How To Get A Job You’re Overqualified For

Mark Freire

24th April 2018

One of the most frustrating reasons you can get rejected from a job is because you’re ‘overqualified’.

There are a number of reasons you might apply for a job you’re overqualified for. You might want to work for the right company, to pursue the work you love doing or even just to keep a lid on your stress levels. You could also be starting a family, and want to shift your work/life balance to accommodate this. Regardless of the reason, over-qualification is a difficult hurdle to overcome.

Recruiters look for candidates who are a great match for the job on offer and if your CV is showing you’re overqualified there are many reasons as to why you would no longer be considered.

Problem #1: The employer is worried you’ll become bored
The first worry in any employer’s mind is that you’ll quickly become bored in your new role. After the initial transition of moving to a new workplace, learning the work dynamic and how things function in general, the fear is that you’ll lose interest in your work as it doesn’t challenge you.
While this can be true, for some people a step down in responsibilities can be a welcome break and even an opportunity for them to perform at their best.


The key to mitigating this is to be upfront about your reasoning from the start. If you don’t make your case as early as your covering letter, or in the first part of your CV, you’re unlikely to get an opportunity to explain your reasons. If you’re seeking a role with less responsibility to manage your work life balance, then go through this with the recruiter.
Make sure you drive home your interest in the role, and how the skills you already have will allow you to settle into it quickly and perform faster than other applicants.

Problem #2: Is this role just a stepping stone?
The biggest concern amongst recruiters is that you’re only considering this role as a temporary measure, to pay bills before you find your next job.
From the employer’s perspective, they want to save both the time and costs spent hiring twice for the same role in a short period of time. But if you are seriously interested in the role, there are a few ways you can explain the move to your prospective employer.


Take time to address this in your cover letter or your interview. A few simple sentences, addressing that while you may be somewhat overqualified on paper for the role, you are sincerely interested and view it as an opportunity to develop existing skills, with a different progression route in mind.

Problem #3: Your manager might consider you as their competition
Managers will be hiring with succession and progression in mind, especially if they’re hiring someone that will report directly to them. If your CV rivals theirs, you could be denied the role based off of the threat of competition. This is very difficult to avoid, as there’s no way to tell at the application stage how the company is structured, and whether or not you’ll be deemed a threat.


The only thing you can do in this scenario, is to emphasise your interest in developing your career in a different way. You could focus on a specific progression pathway, or mention that you want to specialise in a specific aspect of your role. This can help the manager to feel less threatened, and more likely to consider your application. But in all likelihood, if the manager considers denying your application for this reason, you probably want to look elsewhere for a job.

Our Tips For You

There are several things you can do to remedy being overqualified, and show employers that your skills and experiences are in fact a benefit for the role.

As a general rule when applying for a role you’re overqualified for, focus on your maturity as an applicant. Where some might see the chance for you to become restless or quickly change jobs, instead focus on the skills that you’ve developed across your career.

We naturally acquire more skills as we progress through our career, but not every skill is relevant. Part of why you’ll be thought of as overqualified is the number of different entries on your CV. By thinning the herd and focusing instead on the skills that make you right for the job, you can save yourself from being deemed overqualified.

You could also withhold your CV for the first stage of the application, and instead contact the hiring manager directly. For roles that receive a large volume of applications, the CV is as much a tool to reject applicants as it is to put them forward. By contacting them directly and running through the skills you have you can avoid being labelled as over qualified, and show yourself as enthusiastic at the same time.

If you’re looking for work in tech or development, you can view our current opportunities on our job pages, or get in touch with one of our consultants for advice on 020 7426 9835.