How to Apply for a Role You Are Overqualified to Do

Are You Overqualified For That Job? 

There are many good reasons why you wish to apply for a role that you are overqualified to do. You could be switching industries and sensibly realise that you need to start a level that does not accurately reflect your true abilities. You may be reaching an age at which you want to shift down a gear and take a job that is less taxing and has less overall responsibility than you have been used to.

It is also true that you may have been laid off and are finding it increasingly difficult to find a similar role elsewhere and are compelled to look for work at a lesser level than you would prefer.

If these or other reasons have led you to seek a role that you are overqualified for, how do you go about successfully applying?

There can be many valid reasons to apply for a job you are overqualified for

Switching Industries

A good example that can be applied to many of these reasons is changing careers. It is a fact that increasingly, people are more confident about turning their back on the old ‘job-for-life’ route these days and looking to embark on something new and challenging every few years. And a drastic step may require compromise on salary and position in order to gain a foothold. This could present HR managers with a problem – why would someone in an established, high-achieving role be applying for a role they are clearly overqualified for, maybe even an entry-level position?

It is important to be upfront about your motives, preferably in your cover letter. Clearly, state the reason you are applying for this particular role and how you will apply yourself with the same commitment and passion that has got you where you are now. In the ensuing interview, you can expand on this.

Then, address the role and the company in depth. This will show that you are genuinely attracted to this position and are not just ‘grabbing at anything’. At the same time, underline your pragmatism that you are willing and able to potentially start at the bottom and that you’re eager to learn the ropes. This will be a great conversation starter in the interview and from there, you can talk about your soft skills and how they transfer seamlessly into this new position.


Focus on the Company

In fact, one of the strongest pieces of advice is to underline why you believe a move to this particular company is what you desire. Employers are more likely to want to take a chance on you if they believe that you are truly passionate about the company and are willing take on a position, even if it is a lower level than you are used to because you truly want to work there in whatever capacity.

Show the employer that you understand their needs and vision, that boredom in a role that is perhaps unsuitable to your skills is not a factor, and outline what you can bring to their organisation to help achieve outcomes Do your homework on the company before you apply. Employers realise that hiring someone with more experience means the learning curve will likely be much shorter and that someone with a range of experience, even within another industry can be good for them but that doesn’t mean you still don’t have to persuade them based on what you can do for them. Build a sold rationale for them to hire you based on what you can do for them. The HR Manager has to believe that you are there because you believe in them and because you will do a great job. It’s not enough that they think they are getting a bargain; you have to prove that you will add value to the company’s overall objectives.


There are a lot of factors that go into a hiring decision, and what you may think of as a negative of being overqualified could, in fact, be a very attractive proposition to the company. Being considered overqualified does not mean you cannot get that job – simply take the time to consider, and then convey why the position works for you, and why you’re the best – indeed the only – choice for the employer.

Are you seeking a resume writing service? Select Resumes can provide this service to you at the highest standard. Select Resumes also offers dedicated selection criteria writers to give you the help that you need for even the most complex government job applications. Once you have secured your interview, talk to us about our experienced and passionate interview skills coaches so that you can feel more confident at your next job interview.

There can be many valid reasons to apply for a job you are overqualified for

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