How can I be Over Qualified for a Job?

Over Qualified
Over Qualified
Respective Field
Respective Field

I am not qualified

I have heard the term over qualified many times, but I always thought it applied to older workers, whom the company in question would think their time in training would be better spent on another candidate. I also thought perhaps it might be attributed to people with lots of education and experience who would only accept a certain level of pay. However, I never really considered that it might be thought of an undergraduate with no professional experience in their respective field; who is willing to take whatever pay was being offered for an unskilled labor position. That, by the way is where I seem to fit in, I have an Associates and I’m working towards my Bachelors. I have many years of experience in the construction industry, have worked in a few factories, but have no professional experience in my field of study. That being the case I am having trouble finding work in my profession, I keep getting the old “we want someone with some experience” line. I’m not even looking at mid career jobs, most of what I’m applying for are entry level jobs.

The Bridge
The Bridge

I am over qualified

In my current situation I have decided that any job is better than none, so I decided to start applying for pretty much every job that is available that I might be able to do. Keep in mind that I have a great work record, I’ve never been fired, I’ve never just quit a job with no notice, I never miss work, I have good references, and I have no criminal record. Now I know the economy isn’t great, but there are lots of jobs out there. I have friends with far less desirable resumes than mine that get hired only to quit a few weeks later and get hired somewhere else a few days later. I on the other hand apply to these same types of jobs, go to the interview if I’m lucky enough to get one, and never get called back. I have been wandering why I never get called, so I have begun calling them after say a week or so. The answer I keep getting is that I am over qualified for the position in question.

My Experience
My Experience

How can I be over qualified

Over qualified “really” that doesn’t even make sense, I’m not demanding some higher wage or special treatment, I’m just humbly asking that they consider hiring me. I don’t have the attitude that I’m better than anyone or that I deserve a better job. I would like to get a job working with computers, which is what I went to school for, but I would be quite happy to have any job at the moment. I suppose these companies figure I’ll get an IT job shortly after they hire me and they will have wasted their time training me, which is a possibility, but it is still frustrating from my perspective. I feel like I have a lot to offer any employer, I work hard, learn fast, and have many skills that transfer to any job. It would seem that I’m not qualified to work in the computer field, but I’m over qualified to work as a laborer.

Me
Me

What do you think?

I have at least been busy with side jobs; working on computers for people, giving guitar lessons, and writing blog posts and articles. It is honest work, and between all three I stay very busy, but the pay just isn’t what I really need. I have had a few weeks when I made a decent amount of money, but I need something more dependable. I guess after gas, baby sitter, wear and tear on my vehicle, and other various expenses I may be just as well off doing what I’m doing now rather that taking a job at ten bucks an hour. The thing is that I figure I’ll have a better chance of finding a good job if I am working somewhere already. Besides I would really like to just get out of the house more, I mean I love my kids, but they are driving me nuts. This is just my experience, and I thought I’d write about it and maybe see what others think. If you have a moment please leave a comment and share your ideas or experiences; especially if you have had any that are similar to mine. I’m hoping that at the very least I’m not alone in my Job search woes.

Have you ever been told you were over qualified for a job?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not in so many words
  • Never looked for a job
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Comments 44 comments

itsameanoldscene profile image

itsameanoldscene 4 years ago from England

I have personally come across this myself when I have been told I am over qualified for the position advertised. It used to really bother me until I removed certain qualifications from my curriculum vitae & once in-bedded into the job I discreetly mention I am certainly qualified if & when a position or promotion becomes available. I also think if you are over qualified, you are a threat to your potential boss & he/she will certainly overlook you if he/she feels threatened, sad really but that is the world goes around it seams.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

itsameanoldscene, that sounds like a good idea, perhaps it would be better to leave out some qualifications on the resume and not mention them during the interview. I try to always be honest, but I suppose its not a lie if you exclude some information. Thanks for stopping in and sharing your experience. Have a great day.


Barnsey profile image

Barnsey 4 years ago from Happy Hunting Grounds

I have encountered this when applying for entry level jobs. Since my last job lasted for fifteen years and I spent much of the time under self supervision many of these employers simply do not believe I will stay. It is a joke though that jobs like Lawn Maintenance, painting and helper positions actually request experience only! Even jobs at places like Dollar general want you to have some retail experience! Are you kidding me?

Its that old catch 22 I used to be trapped by when I was a teen. Cant get that job because they want you to have experience, the job you have experience at isnt hiring or as in my case has changed the rules and excluded you, so what do you do?

