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December 2, 2014
Can You Be Overqualified?
 
Today's job market is tough — for those without a degree, for college graduates that hold a Bachelor's degree, and for those that hold a Master's degree or higher.

Schooling aside, the job market can even be tough for experienced, well-qualified candidates. Degrees and work experience just aren't what they used to be, and it's getting tougher and tougher to find a job.

With that in mind, can too much education or experience ever be a hindrance in today’s job market?

What does it mean to be overqualified?
Companies, ideally, do not want to hire candidates that they feel are overqualified. They feel the person will only view the job as a temporary position until something better opens up.

Overqualified candidates — whether by schooling or work experience — typically know their worth and, of course, will leave if a better opportunity were to arise. This works as a disadvantage to the candidate, though, since they may not be able to find their high-paying dream job right away and are now left unemployed.

This is a lose-lose situation that no one wants to be in.

What good does it do you having a solid resume with a high level of education and the work experience to back it up if no one is willing to hire you?

What to do if you're overqualified
If you keep hearing time and time again that you're overqualified for various positions, it's time to re-think your marketing strategy.

First, ask yourself this question: Are you applying for the right types of positions? 

There's a chance you're selling yourself short and undermining what you're capable of. If you have managerial or direct supervisor experience, you shouldn't be applying for data entry jobs or admin jobs, unless you (and the company) have an understanding that you'll work your way up.

Next, tweak your resume a bit to make it fit the position you're applying for.

Include a cover letter stating why you're wanting to take on a job that you're overqualified for (perhaps you no longer want to work overtime, you're looking to change industries and know you must start at the bottom or you're looking for a different type of challenge in the workforce). Be honest, and let the company know that you're in it for the long haul.

Finally, if you are denied a position for being overqualified, always ask the employer, "Why?"

Find out if it was schooling or work experience that make you too qualified for the position, and even consider asking if there's an open position that you would be bettersuited for. It never hurts to ask and by doing so you're showing the company that you're eager to get a job and excited about the possibility of joining their team.

What it takes to get a job
Employers want to hire an individual that is well-rounded and well-spoken, prompt, respects authority and has superb communication skills.

More important than your list of college degrees or your years and years of experience is the ability of problem solving, to think creatively, and to be a team player. It's the "soft skills" that companies want, not necessarily the highly advanced schooling and work experiences (though it never hurts to have both).

Employers know they can "teach" the hard skills, such as computer programming, company processes and day-to-day tasks. It’s the interpersonal skills and work ethic that can't be taught, and they're getting harder and harder for companies to find.

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Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Glendale, AZ with her husband and two daughters. She's passionate about writing, traveling, cooking and spending time with her family. Her writing topics include food and nutrition, travel, personal finance and small business. Sites she writes for include ripoffreport.com and those discussing college degrees.
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