Anytime an applicant is overqualified, employers tend to be suspicious of their motives. They fear that you’re just staying temporarily while looking for the better job, or that you’re going to ask for more money, or that won’t like being supervised by a younger superior, or that you just want to have less stress and responsibility at this point in your life.
No matter what the reason is, there’s the possibility that an employer won’t hire you because you’re overqualified. To avoid being turned down due to overqualification, here are a few tips to help you:
Be up front – The reason most overqualified job seekers get turned down is that most employers don’t know why you’re pursuing a lower position. To ease their suspicions, you need to say it in your cover letter or interview. Tell them why you want this position while emphasizing how your skills would give you an advantage over other applicants.
Talk about money – Normally, job seekers would be better off not bringing up the topic of compensation. However, if an employer’s biggest reason not to hire you is the fear that you might ask for too much money, it might make sense to reassure them that you’re not asking for a salary that would match your previous positions. Let them know that you’re just looking for the standard rate. Show them you’re flexible while not sounding desperate.
Do away with job titles – Sometimes job titles can make an employer nervous, especially when your resume shows that the last position you held is as senior vice president. To remedy this, downplay the job titles in your resume and in the interview.
Ego check – If you’re really honest about pursuing a position, make sure that your ego won’t be in the way. Don’t let age be an issue with you and your potential employer or supervisor.
Offer a trial basis contract – When you’re overqualified, the quality of your work won’t be an issue. You’ll make any employer happy, and by the end of your trial contract, they won’t want to let you go.
Be honest – Sometimes all you need is a little bit of honesty. Tell the employer the real reason why you’re opting for a lower position. There’s no need to hide it if the reason is valid.
It’s a fact that being overqualified is not as good as it sounds, since many employers think that being overqualified is bad for business when the overqualified applicant jumps ship. Still, if you’re sincere about staying with the position for the long term, your resume and interview should reflect that.