If you are desperate for a job, or want to change your lifestyle, you may be searching “below” your usual job title, but it won’t do you any favours to point this out.

Lots of people apply for jobs that they have too much experience for, for various reasons. Your interest in the position alone proves that you want the job, and it’s up to you to show you’re right for it.

Why employers are hesitant to hire overqualified applicants

Employers look for candidates who are a good match for the job, and if your credentials show you’re overqualified or too senior for a job you may not even be considered. One of the main reasons for this is that overqualified candidates may not want to stay long term in a position, and employers like to avoid turnover. Employers could also be worried that they won’t be able to afford a salary you’re accustomed to. It’s usually obvious if someone is overqualified so it’s important to address these issues head on.

How to navigate the job interview

In the interview, take the initiative and expand on the reasons why you are interested in the job. Don’t wait for the interviewer to bring up the question. Even if the interviewer doesn’t say “you appear to be overqualified” they’re probably still thinking it.

Reassure the hiring manager that you won’t be bored, that you have the curiosity and drive to keep learning new skills, that you are comfortable being supervised by someone younger than you and that you will not become dissatisfied with a lower salary. Your skill-set and experience could be above what the interviewer is looking for, but that doesn’t mean you don’t intend to stay in the job.

Try to focus on your skills rather than your experience. Honesty in this regard could very well impress a hiring manager.

Some tips for your CV

Your CV and cover letter can be tweaked to highlight key experiences relevant to the position, as opposed to an extensive work background that, while impressive, might not be relevant – or worse still, can cause your CV to be ignored entirely.

Tailor it: As with any job application, if you’re overqualified you should focus your resume on how your experience matches the job you want. Don’t delve into experience and qualifications that go beyond the company’s needs for the position, instead highlight the applicable skills you have.

Omit advanced degrees: You do not need to list every degree you hold. Leave off the post-college degrees if you don’t think they’re relevant to the job. You don’t need to advertise the fact that you have more qualifications than the employer is looking for.

Don’t include graduation dates: There’s no need to include graduation dates for when you attended university on your CV. Dates advertise how old you are, which some can associate with experience levels – this can indicate, wrongly or rightly, that you’re overqualified for the job.

Leave off some jobs: You are not required to list every position you’ve ever held. You can remove jobs from your CV that make you look over-qualified, but be aware that doing so may make companies wonder what you did during those blocks of time.

If the topic of being overqualified does come up in a job interview, ask for specifics about why the interviewer has that concern as this will give you a clear opportunity to reassure them. You may have a personal passion for the position or company or maybe you just want to return to more hands-on work in your field, and leave management behind.

As well as tailoring your CV, you can also use your cover letter to clearly detail why you want the job, you can then use the interview to expand further.

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