Being Overqualified is not a Job Search Death Sentence

Abby Kohut, (Absolutely Abby) shares tips on how to have a successful seasoned search and why being overqualified is a benefit to a full audience on October 9th in Rochester, NY.

Abby, a seasoned recruiter, says that companies and recruiters don’t always tell you the truth when you don’t get the job or get referred to the next step in the interview process. They often tell you that you are
“overqualified” because have:

  • Too much experience
  • Too much education
  • Your salary requirements are too high

Why do recruiters impose these types of candidate screening techniques? They want to narrow the field of job candidates.

One of the myths that Abby dispels is that companies and recruiters are biased by age – in fact I hear that from job seekers too. The reason age plays a role in not being considered is because as you get older, you also gain – more experience, education and a higher salary. So, while it may seem that age is the issue, it is that you are seen as overqualified.

There are a number of reasons why companies shy away from hiring an overqualified job hunter. Are any of these statements true?

  1. You’ll get bored sooner than someone else and leave.
  2. You’ll leave for a better job title or salary.
  3. You are used to being in charge – you might resist taking direction from others.
  4. You may discount new ideas – after you have lots of experience and you know what works.
  5. Your colleagues and boss may feel threatened by you – it doesn’t matter if it is real or perceived.
  6. You’ll expect to be promoted quickly.

Get Inside the Hiring Manager’s Head

The better you understand where the hiring manger’s is coming from, the more successful you will be in framing your job search. For example, how excited do you think the hiring manager is about spending time finding to hire?

Not very excited, according to Absolutely Abby – hiring managers don’t want to have to repeat the process so they take a conservative approach. You have to convince them that their fears of hiring someone overqualified is unfounded and you are not making more work for them!

Convince Employers you are Absolutely Qualified

When an employer or recruiter starts to use the overqualified lingo, Abby says you can turn that conversation into a benefit by talking about why you are absolutely qualified. Here’s how:

  1. You have a shorter learning curve than someone without experience.
  2. Your broad experience can help the company and can be a mentor or teach junior employees.
  3. Unlike employees without experience, you can point to specific examples of success.

Share your success stories to reinforce how you are absolutely qualified for the job.

Do’s and Don’ts for Resumes

Have you ever heard or dummying down your resume to seem more attractive to companies or recruiters? Absolutely Abby says don’t do it. She does offer some tips on what you can do make your years of experienced less obvious – here’s a recap:

  • One, two or three pages? It doesn’t really matter. It’s all in the content. Includes jobs for 10-15 years.
  • Avoid mentioning the # of years of experience at the top of the resume. Just say you have experience.
  • There is no need to include graduation dates for education.
  • Omit the number of direct reports.
  • List technical skills that are in demand.
  • Add social media links – it demonstrates your technological savvy.
  • Do not omit dates entirely – include dates for jobs
  • Do not lie or omit titles

Do’s and Don’ts for Interviews

Once you have your foot in the door, it’s time for the interview. You don’t want to blow it, so here’s a list of things to think about:

  • Dress the part. Have an interview suit.
  • Expect to be interviewed by someone younger than you.
  • Find ways to discuss how active you are by sharing a personal activity.
  • Mention how you keep your technical skills current.
  • Don’t appear desperate.
  • Show passion for the job and the company.
  • Be ready to discuss career goals.
  • Dispel their belief that you only want to work for the next five years.

Being Overqualified is the Employer’s Objection

Sales people face objections every day by potential customers and clients. Working through objections is no different for the job seeker.  If you know this an obstacle, you have to prepare for it because it won’t go away. Believe in yourself and tell a story that conveys your passion for the job and company. That’s one way to win the job!

About Lynn Dessert (427 Posts)

Lynn Dessert is an ICF trained certified NLP Coach specializing in Executive, Career and Life coaching based in Rochester, N.Y. She works with individuals and organizations to maximize personal effectiveness skills—a cornerstone to career advancement. Lynn is the author of What To Do After Being Fired and The Secerts to Successful Job On-Boarding. Start your discovery process by contacting her at 585.249.5149 today.


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