If you are applying for a job that you are overqualified for you may worry that the employer won't give you a chance. It might seem crazy that you could be penalized for being too great at what you do, but it does happen. If you think about it from an employer's perspective, it makes sense that they could be concerned for a number of reasons.
The employer may assume that an overqualified candidate will:
Get bored with the role and simply leave
Try and move up within the organization ASAP and quit if that’s not possible
Continue to apply elsewhere for positions that match their abilities
Want a vastly greater salary than the current position pays
Let's take a look at some tips on what to do when you're overqualified and how to ease an employer's worries!
During the interview instead of focusing on highlighting all of your accomplishments on your resume if you’re overqualified, focus specifically on roles and responsibilities that align with the potential position. Be specific and straightforward! The goal is to make yourself appear in line for that position.
When you’re overqualified you will likely receive a salary reduction and it’s important to convey to the employer that you’re willing to take one. So, be sure to address the elephant in the room! In your cover letter make it clear that the role is an acceptable range for you. For example, if you were a manager in your past role but you are now looking for an individual contributor role, make it clear you're not expecting a similar salary because you know this role has less responsibility.
During an interview expect questions about why you want the job given your advanced experience and skills to come up. This is likely the first question the employer will ask, so having a great answer prepared in advance is very important. First, acknowledge that you know you're overqualified, and next, provide reasons why hiring you benefits the company. This could be that you plan to use your wide range of experience to mentor team members or assist when coworkers are out sick or on vacation. Think about how being overqualified is an advantage to that company and sell it to them!
Make sure to research the company before applying. Find out who they are and where they need assistance. Show them that you understand their problems and outline what your experience can bring to the organization. You're at an advantage because employers know that hiring someone with more experience means the learning curve for training will be shorter and that someone with more experience at a lower price can greatly benefit them.
Don’t necessarily put on the breaks and think it can’t or won’t happen. Instead of seeing yourself as overqualified, view yourself as highly qualified with something extra to offer the company! Also, it goes without saying, but avoid thinking/acting like you are "too good" for the role.
Also, be aware that even though you are overqualified for the role that this is not a guarantee that the job is yours based on your experience. Even though you have all that great experience it doesn’t necessarily mean you will land the job on that alone. You will still need to convince the company of what you can do for them and stand out from other applicants. And ultimately, it is YOUR decision whether or not you'll accept or decline the job offer.
Would you apply for a job even if you felt overqualified for it?