Feeling overqualified? Here's how to get hired
You have years of work experience. You've polished your online profile. You even bought a stylin' pinstriped suit. Employers should be beating down your door - but you can't seem to make it past the interview . What's wrong?
The problem might be that employers think you're overqualified for the job. This happens often in a competitive job market when workers who previously held salaried jobs begin to seek full-time or part-time hourly jobs.
When a hiring manager sees an application from someone whose qualifications go way beyond the job requirements, a few questions come up. The manager may wonder "Why does this person want this job?" or "Can we afford to hire him or her?"
If you want to get hired, tackle these perceptions head-on. Acknowledge that you might appear overqualified and explain why you really, really want this job. When talking about your experience, focus only on the skills that matter to the employer. So if you've worked in real estate and now you want a retail job, talk about how you're very motivated and a good communicator - not your knack for negotiating closing costs.
"The other key for job-seekers is to stress their flexibility and openness to training and working as much as necessary," says employment expert Dr. Randall Hansen, founder of Quintessential Careers. "You have to walk the line of sounding like you are okay with working in the position (and capable of doing so without much supervision or training) without sounding so desperate that you would take any job (even if you are at that point)."
Got that? Enthusiasm's good. Desperation, not so much. Honesty is also important. Employers may be worried that you'll cut and run the minute you find a better opportunity.
"For overqualified job seekers who are typically seeking a survival job until the economy or their industry/profession improves, the key is showcasing a commitment to work harder than anyone else," Hansen says. These job seekers should also make "a promise that if hired, they will be honest about when - or if - they hope to transition back to a salaried position."
Once you get hired, live up to your promises - work hard, keep an open mind and put your talents to good use. You might find that your new hourly job turns into the job of your dreams.