How Do I Get Past the Overqualified Label?

Nancy Anderson
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Your job search preparation requires you to put together a professional resume and cover letter that outlines pertinent skills to the job. However, if you find yourself constantly labeled as an overqualified candidate, your approach to submitting applications may need to change. Show you are qualified for the position of your dreams and dodge this damaging label by taking these steps.

Customize Your Resume

While you may have extensive experience and qualifications, avoid overstuffing your resume with every single position and skill to eliminate being dubbed as an overqualified candidate. Instead, only include information relevant to each job. For instance, spend some time scouring through the job description to identify keywords that detail your skills. In addition, point out transferrable skills from your duties in other positions that may not be related to the industry. Avoid including accomplishments that are not relevant to your job field, and only focus on skills the employer is seeking in an applicant.

Address the Label Directly

You may encounter claims that you are an overqualified candidate during a job interview. Leverage this opinion by remaining calm and ask the hiring manager why this assumption exists. Offer to address any concerns the employer may have about your experience and skills. This way, you can gain information to alleviate this assumption. Show that although you may be viewed as an overqualified candidate, your skills and experience are a good fit for the company. Outline how you can make a positive impact and are willing to work as a team with co-workers and professionals in the industry. It's crucial that you remain professional and avoid getting defensive when labeled. If a hiring manager is unwilling to address the concerns, it may indicate to you that this is not the company you want to work for in the future.

Sell Your Future, Not Your Past

If you think that employers view you as an overqualified candidate, get creative with how you pitch your skills. While most applicants focus on their past experience and qualifications during a job interview, spend time focusing on your future plans. Offer insight into how you can boost productivity or profitability for the company, detail how you would like to join teams and collaborate with clients, and show you want to be a part of the company culture. Applicants who spend more time discussing their future plans with a company often help the hiring manager to see their value versus the achievements that may lead to them being labeled as overqualified.

The key element of your job search should be to promote your professional worth, but when faced with labeling by employers, show how your status as an overqualified candidate can work to their advantage. Focus on your future goals and professionally display just how much your value can positively impact the company.

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  • Kevin  Heney
    Kevin Heney

    Great advice. I guess when you reach a couple of decades of experience you have to think of a resume like a cover letter - tailored for each company.

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