Your goal as a job seeker is to mold yourself into the perfect candidate for the job. If this means adjusting the way you describe your skills and qualifications to match the employer’s needs, so be it. What happens, though, if you do such a good job that you find you have been deemed to be overqualified?
Being overqualified sounds like it would be a good thing for employers. After all, how can it be bad for an organization to benefit from an employee who has more experience than the average applicant? The reason overqualified candidates are viewed negatively is simple: They are viewed as a flight risk. The thought goes that the employee will become bored doing work that is too easy and will eventually leave for another position. You might question whether that is true or not but there is no questioning that it is a risk employers are not willing to take.
How do you avoid coming across as overqualified? Following the following two steps is a great start:
- It’s best to avoid applying to jobs that are below your skill level but what if you truly want that kind of job? In that case, you need to send the right message to the employer. This doesn’t mean you should omit your previous work experience in your resume; on the contrary, you should include all of your qualifications but highlight the ones that are most applicable to the job.
- Even with your resume tailored to the job, there will be no getting around the fact that you are overqualified. That’s why you should address the issue head-on in your cover letter. Acknowledge your extensive experience but explain how the job fits into your overall career path. If you can assure the employer that this is truly what you want and that you won’t get bored doing the work, you will have a better shot at being considered for the position.