8 Best ways to Find That You Are Overqualified for The Job


Can you be overqualified for the job? Of course.

Being overqualified for a job is a common bane nowadays. And there’re many ways to find that you’re overqualified for a job, if only you know how to look.

In this article, I will discuss different ways and means to find if you’re overqualified for a job.

Let’s begin by discussing the three major ways in which you could be overqualified.

Three Major Ways of Overqualification for a Job

If you think you’re overqualified for a job, there could be three major reasons. Here I will discuss each one in detail.

Academic Qualifications

Lot of us apply for a job with scant regard to the academic or educational qualification that a job requires. In such cases, we might have a degree that more than suits the job.

For example, a specific role might require the applicant only to hold a Bachelor’s degree. But we might hold the Master’s degree or even a Doctorate in the field. In such cases, we’re educationally overqualified for the job.

Overqualified by Experience

Another common way of being overqualified for a job is by experience. An employer might require someone who has just three to five years of experience at that role.

In stark contrast, we might have 10 or more years of experience at that role in our current and previous employments.

This means, we’re more than meeting the expectations of the employer and offering our services without regarding our vast experience.

Overqualifications by Skills

Job experience and job skills are two different things altogether. Experience means the number of years that you’ve spent on playing a specific role at a particular organization.

Skills means your overall aptitude to perform well at that role. Sometimes, we may come across situations where our skills are far superior to those of our peers and even senior managers.

And this can occur without having a lot of experience too.

Ways to Find You’re Overqualified for a Job

Now that you’re aware of the three ways by which you could be overqualified, meaning you have extraordinary qualification for a job, let’s find out how to actually tell whether you’re indeed having more qualifications, experience and skills.

1. Wrong Place, Wrong Time, Wrong Role

If you feel you’re at the wrong employer at the wrong time doing the wrong role, despite having superb educational qualifications, work experience and job skills, this is the time when you should ask yourself “aren’t you overqualified for this position?”. 

In fact, this is the very first symptom when you start finding yourself overqualified. That’s because you’ll come across several situations where your qualifications, experience and skills are more than adequate for doing something.

And despite such qualifications, experience and skills, you’re unable to utilize any of them properly.

This mainly occurs because the tasks or role requires limited skills while you’ve far more advanced ones.

This kind of a situation can be detrimental to your overall career. Your vast experience and skills can prove redundant and useless, leaving you with a sense of frustration. 

2. Inability of Colleagues to Comprehend You

Then there’re situations where your colleagues or even a manager is unable to comprehend what you’re trying to do for the employer or the organization and its business.

This happens because of qualifications, experience and skills mismatch. While you’re acting in the best interests of the employer by utilizing your experience and skills, others might not be able to cope with your pace of work and style.

This happens when you’re overqualified for the job and your colleagues and managers have a lower level of education, experience and skills.

They wouldn’t be able to comprehend fully the nature of the work and what you’re trying to do, even if it’s in the best interests of the company.

In such cases, they might wrongly believe that you’re showing off your skills or trying to compete on uneven ground. 

Again, this can be harmful for your career because often, such colleagues and manager will not cooperate, while you go about performing your role with high efficiency.

Worse, they might become hurdles in your work due to their lack of qualifications, experience and skills.

And even worse, some might actually try to make your work difficult by playing politics or even non-cooperation. 

3. Getting Bored with Your Role

This is a situation that I’ve been through. Often, we get bored with performing tasks or playing a role where your educational qualifications, experience and skills aren’t exactly needed.

Instead, any junior or person with lesser educational qualifications, experience and skill can easily manage the job, if they have proper training.

However, we sometimes tend to cling to the job only because of the pay or position.

The overall job satisfaction in such a role starts dipping gradually and we go about doing the tasks mechanically instead of really enjoying what we do.

This is a common occurrence among those having vast experience. They simply cannot lower their standards to meet those of others around, including sometimes, the topmost management.

This is also very dangerous to your career. Because when your experience and skills go waste, you lose interest in the job and perform tasks only because it’s necessary to retain the position to get the pay.

In such cases, you might be inadvertently allowing your superb skills and passion for a job to start rusting literally.

4. Deficiencies of Your Employer

Another very common symptom of being overqualified for a job is visible when the organization or employer you’re working with isn’t growing. Instead, their business continues to stagnate or even move backwards.

This results in lower or same profits as previous years. Most of the times, this occurs because your employer’s deficiencies in utilizing your educational qualifications, experience and skills to their advantage.

The employer merely expects you to play a role that they believe is necessary for the organization.

Hence, they might end up ignoring your overall capabilities and give you tasks that you’re overqualified to perform. This leads to disenchantment with the job and stagnation of your career.

If you find yourself in such a situation where an employer simply cannot utilize your skills to your benefit, the best solution is to look for more challenging opportunities elsewhere.

Changing jobs can help you regain self-confidence and upgrade your skills, instead of allowing them to go redundant and useless with that employer. This leads to you feeling underutilized.

