Over 50 and overqualified?
Reposted from careeronestop.org.
The job market is improving for older workers, but many still deal with the concern that they may appear overqualified to a prospective employer. While the issue comes up for younger job seekers, too, it’s particularly common for job seekers over age 50.
To mount a defense against this assumption, job seekers can best begin by putting themselves in the employer’s shoes.
What the employer worries about
Hiring an employee is a costly event for a company; the longer a new, effective employee remains in a job, the better able the employer is to achieve its HR goals and avoid further hiring costs.
If you appear overqualified, the employer may believe it’s more likely you could become bored in the job and look for a new position. Or plan to just get a foothold in the company at the hired position, and quickly work your way to a higher level. Or maybe even assume the position is capable of offering the greater complexity that you might crave and are capable of, but again, the employer needs this job filled, not the higher-level one you may imagine it to be.
Speaking of expense, employers often also assume candidates who appear overqualified for a position are likely to expect the highest end of the salary range or expect the employer to extend the range.
In addition, they are likely to wonder how comfortable and amenable you will be to taking direction from a (probably) younger and less-experienced, less-knowledgeable (possibly) manager.
So it can be a fraught prospect for an employer, despite the appeal of hiring someone who appears capable of hitting the ground running, who might even bring a terrific boost to the competence of a position and workgroup.
Be clear about your purpose
With a clear understanding of the employer’s potential assumptions, you have the opportunity to address them head-on, while defining the strengths you bring to the position.
To begin with, it’s important that you are clear with yourself about why you might want a job with less responsibility than you’ve previously held. You might need to bring a better balance to accommodate family demands or personal life issues. This opportunity might represent a new beginning in a different location, role, or industry. Perhaps you missed working with customers or having a greater hands-on role in your work or found managing people wasn’t a good fit. Or you might be in a situation where you need income right away.
Want to learn more about how to compete for in-demand jobs? Join us for one of our free upcoming “7 Smart Strategies” Workshops, presented by AARP Foundation’s Back to Work 50+ program.