overqualified for a job

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Overqualified for a Job : Why Does It Matter

Did you know that sometimes your qualifications and experiences can prove to be a hindrance to landing a job? Yes, and you thought finishing your education was the highway to a well-paying job.


If you read a job description thoroughly, you will usually find that along with the roles and responsibilities, it will mention the level of experience needed to do a job. For example, if the job ad mentions, “Looking for a software developer with 0-3 years of experience in PHP,” You have 7+ years of experience, knowledge of Python and SQL, and have been a team lead at your previous organisation. This scenario makes you overqualified for a job.


People might be applying for such jobs for a variety of reasons. Firstly, they might be looking for a career change, they may feel stuck in their current role and look for a more challenging position, and finally, it can be because they are often hard-pressed.


Sometimes, the market faces uncertain times, which can lead to layoffs, and getting offers can become tricky. Effective job search strategies are crucial in navigating these challenges and finding suitable employment opportunities.


How can you be overqualified for a job?

Research has found that over 36% of graduates are often overqualified for a position, of which only half the people said they were happy in their position, compared to 72% of employees who were well-matched.


So what exactly is overqualified for a job meaning? 


When you are overqualified for a job, you have more skills and experience than what is needed to perform that job. So, why are your achievements, which can often help you perform the job better than a right-fit candidate or an underqualified candidate, being considered a reason for rejection by recruiters?


While you may have team management skills and knowledge of several coding languages when the role is that of a junior data analyst, those skills that you have acquired over the years are non-transferable.


Also, a person with experience might ask for a steeper salary (and rightly so) to match their current CTC (cost-to-company). However, a company may not have that provision for the junior role that they are hiring.


Being overqualified for a job can be a challenging situation, but using tools like ChatGPT for job hunting can help tailor your applications to highlight relevant skills and experiences.


So, even if you get selected, you might feel less job satisfaction, and you have a higher chance of leaving the company, causing additional expenses and headaches for the business.


Signs that  you are applying for job overqualified

To avoid potential rejection, you can check before applying if you are over qualified for a job. Here are a few things to look for:


You exceed every must-have requirement in the job ad

The first step is to read the job description carefully and understand the skills and qualifications required. If you meet and exceed those asks, you are overqualified. You can also be overqualified for entry level jobs. Wondering how? Well, if the opening is for a non-graduate person, and you have a degree in Engineering, then you are overqualified for the role. 


Your current role pays you more

This is the best way to gauge if you are overqualified for a position. For example, if the ad says the salary range is between USD 50,000-75,000, but you are already making USD 100,000, you are overqualified.


Also, if you are a project manager at your current (or previous) company but the role is for an entry-level position, that makes you overqualified. 


Sometimes, candidates who are overqualified for a job may choose to cancel a job interview if they feel the position doesn’t align with their career goals or growth expectations.


You fly through the pre-vetting assignment and interview rounds

Sometimes, your CV may get shortlisted, and you can get a call-back from the recruiter. You can still ascertain if you are overqualified for a job or not. You finish the trial assignment easily, or you are not challenged enough.


It is time to think: Am I just over-prepared, was the interview not tough enough, or am I overqualified for the position?


Being overqualified for a job can sometimes be a disadvantage, but exploring the benefits of job shadowing can provide valuable insights and networking opportunities.


Why do companies avoid hiring overqualified candidates?

While you might be the most eligible candidate in the room, you still have not been selected. Hiring managers are often sceptical of hiring overqualified personnel.


Being overqualified for a job can sometimes result in missed opportunities, especially in an era where the impact of AI on jobs is reshaping the professional landscape.


So, why are talent acquisition specialists rejecting you? Here is why:


Higher turnover

Hiring an employee is a costly and time-consuming endeavour. So, imagine the frustration they feel, when you leave after a few months because the role is not challenging or rewarding enough for you. This is a common problem when hiring an overqualified person for a role. 


You are unwilling to learn

Experience comes with age! But with age comes an unwillingness to learn because you already have the experience to back yourself up. But with every passing year comes new tech and new ways of working, which can be difficult for someone to adapt. While this might not be true for you, most recruiters think this.


Salary is an issue

Money is a big factor for most employers and employees during recruitment. If you are experienced, you will be asking for more money than the budget for the role. Also, if you take a pay cut, you will not be happy in the long run. This is one of the biggest reasons for getting rejected if you are overqualified for a job.


You might find it difficult to work with junior members

The most common problem is an experienced member who takes a job in a junior position, often find it difficult to take orders from a manager who might be younger in age and experience. This can cause discontent within the team.


How to land a job even if you are overqualified for a position?

Here is how you can address the “overqualification” issue when talking to a hiring manager:

  1. Start by addressing a cover letter to the hiring manager. Tell them that although you are overqualified, you can contribute to the role, why you want it, and your willingness to learn and adapt to meet the requirements.
  2. Always tailor your CV for the job you are applying for. Remove any unnecessary credentials and certifications that might not be beneficial. 
  3. Remove the dates of your education and advanced degrees. Small changes can have a bigger impact, especially if you are overqualified for a job.
  4. Summarise your story in the professional summary section. Use simple language, and keep it concise.


Many experienced professionals find themselves overqualified for a job due to shifting job market trends, where positions requiring their skill level are scarce.


How 6 Pence helps

You must always use your strength, in this case, your experience and education to your advantage. Don’t be deterred from applying to a position just because you are overqualified for a job. A staff outsourcing agency like 6 Pence can help you match with jobs that match your qualities. This leads to a win-win situation for both employers and employees.


6 Pence hires on behalf of many top organisations in Oman, Iraq, Bahrain, and Dubai. Drop your CV by visiting the careers page on our website. Also, follow us on our socials to stay updated about the latest job openings. 


Frequently Asked Questions

How to respond to being overqualified for a job?

Whenever you are asked this question, always answer it with enthusiasm and professionalism. Tell them how your experience can be an asset to the company. Highlight all the concerns that we have discussed above in your answer. 


How do you resume a job you are overqualified for?

When creating a resume for a job that you are overqualified for, you can implement the following changes:

  • Remove any unnecessary experiences.
  • Remove the dates of your educational qualification.
  • Customise the resume for the job.


This lets you highlight your USPs relevant to the role without appearing overqualified. 


How is being overqualified for a job bad?

Being overqualified for a job can often be a negative trait because you might feel unmotivated in your current role. You will also not get adequate compensation for your experience. 


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