Senior Job Seekers: Are you “Overqualified”?

senior job seeker

Age discrimination is unfortunately quite common in the corporate world today, and many senior job seekers are having difficulties getting the jobs they want and deserve.

However, being older and less “fresh” is not the only reason why senior employees are turned away. Often, employers worry that older applicants are ‘overqualified’ and may demand a salary that’s above the company’s budget for a position. They might also feel that an overqualified worker will get bored with the position and quit when something better opens up elsewhere.

As ironic as this might sound, having too much experience can make it difficult for you to land a job. Here’s how to go about a job search when people believe you are overqualified.

Do Background Checks

Before you draft your resume, do a thorough inspection of the industry to which you are applying. Who knows, you might even find a company looking for highly-qualified professionals.

Even if you don’t find something that jumps out immediately, take a look at some job descriptions and tailor your resume based on what companies are looking for. Be sure to include the skills and qualities that fit the job description, and leave out excess information not relevant to the position.

It can sometimes be intimidating for a recruiter to come across a resume packed with too much experience and too many credentials, and this may deter them from recommending you for an interview.

Explain Yourself

When you’ve got so much experience on your side, some employers will be skeptical about your reasons for applying. They might think that you’re trying to kill time until you can find a ‘real job’ that pays you what you’re really worth.

Lay these fears to rest. Let your employer know exactly why you’re applying to their company. You might say that you’re looking for a more flexible role with less responsibility so that you can spend more time with your family. Or, perhaps you wish to switch roles because you find this type of work more gratifying, even if it means accepting lower pay.

Whatever your reasons for applying to the job, make sure to outline them so you can clear up any misconceptions your employer may have.

Tell Them the Benefits

When you get to the interview stage, you will want to be proactive about the information that you divulge to your employer. Don’t wait for your employer to bring up that you are ‘overqualified’.

Instead, explain to them again why you have applied for this position. But this time, go beyond your own needs and show your employer how hiring you will benefit the company.

If you have extensive experience in an area that not many people know about, or if you have mentored younger workers, let your employer know. By describing how your experience can help in business situations, you are showing them how you will help their organization grow.

Be sure to conduct some research on the company where you are applying so that you’re aware of what they need. This will help you package your skills and qualifications in a way that is appealing to the employer.

These are 3 important steps to take when you’re an ‘overqualified’ worker applying to a job. It’s quite common for companies to feel like an experienced employee deserves a salary that is outside their budget, and this leads employers to look for younger workers who will be seeking lower pay.

Besides the salary concerns, employers also consider the difficulties in having overqualified workers in certain positions. The fact that an older worker would need to report to a younger, and most likely, less-qualified employee may seem problematic.

However, when you find the right organization and show them that you’re willing to put their uncertainties to rest by putting the company’s needs first, you will be sure to land the job you want.