Updated April 19, 2023
Introduction Overqualified for a Job
The coin has two sides. When you enter into an industry, you receive suggestions from your seniors that you need to do something extraordinary that no one has done in your group so that you can stand out in the crowd. So you do and get ahead of the public. A few years later, you are in middle management, following the same advice of your then seniors and making a ruckus, and feeling great. Everything seems to be great, and suddenly you receive a letter from the top management that even if your expertise is an asset to the company, the company doesn’t require your services, so it’s your last day in the office.
But let’s look at what overqualified means. Specifically, what do recruiters mean when they call you overqualified?
What to do if you’re Overqualified for a Job?
Here are a few tips and options to overcome and make yourself more convinced.
1. You’ve more qualification than the job requires
You may think that this is obvious, but it’s not. When the recruiters see you applying for a similar position as people with far fewer qualifications apply for, they view you as “desperate.” You’re not overqualified here; you’re more qualified than the norm. So, naturally, you hear words like overqualified, “you don’t fit in,” and “you need to apply elsewhere.” There’re two reasons why recruiters say these words –
- First, they believe that if you join in, you will finish your work within a few hours, and soon enough, you will feel bored and leave. That will affect the company and its ROI (return on investment).
- Second, they feel insecure that you may soon take their place if you join in, and they would be out of the company. This reason is rare. Recruiters who are professionals should not allow any biases or insecurities to cloud their decision-making abilities, but we all are human first.
2. You’ve more years of experience than we need
Nowadays, companies need good people to stick to the job. If you’re smarter than the crowd, you can leave behind the company and start on your own. But will the equation work if all the employees are more intelligent than the employers? We’re talking about only some of the companies, but companies that believe having more experience is a setback rather than an achievement are the ones who seek not-so-smart people.
3. You’re earning more than we can pay
The recruiter might call you overqualified if your last job paid you well, even beyond industry standards. No companies like to disclose that they can’t hire someone as good as you. So, what they do instead – is they call you overqualified, and you believe it to be true. But there are things you need to pay heed to as well. Understanding why recruiters call you overqualified is not enough. You need to know what you do wrong while allowing yourself to be called overqualified.
4. You’re scared
You’re applying for a job far lesser than your caliber because you believe you can’t get a job that matches your skill sets and allows you to enhance your professional life. So, what do you do? You stand in line with your juniors and leave the interview room, frustrated and angry.
5. You sell yourself short
We understand that you must pay your bills and care for your family. And now, if you’re in the middle of unemployment, we empathize with how you feel. But selling yourself short will not help you. It’s like a small box you’re trying to fit into. You know you need a giant box because you’re more significant than others standing in line. Still, you’ll squeeze your hands, legs, and body to fit in. Result? Anger, frustration, more anxiety, and humiliation!
6. You don’t believe in yourself
When it’s essential to believe in yourself the most? You will answer – Always! But during the tough time when everyone around you is speaking ill of you or saying that “you won’t make it,” it is the time when you need to hold yourself high and believe in yourself. A phrase says – Believe in yourself when no one does. When you don’t think you can make it, you fall for jobs that are not for you—all you need to do is show some patience and hone your existing skills. Then you’re done.
7. You try to get away from the insecurity
Losing a job is pathetic, especially when you have a family to feed and bills to pay. So, when you lose your job (in your mid-career), you get mad at that feeling and go for any job you can find. But that’s not how you should think. You need to separate yourself from what happened to you and see whether it happened because of you. In most cases, you’re not responsible for what happened. But now you can take responsibility to get back up and be a little better than before. So, don’t run away from that feeling of insecurity. Embrace it and take action. You deserve far more than you believe at this moment. Hang on there. Better opportunities are coming your way. Be ready.
In the previous sections, we saw what recruiters mean by calling you overqualified and what you do while looking for jobs.
We will offer you a how-to guide to handle this challenge and regain your power. Yes, it’s possible. You need to keep yourself high and be optimistic about the process. It’s a process of growth. So trust yourself and be courageous.
Guide to Deal with the Label Overqualified
If you expect a “how-to-guide” on how to deal with over-qualification, it’s not that. We will approach it holistically, not partially. The problem is not being called over-qualified; instead, the lack of self-sufficiency and losing trust in you. We will talk about over-qualification, but we must mention a few things. Read on; you will get why we focus on the holistic approach.
