Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

How to Handle Being Overqualified

What sounds better to you: not having enough skills or experience for the job or having too much experience and skills that surpass what is expected of the job? At first glance, the answer is simple enough. Of course you would rather have too much experience and heightened skills, how can that be a bad thing? Well unfortunately for some, it is a bad thing and it can really deter your job search. If you are too qualified for the job, companies are very hesitant to hire you. It seems illogical, but when you look at it from the company’s perspective, they are simply looking out for themselves.

For a company, a worker that is overqualified could be a great liability. For one, they may think that you just want to take this job until something better rolls around. If it’s true, this can cost them a lot of time and money since once you leave, they will have to go through the whole process of finding a candidate again. On top of that, they will have to take the time to train them and, as you well know, for companies time is money. On the other hand, they may think that you are an incompetent worker. If you posses such advanced skills and experiences, then why not look for a job that better suits your skills? They may also think that you will want too much money, will want to take the boss’s job or will resent working under someone with less experience.

For some, these reasons may be true. However, there are a number of good reasons as to why you may want to find a job that is under your current position. Perhaps you want to spend more time with your family and your current position doesn’t allow for it. Maybe your parent or child needs extra care and you need less responsibility at work for more time. You may have disliked the role your last position gave you and know that you’ll be happier in a lower position. Whatever the reason, you need to be prepared to talk about your overqualification if you are looking for a job that is under your current position. That is why I have provided a number of tips here to help you get through this difficult discussion with employers. On top of these tips, please remember that Spark Hire is the best way to find the jobs you want in your job search. Even more, with Spark Hire you can always set yourself above the competition by utilizing our video technology to create a video resume. Video technology in the job search is quickly spreading and if you want to stay on top, use Spark Hire for all of your job search needs: from searching for jobs all the way to interviewing for them online, Spark Hire has got you covered.

Job Titles
If you know that you are searching for a job that is on a lower level than your current or past position, then you may want to downplay your job titles a bit. You should think about emphasizing your skills and at the same time de-emphasizing your job titles. It will be very intimidating for a company to see that you were once the Social Media Manager and now you are applying for a copywriter position. You don’t want to lie, but you don’t want to intimidate the interviewer with your title either.

Don’t Be a “Know It All”
This tip is particularly for the interview portion of your job search. Since you are a well-experienced worker and you are overqualified for this position, it may happen that the person you are interviewing with is younger than you and possibly less qualified than you. So, it’s important that you don’t come off as someone that already knows it all. You want to portray that you are team-player and that you can fully handle this position.

Address the Fact That You May Be Overqualified
If you are overqualified for a position you are trying to get, chances are you are well aware of the fact. You should openly address this in your job search. It’s a great idea to put it in your cover letter and to talk about it in the interview as well. Explain why you are applying and searching for this particular job and how you can use your skills to improve their business.

As stated above, employers may be hesitant to hire an overqualified worker because they think they may leave once something better comes along. Make sure you emphasize that you intend on staying in this position for a long time. You can talk about your longevity at other positions and you can suggest signing a contract if it is something they are worried about. Signing a contract saying that you will stay at the position for a minimum of a year can help put their worries to rest.

Show Excitement
Being genuinely excited and enthusiastic about this position will go a long way. Do your research on this company and convey to them why you want to work for them. They will be happy that you did your research and that you have specific reasons as to why you want to work with them.

IMAGE: Courtesy of Blue PRint

Nicole Nicholson

Nicole is the Content Editor for Spark Hire and mainly writes for and edits the work for the Spark News blog. She graduated in 2010 with a BA in Journalism from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She has a passion for writing, editing, and pretty much anything to do with content. In her free time she frequents the Chicago music scene and writes reviews on shows for her own personal blog. Connect with Nicole and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter

Add comment