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Overqualified For Job? How to Apply For It Still?


There are many reasons that a person with many years of experience might lookout for a job role for which he or she might be labeled as overqualified by hiring managers. These candidates never get to know about the result of their resume’s selection or rejection as the hiring managers tend to move these papers into the trash.

The reasons may vary like might be laid off from the previous job and is looking for another one, someone might have shifted to a newer city where there might not be any network. A few other reasons include changing the career path after so many years of experience in a certain industry.

With so many lucrative newer career options coming in picture, many middle management people switch into a different industry and have to start all over again.

overqualified for job

Despite being overqualified for a job, with proper thought put into the resume, one can easily get the job interview without being rejected.

But simultaneously they need to prepare themselves to answer the questions during the job interview regarding the overqualified and too much experience for a certain job role. If provided with an honest and relevant answer then getting the job is not difficult.

How to Apply if you are Overqualified for Job?

1. Find someone within the organization:

While applying for a job in an organization, try to connect with someone already working in that company so that he can recommend you for the job. Recommendations and good networking are the easiest way to find a job.

It opens up the doors of opportunity to the interview and the words from the person leave a convincing impact on you. Try connecting people within the office through social media if you don’t know someone personally. Talk to them, know them and see if things can work out in your favor.

2. Show your skills:

With so many years of experience mentioned in the paper, it is good to highlight your resume with the skills and talents you have. These skill-sets should be relevant to the job you have applied for.

Prevent from mentioning everything on the resume, it is advisable to customize the resume depending upon the company and the job role. Read and understand the job role description of the employer and then see how close your skillset matches with them.

Remove anything which is not helpful for the job profile. For example, if you have an MBA or you have achieved something big, then generally these are the things that are highlighted the most. But when applying for a smaller job role, it is important to tone down this information.

3. Remove unnecessary information from the resume:

With so many years of work experience of various qualifications, I tend to become the extra information for a job role which might not go well with your resume. But to get to that job, it is good to remove the information which does not match with the job.

There is no point in highlighting all the skills and experience you have gained over the years. This will scare the hiring manager thinking that the expectation of the candidate will be extremely high.

For example, if you’ve experienced in diverse industries or organizations, then it’s best to segregate the work experience as per industry-wise. Mention the achievements and roles in them, but ensure to write only that much which is required as per the job you are applying for.

4. Consult a headhunter:

If in case you are having trouble in getting the job you want, it is good to take some professional help from head hunters of that specific industry.

Since they know inside out of the industry they will know how your resume can be customized as per the job role. They can also help you find the relevant work as per your requirements.

Ask them about the jobs and learn as much as you can, also it is advisable to prepare and understand how to answer the uncomfortable questions regarding the profile change which will be posted by the hiring managers. These headhunters can guide you to give tactful answers during the job.

5. Look outside your industry:

Sometimes it is good to find opportunities in different sectors and industries. If you have burned out yourself in the same industry and are having difficulty in starting all over again, then find the relevant job in the different sectors which can make good use of your knowledge and skills for the betterment of their company.

Before deciding on to a sector, think and do thorough research as to which industry your skill sets will be relevant. A similar work style will be helpful for you to settle into easily.

6. Mention yourself as a team worker:

Every organization appreciates a team worker because all the processes are interdependent with people in a team. A team consists of people with various skills and personalities. Hence, coordinating with such a diverse selection of people is highly needed.

Portray yourself as an efficient team player, who understands the importance of working in a team. Give previous examples where team effort brought the best results. Mention this in your resume to catch the eye of the hiring manager.

Also, keep in mind that companies also look for someone who is a self-starter and does not wait to be told to do the job.

7. Honesty is not always the best policy:

During the interview, the question of choosing a job role for which you are qualified will be asked. Here the smart thing to do is, to tell the truth, but leave out the parts which may hamper the chances of hiring.

For example, if you were fired from your old job, then it is better not to mention anything negative that happened, yet telling some of the facts do work.

