Friday, August 26, 2011

Overcoming the barrier of being overqualified as a physician

It's rather ironic, but being overqualified will disqualify you for many non-clinical jobs out there. So, how do you overcome this barrier? You can't hide the fact that you're a physician. You can't undersell yourself. You can't lie. So, what do you do? If you're looking for a non-clinical job, are you finding it difficult to get an interview? You might be overqualified. Hiring managers and HR professionals won't call you if you're overqualified for a job. No one wants to hire someone who is clearly overqualified for a position. Doing so may disrupt morale, threaten supervisors, and cause other types of disruption within the workplace. People may think there's something "wrong with you" if you're clearly overqualified for certain types of jobs. Organizations are looking for suitable employees who will be "team players" and committed to their work. People who are overqualified often cause friction and problems within the workplace.

There are several ways to overcome this common barrier associated with being overqualified. It's not easy to convince a hiring manager that you're going to be committed to a job if you're clearly overqualified.

Make sure you have a compelling cover letter that clearly outlines why you're considering a certain type of job. I've seen people who have a PhD apply for an "internship" job because they wanted an opportunity to break into a certain type of industry. If you've only worked in the clinical setting or in academia, you may not have any industry working experience. You won't find "entry level" positions for someone with your qualifications, so how can you convince a potential employer that you're worth consideration?

You'll have a better chance getting hired if you're looking for a temporary or contract position. Why? Because employers will know that you'll be quick to leave for a better position when the time comes. Have a compelling argument to explain that you'll be committed and that you won't leave prematurely. Is this job going to be a stepping stone for a better position in the future? How long will you stay before you make that jump?

Finally, expand your social network so that you know someone who will be willing to speak on your behalf. The majority of new jobs are found through networking when you're in the business world. If you know a classmate, friend, or colleague who is willing to support your job application, you have a much better chance at securing an interview if that person also works for the same company.

Don't forget that our experienced career coaches can help you break into a new industry. You can read about our career coaches here.

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