Some suggested when I was first on unemployment that I go take some classes. So if I had went and taken some classes then I would have added to my qualifications for only one job in particular and if that job was not hiring then I would have incurred another debt ala student loan and gotten nowhere in life other than backwards. I am glad even now as I struggle to find a job that I didnt bother. There clearly would have been no point. Faced with my last few weeks of unemployment i have decided to start my own one man lawn crew. I decided to hire myself although I was clearly overqualified. I had experience in this field but because i am not mexican, this is the only reason left to consider, none of the landscaping or lawn companies even got back to me!

So, lets review, nobody wants to be bothered with training anyone anymore. Although that used to be the most sure fire means of getting and keeping worthwhile employees the practice has been abandoned. Now, these same companies offer less money for the job while demanding significant experience!

Elitist behavior such as this is the reason there is a class cold war going on in this country as we speak. The haves are unsympathetic to their fellow Americans and they are literally working against the improvement of the economy. Yet the fat rich bastards sit in their comfy chairs and collect their pensions and blame Obama for the economy. What a joke. Obviously he isnt the one deciding who gets hired.

To close here is what i have found in two popular seasonal employers in my area. Lowes and Home Depot are two places I have been applying to for the past 19mths. Recently I had an interview at Lowes for the first time. I was not hired and two weekends ago when i went to both places searching for a part for the powerwasher this is what I found. In lowes there was a pretty young girl standing at nearly every aisle asking if you needed any help. When I did the girl directed me to someone who could actually help me. What? She knew nothing, so clearly she'd been hired not because of qualifications but because she was a pretty girl.

In home depot there was a huge abundance of young men, most of them African american. As I perused the shelves no one ever asked me if I needed any assistance. They walked around seemingly without aim or purpose and ignored me as best they could manage. I finally recieved help from an older gentleman who has been working there for years, I know this only because i have encountered him on other occasions.

In both these places I clearly out qualified any of these seasonal employees so I must assume this is why I was not hired. Meanwhile I have friggin bills to pay and employees are hiring for tax breaks. They have no consideration for the economy or those like myself, displaced, over qualified adults who truly need the work. What do we do?


Hypersapien profile image

Hypersapien 4 years ago

Fortunately, I've never encountered this personally, but I've seen it effectuated in places where I was employed. Personally, I've never subscribed to this philosophy, although I do understand the concept. But if I can get someone with great credentials at a cheap price, why wouldn't I? (Although I suppose it also depends on how much investment the company would have to make in you.)


Civil War Bob profile image

Civil War Bob 4 years ago from Glenside, Pennsylvania

Good hub, dmop...voted up, useful, interesting. I've encountered being over AND under qualified now, after 40 years of working, as well as being slightly too young for Social Security and Medicare, not that I'm whining, just saying.

Try not to get discouraged, keep plugging away, and vary what you do right now to remedy some of the "trapped" feeling, is what I'd suggest, based on my last 4.5 months' new experience. May you get the direction you need, is my prayer! Enjoy your day!


Bedbugabscond profile image

Bedbugabscond 4 years ago from United States

Not all companies are like this but.... The act that you are a dedicated employee with no criminal record might be the problem. Someone who is guaranteeing to do their job well is someone they might have to pay more. If not pay more, some places want a revolving door so they never have to pay unemployment. It is hard to keep a revolving door when you hire good workers.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Hang in there, dmop. I think most people with experience have been told they are overqualified at one point. That's a good thing because you are valuable to companies that need someone who can learn quickly, experienced and will cost little to train. Praying for you.


joanveronica profile image

joanveronica 4 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

I agree with the "revolving door" theory, as I have experienced it, and you do not really want to be employed by those people. I also got my best jobs by chopping of a substantial part of my resume. The problem is to know what to chop! Hang in there, maybe you will get your lucky break! And yes, many hirers do feel threatened by the people they are interviewing. Sad, but it is a fact of life. Voted up and interesting.


Ask Ashley profile image

Ask Ashley 4 years ago from California

We must be thinking alike. I just posted a hub on job interviews yesterday. In my last job, I selected resumes and conducted interviews...and I can definitely tell you I did pass up some people who appeared "over qualified." Of course you want someone qualified, but when I came across impressive resumes, this was my line of thinking: Wow...they have some much experience, why would they want to work here for X rate when they could clearly make more elsewhere? The second concern is if you give the over qualified person a chance to work with you, the fear is they are just taking the job as a temporarily gig until they find the career they really want, since again, why should they work with you when you know they could do better? Since no one wants someone to quit after a few weeks, I tend to avoid people over qualified for these reasons. However, there are absolutely ways to overcome this. As others pointed out, remove some of your qualifications from your resume and secondly, if you are over qualified, indicate in your cover letter why specifically you want to work for X company. When people include why they are actively seeking a specific job, I am much more inclined to consider them. I'll be posting additional hubs on how to get your resume to stand out (why I pick specific resumes over others) and how to write successful cover letters, so hopefully those can help out as well. Good luck out there!


