But how can someone have too much experience?

When applying for jobs, we often see having a wealth of career experience as a plus. But sometimes, being overqualified for the job you're applying for can actually decrease your chances of scoring the gig. This can happen for a variety of reasons: The HR manager may expect you will demand a much higher salary than someone less qualified; they may be looking for a younger person who has more room to grow within the organisation; they may even think that you'll get bored at the job because you have too much experience.

'Hiring is an expensive activity; no recruiter wants to select the wrong candidate and repeat the process', told TopCV's resident careers expert, Amanda Augustine, to Recruitment Grapevine. This means that if you're overqualified for a job, HR managers have a trove of reasons stacked up behind them to not consider you. But fear not – there are a number of steps you can take to quell the qualms of HR managers and show that you're the right fit for the job.

Focus on your interest in the company

There are many reasons you may be interested in taking a job that you are overqualified for, and one may be that you have a genuine interest in working for a specific company. The company may have a strong, vibrant culture you are attracted to, may be on the cusp of doing something exciting and new or it may be that there is an issue within the company that you believe your employment there can help solve. Focusing on why you're interested in the company, rather than the role, can help open the HR manager's eyes as to why you're applying there. It could even happen that if you are genuinely interested in working for the company, the HR manager may recognise that and be able to offer a role that your qualifications are better suited for.

Change up your CV's format

There are many ways to get creative with your CV that can help you frame your qualifications in the way you want them to be seen. For one, leaving dates off of your education makes it difficult for employers to guess your age and number of years in the workforce. Similarly, be choosy about what details end up on your CV, focusing on the parts of your experience that match what the company is looking for.

Additionally, your CV's professional summary is a good place to focus on the skills and experience you have that make you a great fit for a specific role; even if you have other aspects of your work history that would make you seem overqualified, this is the place to highlight what you have that they are looking for. Since your CV is the cornerstone of any job application, it's important to have one that caters to the eyes of any HR manager, which professional CV-writing services can help with.

Explain in your cover letter

While your CV is the first thing that HR managers will look at when considering you, your cover letter is most often the second. The cover letter is your opportunity to explain away any doubts they may have had about your overqualification when they looked at your CV. Be clear about the exact reasons why you want the job. Similarly, touch on what the job will bring to you – whether it's experience in an area you're unfamiliar with, increased flexibility in your personal life or a change of pace from your previous career positions. Explaining these things from the get-go, in your cover letter, will help you get your foot in the door for an interview because the HR manager will have a better idea of why you are applying. However, remember not to dwell too much on what the job will bring you as the cover letter is a place where you should focus most on what you'll bring to the job.

Be clear about your salary expectations

One of the biggest reasons that HR managers tend to steer clear of candidates they deem overqualified is because they are concerned that these candidates will demand a higher salary than they have budgeted for the role. This is why it's important to be clear about the salary you expect, so that there are no false assumptions built on either side of the negotiating table. Of course, don't sell yourself short when expressing your salary expectations, but also be aware that this can be a major sticking point in your opportunity for the role. You know the kind of job you're applying for and what a reasonable salary would be.

The takeaway

Being overqualified doesn't need to detract from your hiring potential. As someone with a wealth of skills and experience, you have a wide array of options of how you present yourself to potential employers. By carefully crafting your CV and cover letter to highlight your fit for the role, as well as being upfront about your expectations and reasons for interest in the role, your supposed 'overqualification' can turn out to be a great advantage.

It's important to showcase the right qualifications on your CV. Find out where you stand by submitting for a free CV critique from TopCV today.

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