Being overqualified is a very unique challenge. A lot of people have a difficult time finding a job because they can’t match a list of overly ambitious qualifications, but some people get stuck because they’ve blown that list out of the water. If you find yourself in a position where recruiters seem more intimidated than interested, there are a few things you can do to improve your odds.
1. Modify Your Resume
The last thing you want to do is lie on a resume, so don’t attempt to make yourself look like you meet the bare minimum. What you can easily do is remove clutter from your resume that isn’t necessarily relevant to the position that you’re applying for. Not only will it be easier for a recruiter to read your resume, but it will be easier for them to evaluate you on a narrow set of criteria. It won’t appear overwhelming.
2. Use Your Position to Your Advantage
When you’re overqualified, it helps to aim up rather than across. If you’re applying for a position that’s very similar to one you’ve held before, a company may view you as a person who has grown out of that position. Instead, apply for the next position up. You’ll look less like someone who is overqualified and more like someone with leadership skills and ambition.
3. Seek Help Through Your Pro Network
It might help to have a friend or former colleague who can vouch for you, or even recommend you. The person reviewing your resume will be doing so with a little more personal knowledge about who you are and what you provide. Your professional network can become your biggest set of influencers.
4. Change Your Career Path
If you’re really having a hard time finding a position because you’re overqualified, move around. If you’re too qualified to work retail at a home improvement store, become a construction manager. If you’re overqualified to be a line cook, become a purchaser for a restaurant. Pick something else in your industry that gives you a chance to try something new.
5. Don’t Settle for Too Little
If you’re significantly overqualified, don’t attempt to apply for positions that are so far below your skillset that a recruiter will ask you why you’ve bothered. Don’t give into the instinct to give up – you’ll have a much harder time trying to find a company that understands where you’re coming from, and you will never be happy without being challenged.
6. Be Willing to Make Some Compromises
One of the main reasons a company may feel dissuaded from hiring an overqualified person is the salary element of the job offer. They may not be able to afford you what the paper says you’re worth, and this might discourage them from giving you the position. If you’re willing to make some compromises on salary, you might be able to negotiate yourself into a position that may not have otherwise been offered to you.
7. Go To Work For Yourself
Can you do it all on your own? Can you take all of your qualifications and use them to start your own business or firm doing what you used to do for other people? If your skillset is strong, it might not be a nightmare to find all of the investors you would need to start up your own business. That option is always on the table, as long as you’re willing to work for it.
Although being overqualified can pose some challenges, there are certainly worst challenges to have. Stay optimistic and confident in your abilities, and be patient. You’ll get the position you deserve.
Sarah Davies is a careers blogger who believes it is her mission to share her insights with both job seekers looking for exciting new careers and employers who are searching for great talents. At the moment, Sarah is supporting Open Colleges, Australia’s leading online educator. Find her at @sarah_davies_au.