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

Barnsey, I'm not sure how big business thinks these days. History has shown us that lower wages and poor treatment of workers is bad for everyone involved. Poor treatment leads to poor performance and fewer dollars made by the common person equals fewer spent and less money for the business in the long run. They will eventually hang them selves if given enough rope. I know I always paid my employees well and got respect and quality work in return, though in the height of the housing market crash I couldn't compete with companies who cared less about their workers and the quality of their work. It is sad that my honesty and integrity seem to be what is holding me back. Hopefully there are still some companies out there that value those qualities and will hire me for what I bring to the table, If not I guess I will just keep doing what I'm doing now.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

Hypersapien, I do understand the concept as well, what I don't get is why they would even care if it is an unskilled labor position. I know that every job requires some training, but in these positions it is usually minimal, and the turn-over rate is usually very high anyway. Thanks for stopping in and for the comment, have a great day.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

Civil War Bob, I'm not trying to complain either and hope I didn't come off like I was in this Hub. I guess I was just venting, plus I seen huge numbers for the search terms with low competition, so I figured why not. Honestly its the "not qualified" results that are the most discouraging, but that's why I signed up for more schooling this fall. I want a Ph.D in computer science, but it takes time. I'll get there, if it takes until my kids are grown. Thanks for stopping by and for the votes and comment, have a great day.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

Bedbugabscond, you might be right, perhaps some of these companies just don't want good employees. I thought my experience as a small business owner and floor manager in a factory would be of benefit, but it doesn't seem to be the case. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment it is appreciated. Have a great day.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

teaches12345, I hope you are right and I just haven't applied at the company who will appreciate my credentials yet. Thanks for reading and for the encouraging words, I hope you have a great day.


John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Hi dmop, and what a great hub this one is---useful in today's economic hardtimes....

No, I've never been told this. However, most people need to use "Freud's third hand" when writing, as Derrira put it. Your Resume should be relevant to the position you're applying for. When I was looking for work a long time ago (Thank God I haven't had to look for work in a long time...) I would type two, three different Resumes. I wouldn't lie on them, just write them differently according to the position I was applying/interviewing for. My friend was out of a job for a while. He said he had a 4 page Resume. I told him unless he was Issac Newton he had no business having a "4 page Resume..." I retyped his Resume---condensed the sentence structures a bit---4 pages turned into 1. So again, you should try this and just play with it a bit. The next time a position opens up, see what Resume you're going to use to attract that business/company in hiring you.

Great hub! Voted up

John


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

joanveronica, I have thought about omitting some of my qualifications and experience. The problem is that I would be left with farm work as a teen, a few years as a stone mason, and a factory job, which leaves out 15 years of my work history. I have been fortunate in the past and was either my own boss or a manager, which might be the problems for these unskilled jobs I've been looking at. Thanks for taking a moment to read, vote, and comment I appreciate it. Have a great day.


Bedbugabscond profile image

Bedbugabscond 4 years ago from United States

I hope you can find something you enjoy soon! P.S. don't go robbing any banks to try to help make you an employee. Companies who want crappy employees don't deserve you!


Barnsey profile image

Barnsey 4 years ago from Happy Hunting Grounds

Above Ask Ashley answers a lot. It explains what I have dubbed elitist behavior on the part of Employers. Why is it Elitist? Clearly these people have no clue what it is really like out here. Since they are cozy at their job they are assuming all is right with the world. This is also a typical conservative mindset. They have no compassion for the fact that the so called over qualified person has lowered their standards in job seeking for a reason. A real reason. Not hiring someone because of your preconceived notions that might have applied a decade ago but not today proves my point. In today's economy many of us do not have the luxury to pick and choose jobs. C'mon Ashley, watch the damn news and get your thumb out of your bum! You passed up better workers and employees due to paranoia created by the wealthy employers, not struggling Americans. Elitist nonsense!!! Further proof that it is the wealthy elites who created this economical mess and the middle class are paying by being forced into undeserved destitution.