1. Sit back for a few days, relax
Most people would not give this advice. When you lose your job, they say – Run, run, run; you must find another one. But once you’ve gone through a setback, you need time to rejuvenate with yourself for quiet reflection, to tweak a few things in your mind, and to talk to yourself about how you feel. If you give yourself this time, you will heal and will be able to accept the mishap and be ready to retake charge. So, please don’t skip it.
2. Feel Grateful
Most people suffer from a sense of losing everything once they lose their jobs. But even when you lose your job, you don’t lose everything. You have a family who supports you, your skill sets, your qualifications, years of experience, you as your greatest supporter, and more. Just count everything in.
3. Don’t Compromise
If you read some blogs, they ask you to get a reference, compromise, and fit in. You’re being laid off, which has nothing to do with you, and now you’re in a desperate situation. See, if you do something that doesn’t make you happy, can you do it for a long time? The answer is no. You may be facing some temporary setbacks, but things will get better. Never compromise on your professional life. Prepare yourself for the right opportunity and keep searching. You will get one.
4. Look for all the Opportunities
First, make a list of all the skills you have. Then make a list of all the people you know. Finally, develop another list of all the things you can accomplish using your resources, including people and talents. Then start with something with a maximum chance of success (as of now). If you were a marketing manager in your previous company, see whether you can start a marketing consulting company. You don’t need to create something big. Just call a few people you know or customers you served before and let them know you’re in business. All you need to have to start a consulting company is a desk, a chair, a laptop, a phone, and a bunch of contacts. You’re done. If you still want to return to a job, look for opportunities outside your industry. As you’re out of the job now, the sector you were in may not be doing that well. Look for jobs in different sectors.
Even after doing the above, you may find that the recruiters interviewing you for the job you want may call you overqualified. What to do, then? Ask them a few questions. Politely tell them you’ve some questions –
- Ask them what makes them think you’re overqualified when you know that the job you applied for perfectly suits your skills and qualifications.
- Tell them that you’re not bothered about the salary till the time you’re given room to grow and learn (Check beforehand the range of wages. You shouldn’t want to go for a job which pays you less than you deserve)
- Convince the recruiters that you’ve been there for a long time and don’t believe leaving a job can solve the problems. That means you must make them think you’re not a job hopper.
- Make them understand that hiring you has more benefits to them than you’ve joined them. They can use your expertise, experience, qualification, knowledge, and skill set, and instead of that only thing you’re asking for is a learning opportunity. It’s not a bad deal.
- Refrain from sounding desperate while convincing them. You need to believe in yourself and ensure your behaviors reflect your beliefs.
6. You’re not overqualified for anything
It’s a stigma, nothing else. There’s no question of dealing with the term over-qualification because you don’t need to stick to one job that you want. There are thousands of more jobs and millions of other opportunities. You don’t need to stick to one. If the recruiters get that you’re so desperate to get this job, they have the power to exploit you and make you run for whatever they offer you. After having so much knowledge, experience, and skills, do you want to sell yourself so short? The decision is yours.
The entire article doesn’t revolve around what you should do when you’re called overqualified for a job you want. Instead, it’s an account of how to set yourself apart from the crowd and take back your power when the recruiters call you overqualified. If you read this article and understand and apply, you will see that you’re in a far better position than before. You don’t need to get stuck in a particular job; you have opportunities.
There’s an important concept called “opportunity cost.” Only companies don’t have “opportunity cost”; you have it too. If a company calls you overqualified and they call you the same even after negotiating, move on. You have a better opportunity ahead. There’s no need to be desperate about jobs. The more desperate you become, the less valuable you’re. See your value even after being thrown off a job. You may need a job. You still have everything minus the job. So why worry? Use the above tips and tricks to understand yourself, understand the recruiters, and aim for a great professional life ahead.
Remember – “You’re not overqualified for anything; you’re here to stand out, make your mark and make a difference.” Hang on. You’re precious.
This is a guide to Overqualified for a Job. Here we discuss the Introduction and the Guide to deal with the Label Overqualified for a Job. You may also refer to our other related articles –