When you are Mid-Life+ & overqualified
There may be any number of reasons why you may be applying for a job where you are overqualified.
- It may be through choice and wanting to move your career in a different direction.
- Or through downscaling or necessity following a redundancy.
- Or a lack of suitable grade/experience level jobs.
And it’s true recruiters may question why you are applying for a post if you are overqualified. They may doubt your loyalty/commitment, thinking that you may move on when something more suitable comes up.
Whatever the reason, the following advice will help you make the most of the situation and ensure that recruiters don’t dismiss your application.
Address it head on
In your covering letter, address why you are applying for the post and acknowledge that your skills and experience are above those required. Demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job, the company and that you have a genuine interest.
If you are unable to send a covering letter eg applying online through a job portal – make sure you include the reason for your application in your personal statement section of your CV.
Tailor your CV
It is tempting to include everything on your CV, but this may not be relevant to the job you are applying for. Make sure what you include is tailored to that role.
Employment from over 15 years ago should only be included if it is relevant, or you can include a brief summary at the end of employment section. Remember though – CVs should not be longer than 2 pages.
“I have seen CVs and application forms from highly experienced individuals who thought they would walk the application process in a breeze.
They haven’t tailored their forms to the jobs they are applying for and have assumed their experiences and qualifications will get them through.
It won’t if you haven’t taken the time and effort to show your skills are relevant!! This just comes across as lazy to a recruiter.”
Pick up the phone
Consider phoning the contact/person if one is provided, before you apply – again you can use this opportunity to express your interest and explain why you want to apply.
Preparing for the interview
Prep as you would normally – do your research, but also consider the following and how you can address these questions if they come up in the interview.
- The interviewer may wonder if you can work at a lower grade than you have been used to and whether you are able to take instructions form those less experienced than yourself. Think of examples of where you have worked in a team but not in a lead role.
- Can you learn new skills and undertake training?
- Are you open minded to different ways of working and can you be flexible?
Interviewers & over-qualified candidates
Your interviewer may be less experienced than you and may feel slightly intimidated. Ensure you listen to their questions and make sure you don’t take over.
It is easier to negotiate salary levels when you have been offered a role. You may need to demonstrate that you recognise that your previous salary is higher than the role you are applying for. Make clear that you are flexible.
The experience you bring to the table is more than is needed for the job. Potential employers will be concerned that the role will not hold your interest for long and you will “up sticks” when a better job comes along SO…
- Use words and phrases that are pro-active to counter stereotypical ideas recruiters may have eg adaptable or innovative (versus inflexible)
- Suggest ways you could approach the role so it is a good fit with your skills and experience.
- Have a former line manager or peer who can speak to the recruiter on your behalf.
- Give the impression that you will find the job easy – this will not come across well!
- Don’t rehearse your interview questions too much, or be too restrictive, as the interviewer’s questions may be more fluid than those you’ve thought of.
- Get discouraged if you don’t get an offer. Sometimes it is a case that you were suitable for the post, but someone else fitted the criteria in a better way.
If you would like additional support and advice in your Mid-Life+ job search, get in touch!