Ask Ashley profile image

Ask Ashley 4 years ago from California

Wow Barnsey...could you be anymore hostile and bitter? Maybe this negative attitude of yours is why you aren't getting hired. Let me give you a clear example: The last person I hired was for an assistant editor...the job was part time and paid $10 to $12 an hour depending on experience. One "over qualified" resume I received was from a lawyer who had ten years of law practice experience. His resume was impressive and on his resume he indicated his job objective was to "Work as an environmental lawyer and activist." Now, keep in mind, this job was for a PART TIME EDITOR that had nothing to do with law or the environment. Could this guy do the job? I have no doubt about it, BUT although qualified, his resume clearly indicated he wanted to continue working in law. Had his objective indicated a change of field, then he may have been considered.

I get times are tough, and as you indicated, "the so called over qualified person has lowered their standards" likely to get by in this economy, but I find it hand to believe that anyone would lower their standards permanently and if a better, higher paying job was offered in the future, that person wouldn't hesitate to take the job and I don't blame them.


Barnsey profile image

Barnsey 4 years ago from Happy Hunting Grounds

Hmmm...Hostile? Bitter? Me? Lol! Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. I'm on a losing streak. What can I say? The view from down here isn't nearly as nice.


Ask Ashley profile image

Ask Ashley 4 years ago from California

I was unemployed for the last few months and just got a new job this past week, so even though I've been on the hiring end before, I too was feeling the frustration. I'd be happy to look at your resume to see if we can enhance it in anyway. Good luck to you and everyone else struggling right now.


michememe profile image

michememe 4 years ago

I have never experienced the "over qualified" but I have had this term used. Your experience and resume is impressive, however we are going to go with another candidate who is more fit. I think, I have the experience you are looking for. I am trainable and if you don't want to train me, I can get it. I have worked in call centers for over 15 years, every aspect of it. From the agent, to supervisor, and managing. I don't get it. I just look at it this way, well it just may not be my time at this moment with that company. Prehaps, there is something more meaningful to do. I haven't stopped looking, but I don't become frustrated. Those are merily people, who think they are doing the best thing for their employer. However, they forget to have a human elimate to thier job. You have references and past employers, if you wanna know if someone fits your environment, don't make a blind decision alone, call the people who know them. Then decide. That's my take.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America

In addition to the conditions well expressed in the above comments, some employers receive free labor from subsidized employment programs. The subsidized interns of all ages 14 to- over 60 usually spend a number of weeks on the job and are replaced by another intern, rather than being hired full-time ad they expect to be. Other companies receive very large tax breaks for hiring ex-felons, ex-combat veterans, single parents, and others. it could be a case of too much free work available out there for some companies to hire anyone.

Another condition companies look at is that of being a student. Some interviewers believe that all students quit when they graduate, so students will not be hired. Other companies provide paid internships and hire the student outright when he graduates.

You can find out of you qualify for any programs or internships, including job search help, at your local county jobs office, listed under Workforce Investment Act (WIA) or some name like WorkSource.


krsharp05 profile image

krsharp05 4 years ago from 18th and Vine

dmop, This is a great hub, pertains to a lot of people right now. I'm in that same boat: applying for anything and everything I can think of and I tell you, I would work just to work! I'm similar to you, I have no criminal record, no references because I coached gymnastics for 25 years and - great, now I'm OQ! Argh.... I hope that things pan out for you! Looks like you're writing up a storm and hopefully the guitar lessons will stay strong. I'll be reading -K


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

Ask Ashley, I have been the one making the hiring decisions as well, and try to view my resume from their perspective. I know there is always room for improvement and I keep trying to refine my resume while keeping it truthful. I'm sure I'll get it right I've just hit a slump at the moment. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

John Sarkis, wow a 4 page resume, that sounds impressive, but I'm sure most hiring managers wouldn't make it to the second let alone third and fourth page. I always customize my resume to exemplify the strengths I have that the job requires, I usually include a cover letter and always write a thank you note after an interview. I have actually written many resumes for friends and have always felt very strong in my abilities, maybe that's the problem with some of the positions I've been applying for. Thanks for reading, commenting, and the vote I appreciate it. Have a great day.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

Bedbugabscond, trust me I won't be engaging in any illegal activity just to be considered for a job. I have plenty of land to grow food on and several guns I can use for hunting if it gets that bad. Thanks for stopping by again have an awesome day.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

Barnsey and Ask Ashley, I didn't mean to stir up any disagreements, I do understand both of your points. I'm glad to see the discussion on my Hub, and hope everything works out for the best for all parties involved.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

michememe, I do understand where the company in question stands. They may have hundreds if not thousands of applicants, and have to find the candidate that seems like the best fit. I'm not mad at them, just feeling a bit frustrated. Thanks for reading and for the comment, have a great day.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

You nailed it when you said they think you'll leave as soon as something better or in your field offers you employment dmop. Your caught in an unfortunate position there. Maybe if you leave off the college diploma- or like Hank Jr says, 'Country folk can survive'. good luck whichever way the wind blows for you dmop my friend.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

Patty Inglish, MS, Thank you for the useful information, I may check out some of the programs you mention. I'm glad you stopped in and hope you have a splendid day.


