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.


  1. Joe

    The MOST important thing to remember is this……..Do Not make yourself more knowlegable about the job than the person thats interviewing you. At that point you become a threat to him……he doesn’t want you to be taking HIS position.

  2. Deb

    Exactly Joe. Used to be that employers who would hire those who could help them achieve more. So when an employer wants mediocre rather than excellence, it truly is not a fit for those of us that see excellence as the standard.

  3. Nai

    This is the most heartbreaking thing that can ever happen, it took time for me to realise why i was not selected though i hv all the experience and qualifications thats required infact more than they usually ask for, It was one day when i went to a job fair and spoke to recruiter she was rude initially and then said upfront you have achieved lot in short time and by mentioning it in resume as your achievement you are just showing off. I initially couldn believe my ears but then i realised that though you hv achieved a lot in short time to get a job its better to behave dumb and hide your achievements bcus mostly they don want to hire who can overtake them.

    Its saddening to hide your hardwork and achievements but at the same time u need job.I would love to hire some1 who has achieved a lot in short time infact i have hired such ppl, wish majority ppl change their perception nd welcome ppl with ideas.

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