What to do when you’re ‘Overqualified’

Have you ever been told that you’re overqualified?

Most often, it is term used when you’ve applied for a job that the recruiter or hiring manager decides that your experience or skills exceed that of what would suit a ‘good fit’ for the role.

Of course, in hiring, if someone doesn’t fit their place in the organisation, there are companies where this can really upset the dynamics of the workplace (particularly in less innovative sectors). Or, it could upset workflows by one person wanting to do more than their capacity rather than working with their team-members.

However, while logical from one perspective, being told you’re overqualified isn’t always easy to do deal with.

So, bear with me, while I share some things that you and I are probably way too overqualified for.

In fact, if you’re applying for any of these roles, after reading this, you’ll likely want to delete your application. Perhaps, even block the number of the recruiter. As you’ll soon see, there are some roles that are clearly not a good fit and will only lead to problems.

The roles you and I are overqualified for

Ok, here we go… a look at the roles I think we’re overqualified for.

Now, if you do happen to have any applications in for these, you’ll be very glad for the opportunity to avoid getting stuck in a role that you’re clearly not suited for…

#1 Overqualified for the role of being a whinger or complainer

Yes, that’s right, a whinger… you’re overqualified!

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made the mistake of putting in an application for this role a few times too. I got as far as listing out a few valid points of complaints and whinges I could make. Maybe I’ve even fooled a person or two that I’d be good at it.

But, when I looked at the full picture, I don’t know why I ever even bothered to waste time entertaining the idea… I’m way too overqualified to ever be a good whinger.

Why am I overqualified to be a whinger?

Well, I simply have far too much to be thankful for. The very fact that I can write this article, shows that I have a computer, an internet connection and the ability to read and write. That surely puts me among some of the most blessed and prosperous people on the planet. As I write this article, my kids are playing happily in the lounge room, I’m enjoying air conditioning and I live in a great country. There is so, so, so very much to be thankful for! I’m even thankful that you’re reading this (and hopefully will be encouraged by it. In fact, that would make me ecstatic!!!)

Now, I’m not the only one who has stuff to be thankful for. After all, if you’re able to read this, I can think of at least a dozen things you’d have to be thankful for. Why not create the list yourself of all the things you could be thankful for. I’m sure you’ll quickly agree that you too are very much overqualified for the role of whinger.

Given these massive over-qualifications, I’m thinking the role of whinger is well and truly redundant. Despite this, advertising for these roles is still strong and it can be tempting to lodge an application. After all, it looks like such an easy role, right? Be careful, the remuneration package on this one is awful… and it has a horrendous impact on your social life. Best to avoid the role of whinger at all costs, you’re far better suited to gratitude. Great news, gratitude is currently hiring and has the perfect vacancy for you!

#2 You’re overqualified for excuses or the role of “I can’t”

The role of “I can’t” and other roles in the ‘excuse’ sector receive far too applications. There are so many overqualified people applying for these roles, the recruiters are often too swamped to even point out how overqualified they really are. The biggest problem of these pending applications is, that many people stop applying for what they really can and should do, believing that the “I can’t” role is the right fit.

Lodging excuse applications is so easy, it happens almost by auto-pilot. There isn’t even an age restriction on applications, as “I can’t” roles get frequent applications from toddler age to our most senior citizens and every age in between.

The big problem is, that while this role may seem legitimate, it’s not actually the right work environment for you. You are in fact, very likely, far too overqualified for many roles in this sector. Roles in this sector are most renowned for their poor remuneration and horrendous lack of job satisfaction.

Why are you and I overqualified for “I can’t” and the excuses sector?

Put simply, you can! That’s right, you can, more than you think you can, you can. More than you feel like you can, you can. After you think you’ve done absolutely everything and are under the impression there is nothing left, you still can.

You are in fact, the most amazingly designed, potential filled, ability enriched creature this planet has ever known! Looking at what can be achieved when you put your energy and focus into it, is simply amazing. While often a journey of discovery to find out just how true this is, given your qualifications in this area, I’d certainly recommend looking into it.

