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What Does It Mean When An Employer Says You’re Overqualified?

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It happens to many job seekers at some point, especially if you’ve been job hunting for a while: You’re told you’re overqualified.

While there are many reasons why you might pursue a position that’s slightly below your skill level (like trying to change fields, for example) the mismatch between candidate skill and the job position raises a few red flags for employers. On US News and World Report, HR expert Alison Green shares the five concerns hiring managers have when interviewing someone they think is overqualified for a position:

"We can’t pay you enough. Employers will often assume that if you have more experience or education than the job requires, your salary expectations are probably higher than the role pays too.

You don’t really understand what the job is. Hiring managers will worry that in your quest to get hired somewhere, you’re being overly optimistic about what the work will be like – for instance, that you think you’ll be doing high-level office administration when what they need is someone to run the front desk. Or that the ad might say data entry, but you assume that surely you’ll be able to quickly prove yourself and take on more interesting work – when they really just need someone who will do data entry and be happy with it."

Read the rest of her reasons on US News and World Report.

She recommends you address these concerns proactively. If you know you are applying for a position you’re overqualified for, state this in your cover letter so your application isn’t rejected before being considered. If you reach the interview stage, be ready to discuss these concerns in detail.

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