A company is always looking for those who can be true to the organization and are ready to work with an honest mind. Or in case you are thinking to stick to the job till something comes better ahead, prevent mentioning all of it as it will hamper your chances of being hired.

8. Put down the salary expectation:

With previous work experience, the expectation of salary goes high. The hiring managers sometimes do not consider the resume of an experienced person thinking about their salary expectations.

Hence, it is important to communicate beforehand that you are flexible with the salary part. Remember the job role which you have applied for will be below the expectation; therefore, the salary offered will be also low.

When the salary part is removed it becomes easier for the hiring managers to consider the candidate because they understand the experience that comes with the person will be of great benefit to the organization.

9. Match your resume and online branding:

Due to technological advancement, these days everyone has digital footprints which can easily be traced back to the person. Therefore, if you are applying for a job that has a smaller role and you had previously worked in bigger roles, then ensure to update your digital platforms.

Match your resume with your LinkedIn profile. Remove all the unwanted data on LinkedIn and make it similar to your CV. During a background check, if the hiring manager sees that the digital presence of yours varies from what you have mentioned in the CV then it will raise the red flag.

Keep in mind to put the appropriate position on the LinkedIn profile too which should indicate that the job you are applying is similar to it.

10. Keep yourself motivated:

Finding the job in itself is a challenge that one has to face, due to the immense competition and availability of talent in the industry. There might be chances of failure too despite putting the best effort.

Therefore, it is important to be motivated during the search. Keep working, understand the errors that you will be happening, make the changes accordingly, meet people with a similar profile, create a network and understand what the requirements are in the present scenario in the job market.

Because many times being experienced in one field one can miss out on the changes that will be happening these days. Therefore, through network one can find the relevant information.

11. Show interest in the job:

Employer appreciates the candidates who are passionate about the job and the company because it convinces them of the commitment the candidate will put into work and the organization.

Hence, ensure that you show your enthusiasm regarding the job role and the employer. Do some research about the organization and the work, during the interview briefly mention about the company as it will ensure the employer that you are truly interested in the place.

Align your skills with that of the employer and the job role, if they match then the hiring manager will surely hire you. Because every organization is looking for the people who can do the job at best.

12. Age is just the number:

To get the attention of the employer it is important to explain to them how your maturity will help get the desired results. Show the enthusiasm about the work and keep yourself updated on the industry you are entering into.

If you require to join some online courses and learn as much as you can, do some freelance projects which can help enhance your resume and will be convincing for the employer that you interested in the job.

13. Understand the employer’s concerns:

Being overqualified brings a lot of concerns to the employer about the hiring. They might think that you won’t be able to stay on the job for a long time, you might be bored with doing smaller roles, and many more doubts they have in their minds.

The employer needs to be sure about your CV before they call you. Hence, emphasize more on your CV and write a good cover letter, mentioning the benefits you can bring to the company.

Include how you are interested in the job and you intend to stay with them. A strong cover letter will encourage the employer to call you for the interview.

14. Work in start-ups:

With so many startups coming up, it’s good to look for a job in a start-up because of they keen on building a strong team and experience. The candidate’s additional knowledge or experience will come as a benefit to the organization.

Do some research about the start-up; learn about their investors, who are the founders and what are their services. During the interview explain how you fit for the role and what motivated you to apply in a start-up.

The benefit of working in a start-up is that one gets an opportunity to grow and share their knowledge and skills.


Being overqualified for a job has its advantages and disadvantages, but with some sensible planning, one can find the right place. The previous job might be the one where you would be on higher on the management level, but sometimes due to unknown circumstances, one might have to step down. The best bet is to apply for jobs in a small or mid-size company where they are looking for people with immense experience.

An example, a VP sales guy working in a multi-national company lost his job and struggled to find the job as per his caliber. He found a job in a startup in a business development team, the company hired him looking at his experience and the strong network he has.

Very soon this person contributed to the business growth of the company and became the head of his team. While restarting your career, plan what you want to achieve ahead and where you see yourself.

Be clear, and precise in your goals, and don’t divert from them, clarity in vision helps answer the employer’s questions.