Handling the Dreaded You're Overqualified Challenge

Robin Ryan

Seems I continually hear this complaint, "They aren't hiring me because I'm overqualified." One man wrote an e-mail to me concerned about this problem:

"I have a lot of incredible extracurricular professional activities, publishing expertise, project management experience, board leadership skills, etc. I have an MBA, and am a CPA. All of this info is on my resume because it sets me apart. However, I am concerned that people are viewing me as overqualified for lower level jobs and eliminating me. Yet, the jobs I am truly qualified for are fairly high up because of all of the varied experience. I'm not being considered due to lack of specific industry experience. Help!"

So what should you do if you are credentialed with good experience, advanced education, and are looking to get re-employed, and are even willing to take a lower level position? Here are a few tips:

Don't be tempted to "dumb down!" This strategy moves your career backwards. You typically end up frustrated, not hired, or worse - you find a new job you can't wait to move out of. Most employers today want you working at your ability level since productivity is key to everyone's success, and they want to retain you past the many months it takes to train you for the job so you can begin to make a contribution to the company.

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