5. Over Expectations from Employer

Often, the employer is aware that you’re overqualified for the role. Hence, they have over expectations from you.

Unfortunately, some of these over expectations can be misplaced or unrealistic, to say the least. And this is a very harmful situation, if you’re facing one, for your career.

When there’re over expectations despite being overqualified, you won’t be able to execute your tasks with full efficiency.

That’s because the employer isn’t really aware about what they’re expecting and what you can do. They might have umpteen expectations which can sometimes be so unrealistic, that it would leave you with a sense of inadequacy despite being overqualified for the role.

If this happens, speak to your employer about your overall capabilities while pointing out where they have over expectations from your role.

As a matter of fact, your employer might appreciate your honesty and revise their expectations.

Overqualified as a Jobseeker

The above five are situations that would help you find out whether you’re overqualified for the present job.

Now let’s discuss how to find if you’re an overqualified jobseeker. This situation also isn’t desirable for your overall career growth.

6. An Employer Shows Extra Interest in You

Most of us will read a job advert carefully before applying. And when we’re overqualified, we would be applying with super confidence for that job.

That’s fine if you really need the job, either to come out of unemployment, as fresher or even when you’re looking to switch jobs.

But one of the warning signs that you’re overqualified for the job is when the employer begins showing an extra interest in you, compared over other job applicants. You won’t know this immediately for obvious reasons such as you don’t know the other applicants.

However, there’re unmistakable signs to find that an employer is indicating extra interest in hiring you.

The first symptom is that you get a call or email almost immediately from an employer, for an interview. 

The second is that an employer wants to hire you immediately, without screening other jobseekers. These two signs clearly indicate you’re overqualified for the role and hence, the haste by an employer to hire you.

7. Offers of Higher Salary

Another indictor of being overqualified for the job is when a prospective employer offers you a higher salary than the ones they’ve indicated on the advert.

Obviously, this is a plus point because you stand to make more money. In such cases, they may even leave the options open for you to negotiate for a salary and perks.

This occurs because an employer desperately wants your services. Since you’re overqualified, they assume that you’ll be able to fit the role to the proverbial ‘T’.

It’s okay to take such jobs, if the offer is very attractive. However, be careful to ensure that you don’t end up with frustration later, when you start working at that role.

Therefore, discuss with the employer during the employee about the average experience and skill levels of persons you’ll be working with. And outline what you expect from the employer because of your overqualifications. 

That way, you can make a superb career, grow financially and also help the company to make more profits. This invariably translates as superb job satisfaction.

8. Offers of Quick Promotions/ Bigger Position

One more way to know whether you’re overqualified is when an employer promises quick promotions based on your performance or in fact, goes on to offer a higher position during the interview.

That’s because they’re aware you’re overqualified for job position.

Such employers are the best because they’re aware that you wouldn’t be happy at the position you’re applying.

However, they’ll initially higher you at the lower position because they wish to ensure you deliver what is necessary of the role while gauging your performance based on your educational qualifications, experience and job skills.

If any employer makes such an offer, I would strongly suggest that you grab it with open hands. This could be your dream job and the one where your career can grow exponentially.

When an employer believes you’re overqualified and makes such an offer, they’re actually appreciating your efforts and would love to see you assume greater responsibilities, after you prove your mettle.

Applying for Jobs when Overqualified

Frankly speaking, there’s no harm in applying for a job, even if you’re overqualified.

That’s because you might be unemployed and looking for a job desperately. Or you might just have overgrown the current employer and are looking for a job switch.

At the same time, take care to ensure that none of the irritants that I mention above, would adversely affect your working with the new employer.

That’s the reason I suggest that you speak about your overall capabilities while pointing out you’re overqualified for a job.

You can also apply for jobs where you’re overqualified for the role if you’re looking for a higher pay. After all, all of us work for a salary and perks.

Therefore, you too have every right to improve your financial condition by applying for jobs where you would be overqualified, if the pay is good enough. In such cases, make sure there’s ample scope for career growth.

Furthermore, you can apply for jobs where you’re overqualified if the working conditions at your current employer are poor. This would include office politics, lack of appreciation, absence of training and several other factors.

But if you’re dissatisfied with overall work conditions, leave and take another job even if you’re overqualified.

Wrap Up

Being overqualified for a job is fine as long as you can cope with the stress and frustration that can sometimes come in unexpectedly.

In some cases, its worth going for a job, despite being overqualified because you can learn a few new things while acquiring newer skills, fine-tuning existing skills and growing your career.

However, in all cases, make sure that you discuss your overqualifications with the employer or point them out while working with an employer or even during a job interview. This can save a lot of hassles that could arise later.

Finding a new job is easy. However, the options begin to get narrower as we gain more experience and skills.

In such cases, moving to a new job can become difficult because there would be fewer vacancies for your experience and skills. In such cases, go for jobs where you’re overqualified.

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