Doc Sonic profile image

Doc Sonic 4 years ago from Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Interesting hub, dmop, especially with the way things are these days. My Dad worked in Personnel for many years, and his explanation of "over-qualified" was pretty much what you surmised. The fear is that you are only considering the job as a stopgap until you can find a better job that matches your qualifications. Maybe that's not what everyone means when they use the term, but it probably explains most instances.

It's frustrating when it means that an honest, hard-working person can't get a job that he's willing to do, and which he'd be able to do very well. Good luck with your search.


collegeafter40 profile image

collegeafter40 4 years ago

I completely understand this situation because I'm in it right now. I'm in the middle of changing careers and I am very qualified for my old career but overqualified for my new career. Finding someone who will let me in the door has been a struggle. I know it will work out in the end. Sometimes it seems I'm the only one going through so I was glad to come across this post. Hope everything works out and good luck!


junko profile image

junko 4 years ago

It sounds like you are ready to take an underclass job, just to be working and productive. I think that in most underclass jobs people that oviously are literate, selfstarters, intelligent, and ambitious need not apply. Many of those who are charged to hire don't want the competition. It may be hard now but it got to get better because there isn't enough room in the underclass to absorbed the middle class. Job creators can't hold back much longer.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

krsharp05, Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment, I appreciate it. It seems easy to stay busy, the hard part is getting paid. I wish you luck with your job search and hope things work out for the best.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

Alastar Packer, I think Hank said it in one of the best ways possible, that's one of my all time favorite songs. I have a video on youtube of me doing a cover, hopefully it does the song no injustice. Thanks for stopping I appreciate it, have a great day.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

Doc Sonic, I admit that my thinking is to get any job to help me get a better one, because many employers don't want to hire the guy who has been unemployed for a while. Of course, I don't just come out and tell them that, but I have great difficulty in telling even the smallest lie so if asked I am honest. If it costs me the job so be it. Thanks for reading and for the comment, have a great day.


Barnsey profile image

Barnsey 4 years ago from Happy Hunting Grounds

Funny you say that! I have a problem telling a lie also. My woman keeps telling me to lie but WTF, they do background checks! If they see you lie then its all over anyway, right?

Another note, went for an interview yesterday @ hutchinson plumbing heating and cooling for a Driver's helper job. Background check, Physical and drug test all required If I am the one chosen, all for a big $9 an hour!!! Woooot! I am going to live like...well, like I did almost twelve years ago...this sucks! Thursday I am going to fill an app at a place I found posted today, my dream job, Driving for Fed ex! Its a non cdl job and has my name written all over it, I'll let you know what happens.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

collegeafter40, it seems that a lot of people are in the same boat. I feel bad that I find comfort in knowing it isn't just me. I wish you luck and thank you for reading and commenting.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

junko, I agree that in many cases the person doing the hiring may feel threatened and thus decide on someone less qualified. It is sad, but in today's economy I guess I don't blame them. Thanks for stopping in and have a great day.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

Barnsey, to me lying just doesn't seem like the answer. I wish you luck with the job driving for FedEx I'm sure it would be a great job. I have an interview Friday for a PLC programmer position, I'm currently trying to wade through an introductory online lesson as it isn't something I'm well versed in. Surely it can't be too much different than basic logic programming, that's what I'm hoping at least. Thanks again for the comment and I wish you well.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

I just wanted to say thank you to all of those who have commented and wished me well in my job search. It has been an adventure and like many adventures it hasn't ended in the way I projected. I landed the job as a PLC programmer, which is a pretty good job, but not really what I studied for. Like so many areas of life; I'm just along for the ride and trying to make the best of it. I'll try to keep up with as much as I can here at the Hub, though it may be tough with my new schedule. Thanks again for all the support, I wish all of you the best.

dmop


Anil and Honey profile image

Anil and Honey 4 years ago from Kerala

Hai, nice, every youth should read this, especially people of my country. all students are looking a white color job, they don't like 'any job', this is a good problem. But this hub is more spiritual. It give positive energy. Thanks for sharing.


erinshelby profile image

erinshelby 3 years ago from United States

It's frustrating when a job search doesn't work out. Some people start their own businesses when a traditional job search doesn't produce the right results. You can check out my hubs on being your own boss, selling Avon/Mary Kay, or starting your own massage therapy business to see if creating your own job might be a good step for you.

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