Daily Archives: January 18, 2013

Overcoming Being Overqualified

overqualified_Jan2013_webWhen you’re job searching, having your experience match exactly with the job qualifications is a long shot. So what do you do when you are overqualified for a position that you are interested in? How do you put your best foot forward? Here are some tips to help your job search move forward even if you’re overqualified.

  1. Check your pride at the door.
    When it comes to job searching, you are always trying to look like the best candidate and show off your best qualities. But, when you’re trying to land a job you are overqualified for, now is the time to fit in, not stand out. For example, if you can type 75 words per minute, but the job requirements are for someone who types 45 words per minute, put 45+ words per minute in your resume. If the job requirements asks for five years of experience and you have 15, put “more than 5 years” on your resume. Once you get the job, you can show them what an asset your experience is, but don’t overpower your resume or application when applying for a job for which you are overqualified.
  2. Use the job description as an outline for your resume.
    It’s wise to realize that when applying for jobs at large companies, it’s likely your application and resume must make it through an automated talent management system before arriving in front of a human. So, how do you make your resume end up at the top of the results? Use the job description as a guide. For every requirement you match, reformat your resume to match exactly with the requirement. It’s best to create a master resume that lists all of your skills, certifications, achievements, and education, and then pair that down for each job you apply for. The key isn’t to overwhelm recruiters and hiring managers with information on your resume, but to appear as a good match for the job. You can embellish on your skills and achievements in the cover letter or interview.
  3. Stay optimistic, there is no exact match.
    David Lewis, a former recruiter for Express Employment Professionals said, “I often told job seekers that there is no perfect candidate for any job. Everyone is either under-qualified or overqualified. Ideally, you need to find jobs where you most align with the requirements and then effectively demonstrate how well you match up.” It’s important to stay optimistic and focused in your job search. It can seem like you are reaching to fit in, but consider your options and stay positive.

How have you handled being overqualified for a job? Share your experience in the comments below.