important to have all of the right qualifications. You’ve been working hard to build up your skill set and experience by going to school, working internships, and taking entry-level jobs to get your foot in the door. But now that the time has come to find a new job, your lofty qualifications are only getting in the way of you getting hired!

As if job searching wasn’t hard enough on its own, now you’re being punished for having too much experience — does the torture ever end?

Here’s the deal:

When you’re applying to a job that you’re overqualified for, hiring managers might think that you’re using this job as a temporary pit-stop until something bigger and better comes along. Even if that’s true, you don’t want to let them know that.

Use these 6 strategies to overcome your overqualification and land the job:

1. Adjust your resume to fit the job

If you’re going for a position that doesn’t quite match up with your experience, an employer might think that you’ll find the duties of the job to be beneath you, unworthy of your attention, or just plain boring.

You’re going to have to tweak your resume so that it doesn’t seem like you’d be doing them a favor by taking the job. Instead of listing your loftiest, most impressive tasks and achievements, consider listing a few of the more mundane, daily tasks you performed at your former job that most closely relate to the position you’re applying for.

By adjusting your resume to reflect the job requirements instead of listing your highest career achievements, hiring managers will be able to see that you aren’t so above doing those lower-level tasks as they may have assumed.

2. Go ahead and acknowledge the fact that you’re overqualified

It’s time to address the elephant in the room. Instead of tiptoeing around it, go ahead and acknowledge in your cover letter that your skills and experience are beyond what’s needed for the position.

Make sure to focus your interest on the job or company itself. Talk about why you’re passionate about the work, or that you’re looking to build upon your skill set. Employers will be more willing to invite you in for an interview if you show them that you’re genuinely interested in the job.

3. Let them know you’re not going to leave when another opportunity comes knocking

No employer will hire you if they think you’re going to use their company as a temporary paycheck until the right job comes around. Even if that’s the case, you’re going to need to ensure them that you plan to stick around for a while.

This is another great opportunity to put your cover letter to good use. Use your introduction to explain exactly why you want this job, and why you plan to stick around. If you get invited for an interview, bring up this concern with the hiring manager and tell them that you understand why they would be hesitant, but that it shouldn’t be a cause for alarm.

4. Be open to negotiating your salary

There’s no way around it, taking a cut in your job title may also mean taking a cut in your pay. If you’re going for a lower-level job, you may want to get ready to negotiate your salary requirements.

If the company asks for your salary requirements, mention that you’re flexible if they’re unable to meet your requested salary. Again, you never want them to think that you feel that the job is beneath you.

5. Be honest, but not too honest

If you’re looking to build up your skill sets, re-familiarize yourself with a specific line of work, or if you just really want to work for this particular company — go ahead and let the employers know, this honesty could work to your advantage.

On the other hand, if you’re completely desperate for a job and your rent is due soon, or if you just want to take a cut in the level of responsibility and chill out, you might want to keep those things to yourself.

The last thing you want to do when applying for a job is come off as desperate or lazy — no matter what your qualifications look like. If there are gaps in your employment history, hiring managers may think there’s an underlying reason why you can’t keep a job.

A sob story might be able to evoke an emotional response from an employer, but it’s pretty unlikely to yield a job offer. Keep the focus on your relevant qualifications and your commitment to the company.

6. Make your experience an advantage

When in doubt, show employers how your qualifications can only benefit them. Instead of discussing your experience level as being “overqualified,” start thinking of yourself as being “highly qualified.” Let them know what you can bring to the table with your years of experience, even if it might not match up with what they’re looking for.

Make sure to emphasize that you have what it takes for the job in question, and that your experience will allow you take on greater responsibilities than someone with fewer qualifications. Talk about how you want to grow professionally and how this job will help you achieve those goals.

Now you know how to get a job you’re overqualified for!

Sometimes our qualifications don’t exactly line up with a job we’re interested in, and there’s no reason why we should let all of our hard work interfere with getting the jobs we want!

Don’t let all of your hard-earned experience be a death sentence during your job hunt. Make sure to let employers know that you’re not going to bail on them when a better opportunity comes around, and emphasize that you don’t see the work as unworthy of your time.

If you can convince hiring managers that you’re committed to their company and that your high level of experience can only benefit them, you’re sure to get the job!

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