Over-Qualified and Under-Employed

A woman seeks advice about how to land a suitable job.

Your Career Coach

Overeducated and Underemployed

Dear Michele,

I am in the middle of a transition in life. I am currently working for a temp agency in an office that is, well, less than a desirable workplace for me. I am looking elsewhere and am having trouble finding anything. One reason may be because of my two degrees. I have a bachelors and a masters and the types of the jobs I’m looking usually don’t require a degree at all. Most employers aren’t willing to even look at my resume, much less give me an interview so I can prove myself.

What are some options for me out there? I’d like something that I can like myself for, some place where I can be of service to people and still make enough money to support myself. Any ideas?

— Smart Gal

Dear Smart,

Given the economy, employers are really in the catbird seat. They can now probably afford a PhD where previously they could only hire a person with a Master’s degree. In your situation, where your dream job doesn’t really require the education you’ve earned, can you consider downplaying your degrees?

For instance, you could put them at the end of your resume, and make sure the content of your work experience section plays to what it is your prospective employers are really looking for. If you’re asked about your education, you can simply say that you got your advanced degree because you were really interested in the subject matter. I’ve found that if it’s not a big deal to you, it won’t be a big dealbreaker for other folks. Sure, getting a Master’s is a terrific accomplishment and you deserve your props for that. But your role as a job seeker is to prove that you’re the ideal candidate for the job that’s available.

If your particular education isn’t a big help in making your case, then why emphasize it?

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9 thoughts on “Over-Qualified and Under-Employed

  1. All around qualified will get you an occupation speedier than accomplished. Frequently time individuals can be instructed, however not be "savvy" or see how to do errands inside of a fort. In this manner, they require all the more preparing. A man that is all around qualified as of now has the preparation and experience. As a business, I am continually taking a gander at training, yet I will pick an all around qualified individual first. As a worker, I would rather be exceedingly qualified to start with, knowledgeable second. Assignment_Done .Trust that answers the mail.

  2. Thanks for addressing this issue I’m most likely not getting interviews because I’m perceived as overqualified. I’m an attorney who was employed part-time for years, but now I’m transitioning away from the legal field. I’d like to do research, writing essays, and editing online, possibly as a freelancer. I’m encouraged by the abundance of information and opportunity on this site as I move through transitions in my life.

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