QUESTION: How do I overcome being perceived as “overqualified” for a job I’m applying for?
If you have sought higher level jobs without success, instead of losing thousands of dollars in salary, seek out a resume writer/career coach to help you get the higher-level job. If you want the lower-level job, focus on your skills and accomplishments at that job level, explain why you want that job in your resume/cover letter, and network to the job.
Tailor your resume to your job target. Include qualifications that match the job requirements and leave off duties/responsibilities that are beyond the scope of the work you would be doing. In your summary section, make it clear the position you are seeking and explain that you are looking to transition to a new career. Use your cover letter to give additional details that support your candidacy.
Tone down your over qualifications and simplify your resume. Utilize the key words you are proficient in for each job you apply to, editing your resume to fit that position’s key words.
It is appropriate to list the qualifications you have for the position sought, but not all qualifications as an advanced degree or other education and/or experience may make you appear as overqualified. The guiding principle is to list relevant experience for the position sought. Stop there! If you believe qualifications above those being requested need to be included, state why.
If you’re repeatedly considered as overqualified for positions, you’re probably not maximizing your potential. Stretch your capabilities by applying for positions just outside of your comfort zone. Apply the 80/20 rule to your job search. Pass on roles where you meet 100% of the requirements and target opportunities that offer some room to grow (80% match with a 20% learning curve).
Smart employers realize that overqualified candidates can bring a lot of value to their companies―they typically require less training and supervision; they generate a greater return on investment by bringing new ideas and proven experience to the team. Address the issue upfront in your cover letter by turning over-qualification into an asset; explain concisely why the position will be a good fit.
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