Thursday, December 10, 2009

What if you're overqualified?

Physicians are often overqualified to hold certain positions in the business world. At the same time, physicians are often underqualified for certain non-clinical jobs because they lack experience within certain industries. They often find themselves ironically stuck in the job search process because they're simultaneously overqualified and underqualified.

It's easier to change the problem with being underqualified because you can gain experience and eliminate that barrier over time. However, if you're overqualified, then you may face certain obstacles that you may not be able to overcome. So what can you do?

There are a few creative ways to approach this problem. First, you should revise your CV to avoid problems that may be associated with age discrimination. You need to be truthful in your CV, but you're not always going to be obligated to provide information such as your college graduation year. That information could lead to age discrimination and could hinder your opportunity to find jobs because hiring managers may automatically think that you're overqualified.

Another option is to explore unconventional positions that may never get advertised. Perhaps a company may create a position for you. Perhaps there's a way to leverage your experience with your other skill sets so that you can become a valuable asset to a company. Are you able to communicate your value proposition?

Finally, you should remember that you may appear to be overqualified on paper, but if you can get an interview, you now have the opportunity to tell your story and convince hiring managers why they should hire you even though you may appear to be overqualified. You have to know how to address the concerns they may have about hiring someone who's overqualified (if you're not familiar with those concerns, then stay tuned because I'll write another article on that topic. Or, you may wish to do some research so that you can confidently address those concerns).

I've been in both roles: the one being hired and the one doing the hiring. I know what it's like to encounter questions regarding "overqualification." I've also seen many examples where we've interviewed individuals who appeared to be overqualified on paper. If you're not sure how to handle these types of obstacles, consider working with a career counselor who can mentor you through that process.

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