Tips for job seekers

How to get a job if you’re overqualified

Most often, when trying to get a job, applicants are refused due to insufficient skills or soft skills. But sometimes a recruiter does not invite a candidate due to too high qualifications – the company is afraid that they will not be able to motivate a specialist with interesting projects or high salaries.

We tell you how to write a resume and behave in an interview to show interest in the project and get a job.

Why are recruiters reluctant to hire super-skilled workers?

Employers believe that an experienced employee will create a lot of problems for the company if he takes the lower tier in the management hierarchy: uses a place to “sit out” the crisis time, after which he will hasten to quit, will be dissatisfied with his salary, will lose the motivation to work. If the qualifications of a specialist are higher than those of the manager, the authority of the latter is questioned.

The management may also worry that the tasks set to the newcomer will be boring for him, and the material bonuses will be imperceptible.

Why hide your skills and go to a position lower than the previous one?

This most often happens when you are fired or laid off – for example, a former accountant of a state corporation is forced to look for a job in a small business. The recruiter sees the resume of a specialist who worked with disproportionately large numbers and turnovers, and rejects it – he thinks that the salary and business processes in a small accounting department of convenience stores will not interest the candidate.

You have too much experience" - Generator Talent Group | Generator Talent Group

Or, on the contrary, the senior lawyer leaves private office to build a career in an international consulting company. Typically, corporations recruit conditionally young workers – they are more willing to hire a 25-to 30-year-old job seeker with little experience and a salary two to three times lower than the market. All processes of the candidate will be trained on the spot – companies do not need universal professionals, but specialists who are familiar with a specific product.

Does this happen in all spheres of business?

There is no universal rule, but it is believed that the more closed industry is, the easier it is to treat over-qualification. For example, in the mining industry, heavy industry, or automobile production, the number of potential job changes is much lower than in retail or public catering.

Simply put, candidates simply have nowhere to go, the inflow of qualified personnel is low, and positions are closed for longer usual.

How to get a job if you are overqualified?

To start a job below the previous one, you need to change your resume and understand how to behave at the interview – the recruiter will most likely have a lot of questions.


Keep your resume short: unlike the “traditional” version, don’t try to expose yourself at its best – remove references to additional management courses and knowledge of languages, do not get carried away when listing soft skills.

Do not specify in detail what you did at the previous place of work, if possible “soften” your roles in projects – instead “Customizing the sales cycle in the company” write that it just worked in this area, instead of “writing strategic quarterly reports” indicate that you worked in accounting.


During the interview, be confident, but modest – not prepare a standard sales pitch by talking about your achievements and certificates. Do not refer to previous experience – when talking about the skills acquired in the previous place, mention only those that will be useful in the new one.

The main thing is not to seem arrogant so as not to scare away the employer. Even if you know exactly how to accomplish the tasks ahead, listen to the recruiter and the future boss and calmly offer a plan for solving problems or further developing the business.

If the interview is successful, the company may offer special conditions for the super-qualified employee. For example, to stay motivated, you can agree to work with a reduced schedule for the same salary – go out for three to four working days a week – or get an intangible bonus to your salary.

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