Do not try to hide that you may be overqualified for a position. Having many accomplishments and skills is not necessarily a bad thing. Show your enthusiasm for the position and your eagerness to learn. Be pleasant, respectful, and compassionate. Share your passion for being a team player. Companies are looking for enthusiastic, talented, team players.
We often encounter opportunities which are not quite our know-how or experience match. In the case where we may seem “over-qualified,” I have advised the candidates to proceed to apply for the position and to avoid being “electronically screened out” I suggest seeking a contact for a one-on-one conversation. In that conversation I would emphasize the skills of being a flexible, hard worker and a good-learner, being able to contribute quickly to THEIR success and, once in the position, being in a position to train others.
“Overqualified” is code for “we only want to pay $XX for this position.” Know the market and your worth - ACS Salary Survey has data - and don’t EVER sell yourself short by hiding an advanced degree or significant experience. Salary ranges exist for most jobs, and if a position is otherwise a good fit, ask about the range. It may be worthwhile to accept a lower salary (which might be at the high end of their range) than desired to get in the door, where you can dazzle and shine. But discussing dollars is ONLY if you are about to be dropped from consideration.
When considering an “over-qualified” candidate, the interviewer is trying to guess at 3 things:
The answer is understanding the company and expressing enthusiasm for the opportunity. Convince them that you will sweep the floor if necessary to get the opportunity to join the team. “Put me in coach!”
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of their employer or the American Chemical Society.
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