Overqualified for the Job You Really Want?

You’ve found the perfect job posted and are excited to apply.  As you reread the job description, you realize that you exceed the qualifications posted for the position.  Instead of immediately admitting defeat, take a more proactive approach.


The Job Description is a wish list.  Employers provide a detailed listing of what they are seeking in the “ideal” candidate.  Why wouldn’t an employer want someone with ever more skills and experience than they need?  Often they worry that the employee will be bored, will expect much higher compensation or is using the job as a placeholder until something better comes along.  Hiring and training a new employee is an expensive endeavor so they want to be as successful as possible in identifying the best candidate while minimizing their risk.


This is not the time to just submit your resume online.  If all they are looking at is your resume, you may well not make it to the pile they will invite for interviews.  Increase your likelihood of success in two ways.  Submit a well-written customized cover letter that focuses on your transferable skills and your strong interest in the opportunity.  If there is a specific reason you are interested in this opportunity even though you would be considered overqualified, address that in your letter.  Show them that you have a genuine interest in this opportunity as a logical next step in your career.  Be careful not to sound cocky by assuming you are overqualified.  Present it as the possibility that some may perceive your experience as being overqualified but address those concerns proactively.


Also, network within the company to learn more and to identify an internal supporter who can pass your resume to the hiring manager with a recommendation.  If you find the right contact you can be candid about your concerns about the perception of being overqualified and can share your motivation for seeking this position.  They can become a strong internal advocate for you.  Use very opportunity to stand out from the crowd of candidates.  Do not mention skills you are lacking, focus on the positives you bring to the job.


If this truly is the “perfect job for you,” go for it but be sure to put your best foot forward to increase your likelihood of success.



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