Overqualified job seeker in Canada

Every now and then as I read through career advice and job search articles, I come across something bizarre.

Check out this article I saw yesterday:

Article on being overqualified

I know what you might be thinking – “What a crazy guy!”

And certainly, in the article, this 60-year old CEO thought the same thing to himself before doing this – “Will this work or will people think I’m just nuts?”

In the end, he took the risk. After all, what did he have to lose? Clearly, what he was doing currently wasn’t working.

And lo and behold, after this video went viral, he started getting calls.

Now I’m not suggesting you start doing push-ups and upload into to LinkedIn.

The point here is this job seeker got into the minds of hiring managers, and tackled their negative perceptions head on.

On the surface, being “overqualified” for a job sounds ridiculous. It literally means you’re too good to do this job.

But it’s the underlying reason you need to be aware of. What the hiring executives are really thinking:

  1. You will get bored of this job and leave the minute something better comes along
  2. You’re too old and won’t get along with junior staff
  3. You’re too expensive
  4. You’re stuck in your old ways and not tech-savvy. You’re not aware of how things are done today
  5. You won’t keep up with the team. You’re just here to ride along till you retire.

Clearly, our CEO above shattered a couple of these assumptions.

The first step to solving a problem is admitting there is one. Over-qualification and ageism is a real problem. But blaming “the system” is not going to solve it.

Be brave enough to call out your age and state you can and will get along with younger teammates. Acknowledge your seniority while expressing your enthusiasm to work for this company you are applying for.

Control the narrative. Call it out in your cover letter and during the job interview.

Because if you don’t, they will default to one or more of the 5 assumptions above.