Getting Started Professional Development

4 Ways to Land the Job When You’re Overqualified

Written by Peter Jones

Say you want to take a break from managerial positions and go back to doing more hands-on, creative work. Or maybe you’ve been laid off and pickings are slim. Perhaps you just want to spend more time with family and friends and don’t mind taking a pay cut.

Chances are, you don’t look right on paper for the work you used to do. Here are four ways to circumvent the problem of being overqualified.

1. Network Face-to-Face

Online programs are going to weed you out: you have too many years experience and your salary range is probably too high. You won’t get past the initial cull. But you can still get your foot in the door. Figure out why you want to make this change, hone it into a great elevator pitch, and hit the meet-and-greets. Get in front of as many hiring managers as you can, one-on-one, and make your case. You’ll have much more success with people than with online bots.

2. Don’t Bury the Lead

You’re a great candidate, but the hiring manager will be skeptical of your taking a step backward (in the linear model anyway). Why wait for them to ask? Bring the issue right out into the open yourself by bringing it up first. That way, you control the conversation and the narrative and can really explain your situation and why you’d still be right for them to hire.

3. Put Your Heart on Your Sleeve

If you were to take all of your hard-won management experience off your resume, there’d be a huge gap. But you can still get rid of it! Add in its place volunteer experience and consulting in your field. If you don’t have any, get started! The career-enriching work will pay off in the long run.

4. Tell your Story

Once you get the interview, you’re almost there. Make it personal. Explain your unique qualifications, but don’t forget to sell yourself—you!—as a good fit for the job. Use your storytelling skills to show them who you are and why this is not just the best move for you, but the best move for their company.

About the author

Peter Jones