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Job Hunting

Are You Overqualified? (Pt. 1)

o·ver·qual·i·fied / [oh-ver-kwoluh-fahyd]


having more education, training, or experience than is required for a job or position.

1950–55; over- + qualified (courtesy Dictionary.com)

 I wonder that employers could screen out an applicant because they have too much education, too many years of experience, or too highly paid in their most recent job. However we all know that in the past few years employers have had more freedom to choose their top candidates from large pools of qualified applicants and can be just about as choosy as they wish to be. They only need one small hint that you might be too expensive for them and they can screen you out.

I’ve heard that Overqualified is code for “will not fit the current position.”

So how do you counter that?

First of all, understand the mind of the employer. What is it about having too much experience or too high a job title that concerns them?

  1. Overqualified candidates may be seen as taking the position temporarily, either to fill in job gaps until a better paying job comes along, or to obtain work experience for another position.
  2. Candidates who have worked at the same or higher position for many years without showing any promotion or progression might be seen as stagnant.
  3. Employers get concerned that applicants taking lower level positions than they have performed might get bored with their job, and their level and quality of productivity would be low.
  4. Candidates who represent the fullness of their experience and accomplishments may come across as full of themselves. Such might be considered a liability as they might be set in their ways and inflexible.
  5. Without some indication of why an applicant wishes to return to a lower level of work than most recently performed, the applicant might be perceived as washed up, burned out, or simply too old.

So what do you do?


About kimberlyjmyers

I am a workforce development professional in Washington State. I have ten years experience working with dislocated workers, vocationally impaired, and people with disabilities on many levels and backgrounds from offenders to non-English speaking refugees from around the world. The One thing the clients I have worked with all had in common: there was some barrier to employment, and I work diligently every day to identify, address and remove those barriers.



  1. Pingback: Are You Overqualified? (pt. 2) « Job Seeking Today - May 17, 2012

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