Do you have stellar qualifications? Education or on-the-job skills that should make interviewing almost unnecessary? With all of your experience and skills, it seems like any company would love to have you join the team. Unfortunately, you might be discovering precisely the opposite during your job search.
This is especially true if you’re looking for a job that doesn’t follow a traditional career trajectory with lower pay or less responsibility. The more experience you have, the more likely you are to hear that you’d be an excellent addition, but you’re overqualified. Convincing recruiters
that you’re the best fit in this situation is often a matter of rephrasing your information and being selective with how much you share.
Recruiters are tasked with finding the best candidate for the team, which means one who will thrive and grow with the company. You’ll need to help connect the dots for them to see that person is you.
Tailor your resume.
Take a step back and analyze whether your resume shouts all of your accomplishments from your career. Or does it point toward the specific role you’re applying for? Leave off any irrelevant training or higher degrees, and avoid highlighting how long you’ve been in the workforce by limiting the dates. Instead, spend extra focus on the job description
and carefully construct resume bullet points that demonstrate your ability to meet those requirements.
Use a different resume format.
Rather than a traditional chronological format, consider using a hybrid or functional design. You’ll draw attention to the experience you want to showcase and lessen the impact of other details. Also, you can avoid listing every job that you’ve held. Instead, only include the ones that gave you skills relevant to the position you’re applying for—especially if you’re seeking a more entry-level or supporting role.
Highlight skills rather than titles.
This can be particularly difficult if you’re a military veteran
or career changer, as you may have acquired higher-level titles that don’t necessarily convey your current skill set. In these cases, it’s best to focus on the skills you have that are most relevant to the position you’re applying for instead of any professional titles you’ve held.
Define your career goals.
If the HR department is concerned that you will become bored and move on from the position quickly, explain why the role appeals to you and why you are genuinely interested in the job and its specific duties. By concisely describing why you’re interested in the role, you will help the recruiters see that this position is something you are proactively seeking rather than just filling time until you get a better job. This honesty and transparency will go a long way in helping you secure the position.
For example, being a military spouse
is a unique and demanding role. One of the challenges of this role is the frequent need to relocate due to your spouse’s or partner’s job, making it difficult to maintain a traditional career path. As a result, many military spouses and caregivers are eager to find flexible roles that can quickly adapt to their changing circumstances. When discussing your career goals
with a recruiter, highlight why the flexible job you’re applying for is especially attractive to you because it meets your schedule and flexibility needs, even if it doesn’t match a traditional career path.
Focus on what you can offer.
Since your qualifications aren’t an obvious match at first glance, you’ll need to help the recruiter see what you’ll bring to the team. Thoroughly research the position and the company
to tailor your responses to fit the culture and the role. Ensure that your enthusiasm is evident so that there is no question about your focus on working for this specific company. Highlight aspects of your background and experience that will appeal to the company, even if they aren’t directly related to the job at hand. With thorough research, you’ll increase your chances of making a solid impression and overcoming any misgivings.
Exude positive energy.
When you get called in for an interview, you’ll need to strike the right balance between confidence and humility. You want to be confident in your abilities without seeming conceited. After all, you’re trying to impress potential employers and convince them that you’re the best person for the job. The key is to find a middle ground. Be confident in your responses and let your enthusiasm for the role shine through without coming across as arrogant or like the job is beneath you.
Consider Other Options
Being overqualified for a position can be frustrating, especially if it’s preventing you from landing a job. However, there are ways to work around your overqualified status and find meaningful employment.
One option is to launch a career as a freelancer. You’ll have the option to take on multiple smaller projects or jobs, giving you abundant scheduling freedom. Or, you can join the many freelancers that contract long-term with individual clients. Being overqualified will likely be seen as an asset by potential clients or employers, rather than a liability.
This article originally appeared in FlexJobs. FlexJobs is the leading career service specializing in flexible work, providing the largest database of vetted remote and flexible job listings. To support job seekers in all phases of their journey, FlexJobs offers a range of services including expert advice, job search events, and career coaching. FlexJobs also works with leading companies to recruit quality remote talent and optimize their remote and flexible workplace.
What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for those who've found themselves overqualified and unemployed? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!