5 Tips for dealing with the Overqualified issue

Saturday, January 18, 2014

These days in order to get back into the job market, many people are applying for roles that don’t require their level of experience and qualifications. In this situation, how do you avoid running the risk of being overlooked in the recruitment process and rejected on the basis of being overqualified? 

The following 5 tips should help: 

Address the issue 
If there is a specific reason why you are looking for a lower level position, it is a good idea to address the issue head on. Perhaps you are looking to establish yourself in a new field/sector or maybe you want to reduce your working hours due to family commitments. 

Show your ability to work well with less experienced colleagues 
The hiring manager may be worried that you won’t be able to work effectively alongside less-experienced colleagues. You’ll need to emphasise that you are a team player and that the success of the team is more important than any of the individual team members. 
If you are more experienced than the person you’ll be reporting to, you may need to reassure them that you are not a threat and won’t be plotting to take their job! Ask what their priorities are and how they’ll measure your success in the role – this should lead the way for you to highlight how by working well together, you can make them look good. 

Make it clear to the employer that you are flexible on salary. Often companies assume that a highly qualified candidate will have equally high salary expectations. When it comes to salary negotiations, remember that basic salary is only one part of the package – you can negotiate a bonus which is linked to savings that you make for the company, flexible working hours, longer holidays…the list is endless. 

Focus on your skills 
Focus more on skills and accomplishments than job titles. Using the employer's own words from the job description, highlight your skills and emphasise your unique value to the organisation. 

It’s often assumed that highly qualified candidates are just looking for a job to tide them over until something better comes along. Reassure the employer that you are in it for the long haul. Show that in each of your previous roles you showed loyalty to your employer and grew and developed with the company 

Like many obstacles you’ll face in your job search, being “overqualified” is only an issue if you don’t take the opportunity to turn it to your advantage. By highlighting your skills and showing an employer how they will get more bang for their buck you’ll be able to turn this perceived problem into a strength.