So you’re Overqualified for a role? Top tips to help you to secure it anyway

Updated: Oct 10

(This has also been published as a guest blog by They are a Glasgow based agency specialising in HR, supply chain and manufacturing, amongst other sectors. Get in touch to see how they can help YOU)

You need a job ASAP so you apply for things at a lower level than usual and STILL don’t hear back. What a slap in the face and knock to your confidence.

BUT it’s not surprising that you are not being interviewed if you look at it from an employer’s point of view. They can see that you are overqualified and are likely to think that you will move on quickly which they will want to avoid, as recruitment and training is costly and the last thing businesses can cope with right now are additional costs.

Thinking about it like this, there are a number of things you can do to ensure you get to interview stage.

If it’s a short term temp role for now, really tailor your CV to show the relevant skills they need and remove your highest level achievements, as they could muddy the waters. Remember to mention on your cover letter that despite having worked at X level, you are willing to work in this role on a temporary basis right now.

If it’s a more permanent role at a lower level that you are going for as you can’t find anything else, I’d ask you to think honestly about whether you would stick this out if a job at your level came along and if not consider whether you should apply for it. I totally understand that it’s tough but maybe a better option is short term work whilst you wait for the role at your level. If you do decide to apply, again tailor your CV and state that you are keen to break into this area/sector/type of company to explain the drop in salary. I’d also state this again explicitly in the cover letter as then you are addressing the elephant in the room.

If you are genuinely seeking a role at a lower level because you have decided to take a step back to care/study/have a better work life balance then this can be trickier. No business wants to feel like you are there because it’s going to be an easy ride so think about how you frame this. Something like ‘Having worked at senior level for many years, I have now chosen a different path/route’ is a nice way of wording it.

If you are seeking a more junior role in a totally new sector in order to start a new career, again I would explicitly state this and the reasons why. So for example, if you’re looking to leave a senior buying role for a junior role in HR, then state that you are willing to take on a more junior role in order to gain experience in this sector as it particularly interests you because of X and Y.

I’d love to hear employer’s opinions on this as I don’t think there’s a ‘right’ answer but I think it’s obvious anyway, so let’s address it and deal with it. What do you think?

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