If you are looking for a position that is at a lower level than one you had before, then you know it can be difficult to persuade potential employers that this is something that you really want. It is generally expected that employees will want to go as high as they can within an organization. So to approach an employer when you are looking for a lower level position can generate a lot of skepticism.
Here are some answers to the question about being overqualified that can help you overcome the barriers that employers naturally have in such situations:
1) You don’t want the pressure of a managerial position at this stage of your career. Some people take a managerial position because it is what is expected. But then the position is not what they expected. If this is the case for you, you can share this with a potential employer to show them why you want to take a step back in your career at this point. Many employers will understand because management is usually much more taxing than an individual contributor role is.
2) You really buy into the mission and values of the organization. You might take a step backwards because you want to get in the door of a particular organization. In this case you should talk enthusiastically and passionately about how the mission and values of the organization align well with your own. This will go far in terms of convincing the employer that you really want to work there.
3) You are doing a career transition. Many times you will need to take a step back before you can move forward in terms of your career. Explain that you are willing to do this in order to get into the field that you are passionate about. Also, you can talk about how your skills from your previous career can be an asset to the organization that you are applying to.
4) Point to your job loyalty in the past. The employer needs a reason for giving you the job when it would seem that it will be a bad investment. More than likely, the employer is thinking that you will leave the job as soon as something better is available. To allay this fear, talk about how you have been a loyal employee in the past. Your resume should confirm this if you have had long tenures with previous employers.
5) Talk about what you like about the position that you are applying for and why it works for you. You can show the employer why this position is a better fit for you than what you had before. For example, if you were a manager and now you are applying for an individual contributor role, you could talk about how you are looking forward to working one on one with clients again, which is something you did not have the opportunity to do as a manager. If you can enthusiastically present your case, you will do much to convince the employer that you will be a good hire.
6) Find champions who will speak for you. If you know people who work for the organization(s) that you are targeting, find out if these people will put in a good word for you. It’s hard for hiring managers to say no to someone who comes referred from someone on the inside.
*Do you need help with preparing to apply for positions for which employers think you are overqualified? A career coach can help you today! Call 877-743-9521 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.