You’re Overqualified But Unemployed – Now What?

One of the most frustrating things to hear during the job search is, “You’re overqualified.” You would think that would be a good thing. The company is getting someone who can hit the ground running and take it to the next level and any number of other platitudes that makes overqualified desirable. So why isn’t it?

Fear. They are worried the job will bore you or that it is a temporary fix until you find something better. They don’t want to invest time and energy when they think they will lose you. So your job is to convince them otherwise. Here are 5 tips to manage questions about being overqualified:

  1. Take salary off the table. Make it clear that you are flexible and that what you earned in the past is not relevant to your current job search.
  2. Address the potential concerns up front. Bring up the topic first. Ask the interviewer if he or she has any concerns about you performing in the role, then highlight your accomplishments, flexibility, and ability to thrive in a team environment.
  3. Explain your reasons. Tell the interviewer your reasons for being interested in the role, even though it appears that you are overqualified for it. Convince them this is a lifestyle choice or a passion project. Tell them the truth and they will believe you. If it is not the truth, they will likely see through it.
  4. Lighten your résumé. Consider removing dates or positions from your résumé so you don’t overwhelm the interviewer with your experience.
  5. Be humble. Reassure the interviewer that though you are an experienced candidate, you realize that you have to prove it to each employer.

When it comes to resume challenges, the best way to tackle these problems is to be straightforward and honest with your interviewer. Remember to be vulnerable and open – that’s how you nail the interview.

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