One of the greatest lessons I’ve begun to learn, is just how overqualified I am for “I can’t”. While there are many examples, there is one that springs to mind….

Possibility boot camp

Straight out of high school, I joined the Air Force and headed to the Australian Defence Force Academy. It was there, I had a very inspiring team of drill sergeants, officers and various other hierarchy who helped me redefine possibility. Before that, showering, shaving and getting dressed, could easily take half an hour (or more). However, within days at the academy, I could do all this, in addition to making my bed to inspection standard and being on parade in full uniform in under 12 minutes. Think of all the hot water my parents could’ve saved if I believed this to be possible sooner!

It wasn’t my ability or what was possible that had shifted, just what I applied myself to. With my application for “I can’t” torn up in front of me, I had to re-apply for “I can” and guess what? I got the role!!!

In fact, many times in sales, retail and marketing, every time I just kept applying for the role “I can”, I end up finding the perfect role. Sometimes I must reapply many times, but it’s amazing what can be done when I commit to applying for “I can”.

Just imagine what we could achieve if we refused to ever lodge another application for any position in the excuses sector. Guess what, you can!


What else are you overqualified for?

Have you ever found yourself holding back from doing something great or seeing a friend who is perfect for a great opportunity, who just resists the thought of even applying?

Get your shredders ready, the next one has way too many applications… from massively overqualified people.

#3 You are massively overqualified for procrastination

It’s all about timing, right?

Surely, I’m not talking about that thing that you said you were going to do, but haven’t yet.

You have a perfectly crafted cover letter, explaining perfectly why it’s not the right time.

Your application for ‘procrastination’, ‘not yet’ and ‘when the time is right’ is exceptional… perhaps a little too good.

The problem with the role of procrastination, is that many apply for it, thinking they’re too young to go for their dream role. They then end up getting stuck in the role and believing that they shouldn’t move, because they’re now too old to do what they wanted to do. The result… poor pay, no job satisfaction and a retirement plan that lacks any resemblance of plan.

If you’re reading this and discover that you’ve been sitting on an application for the role of procrastination… good news, the shredder is here!

You are in fact, ridiculously overqualified to sit back on your dream.

Your goals and dreams need a connection to today, in the choices that you have control of now.

Why are you and I overqualified for procrastination?

You have today!

Of this, I am sure… I can’t guarantee tomorrow, but I know you’ve got today.

If you’ve got a dream, that you want to become reality, it can’t just live in tomorrow.

You need to do something today! For any substantial dream, it will take more than today to bring it to reality. However, today is an important part of it and where it must start or continue. If the dream is worth having, there must be something you can do today to bring it closer. The only question is, whether or not you will do it?

It’s your choice… apply for procrastination or purpose, delay or destiny. Which do you prefer?

Today is going to pass by whether you move closer to your dream or not. Will you apply for procrastination or purpose? I’d like to think that if you’re reading an article like this, that you’re a little more inclined to go for purpose…

You and I are so amazingly qualified to achieve and make a positive impact. Consequently, I consider it a tragedy to reflect on how many applications we submit to procrastination. The excuses may be valid, but they won’t make your dream a reality. Your dream cannot live in tomorrow, in the middle of choices you can’t yet make. Your goals and dreams need a connection to today, in the choices that you have control of now.

Embrace your over-qualifications

The initial idea for this article started as I reflected on being headhunted to apply for a role, only to attend an interview and be told that I was overqualified. It was a funny experience, but got me thinking about how much time and energy is wasted on the things that you and I are overqualified for.

Perhaps this article has been useful in identifying or reminding you of areas of overqualification that you’ve been applying time and energy to. If it provides some inspiration to keep applying yourself to being the very best you can be, then my time has been employed appropriately.

In summary, your qualifications indicate you have much to be grateful for, you can achieve and you have today! For maximum success, apply yourself accordingly.