It is hard to miss the frustration expressed by unsuccessful job hunters - it really is hard to keep your spirits up when you think you've finally hooked a good looking job, only to find out it too has slipped away. And quite a few of these letters have one common denominator - the candidate feels (or has been told that) they are overqualified for the target position.
We get a lot of emails here every week from job hunters. Occasionally there are success stories; with new employees thanking us for whatever bit of advice or help that may have assisted them in landing their new job. More often, though, the notes are describing something that is going wrong in their job search. It is hard to miss the frustration expressed by unsuccessful job hunters - it really is hard to keep your spirits up when you think you've finally hooked a good looking job, only to find out it too has slipped away. And quite a few of these letters have one common denominator - the candidate feels (or has been told that) they are overqualified for the target position.
How could anyone possibly be 'overqualified' for a position? Is there a problem with someone doing the job better than anyone expected them to? Of course not. Overqualified, at least to the hiring manager, means something altogether different. It is used as a red herring to cover up their real fears, the unspoken ones you must uncover and respond to if you want to be offered the job. Employers generally have one (or more) of the following concerns about workers that they classify as 'overqualified':
- You'll be harder to get rid of if things don't work out because of discrimination issues. If push comes to shove and the boss wants to fire you rather than your inexperienced coworker, they could be on shaky ground with the NLRB by retaining the lesser skilled (but more easily bossed?) employee.
- You're more likely to jump to another better paying job when the offer comes. Employers don't want to have to go through the laborious process of hiring for this position anytime soon, and skilled and experienced employees sure look like headhunter bait from the employer's perspective.
- You're going to cost them more, either in initial pay, raises, or sick leave. Employers hate to spend money, especially on employee pay - it seems to be a universal trait.
- You'll quickly get bored with the job, and act like the work is beneath your talents. Not only does this make it hard to motivate you, it might impact other workers as well.
Answering these fears takes a steady hand and a calm rational mind. You are more valuable because of the money you'll save them by using your cost-cutting experience (give examples). You won't jump to another firm because you take pride in commitment to your employers (see work history). You are dependable, work hard and well, and are willing to get the task done as a team member no matter what the assignment is (resume, references, work history).
Overqualified workers are probably the best bet the hiring manager could make - it just takes some convincing to get them to put their money where your mouth is.
- Mark Poppen"
<Note from JobFairy.com: I get this all the time. It doesn't pay to dumb down your resume though. If you're using the Job Fairy algorithms, you'll be getting calls from recruiters for the appropriate kind of jobs.>