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7 Tips on How to Land the Job Even When You're Overqualified

7 Tips on How to Land the Job Even When You're Overqualified

Being overqualified means your experiences, education level, and/or skills are beyond what is required for the position you’re trying out for. Sadly, in this case, résumés will not always be your ticket to employment. For overqualified applicants, an impressive résumé might sometimes be the reason for employers to say, “Thank you, next!”

Why do employers hesitate to hire an overqualified candidate?

A hiring professional’s aim in filling an open position is always to match the job as best they can with the applicant. In the case of overqualified candidates, recruiters raise their eyebrows in hesitation because of the following reasons:

  • Fear of immediate turnover and boredom: Being overqualified may give employers the impression that it would be easy for you to feel bored at work and just leave the role behind once you find a more suitable position according to your experiences.
  • Insubordination: Employers may also worry of your tendencies to disobey orders or requests from a superior with lesser credentials. 
  • High salary expectations: With the many qualifications under your employment belt, recruiters fear that you may try to request for a salary above what the role (and employer, essentially) is ready to pay for.
  • Self-serving goal: Recruiters may doubt an applicant with extensive background because of the possibility that they are only taking the job to serve an ulterior motive. It might seem like a plot from a movie but it can happen in real-life work arena when companies plant their employees in competing businesses to spy on confidential information.

How to win over your employer?

Now that you know their reasons of possibly rejecting your application, here are tips to help you gain your employers’ approval; so instead of “Thank you, next!” they will tell you, “Thank you, you got the job!”

1. Tailor your application.

Since your qualifications are more than what is needed for the position, it will benefit you to tailor fit your credentials based on what the job needs from its candidate. You don’t have to put all your strengths, trainings, and expertise in your résumé. As discussed above, it might scare the employer away. If you’re too strong for the job, that means you may not be the right fit.

In the hiring process, it is all about the fit. Make an effort to be the best match for the job. It’s okay to hold back on your achievements and focus instead on how you can be effective to the company should you get the job.

2. Be humble.

Related still with the first tip, remember to be humble about your achievements and your application as a whole. Keep in mind that you are on the needing side of the situation. You need to get hired.

Do not brag. Explain how, despite your experiences, you are still a glass half full - that you are always in the quest for opportunities to learn and improve. Be open to subordination and suggestions.

3. Be relatively honest.

You can expect that with your credentials, one of the questions that your employers will be eager to ask is: why did you apply for the job? The only way to get through that smoothly is if you are honest about your reasons. Your employers will want to not only hear your explanations but also feel the sincerity in your answer.

Answer the question directly BUT (and this is important), still in relation to Tip #1, tailor-fit your response and explanation. Avoid oversharing. Be relative in your honesty. For example, in telling them that you’re looking for a different job option, avoid saying you are “just” looking for a different job. Word it in a way that would appeal how you are actively looking for a newer opportunity and not just settling for anything different.

4. Address and correct assumptions.

It should not hurt to welcome polite criticisms and assumptions about your application. Put yourself in the shoes of the employer. If you are the interviewer and an exceedingly strong candidate is before you, wouldn’t you also be critical about his/her reasons why he/she wants to apply for a lesser position?

Your interviewer might bring up uncomfortable topics about salary, your attitude in your previous work, your intentions as to why you are applying for the new job, etc. Never take offense. Instead, grab those criticisms and assumptions as a chance to introduce yourself better to your employer. Address their concerns and explain your reasons in a polite manner.

5. Point out possibilities.

If you are already experienced in applying for jobs, you will have been familiar to this question: how do you see yourself in x years? This is because all employers want their candidates to have a forward vision towards their job and the company as a whole.

Bring out the advantages to hiring an experienced candidate as opposed to a ‘newbie’. The stretch of possibilities that the newbie will present is slim compared to what you can envision and actually do given your background and experiences.

6. Partly offer your expertise.

All companies want to get the best out of their employees. In your case, your best is way beyond what the company can ever expect for the position that they are trying to fill. In a sense, you can turn this strength to your advantage.

You can offer your expertise but only partly. Keep in mind that the position on the table is still below your pay and proficiency grade. Offer to go slightly beyond what the position asks but that should be enough. Do not give out free labor.

Leave room for the company to see your higher potential. Who knows? That might open an opportunity for your employers to give you a position that suits your credentials better.

7. Be a good sport.

As ironic as it may seem, overqualification may result to your disqualification. When you submit your résumé and as you attend the interviews, keep that thought in your mind. There are always two sides to every coin. You can either get in or get rejected. By playing a good sport, you develop a broader perspective towards the application process. When your employer sense this attitude from you, it might actually leave a good impression and can even land you the job.