It’s pretty safe to say that everyone has an interest in being good at their job. Typically, the better you are, the higher the demand you bring in the market, and therefore come at a premium. Having things work out this way is an ideal situation of course, but many factors can land someone in a job where they are overqualified.  

It could be due to the industry shrinking, a crowded and competitive job market, outsourcing, or a host of other factors. But it’s pretty safe to say that this is pretty common in recent years, most notably with those being young in their careers. At that poit, they can find themselves being passed over for that dream job because they lack real-world experience and wind up taking a junior position instead.

The situation of being overqualified can be frustrating, to say the least. One has to work through many factors that come along with not being employed to your full potential. Let’s take a look at some signs of overqualification, the problems that come with them, and how to work through it.


Are you Doing your Bosse’s Job Again?

There is a saying “You have to do the job you want first in order to get it.” The sentiment is that you have to show that you are capable of doing the job you want before you will be promoted. If you are overqualified, you may already be regularly doing this.  

Do you find yourself constantly doing work above your paygrade? Is your boss always asking how you would handling situations? If senior management is looking to you to help them with their work, you might be overqualified.

Not only are you providing counsel to management, but you might be asked to train your fellow workers too. If you are underemployed, you can find yourself constantly being asked to present at the team building meetings or on conference calls. Unless your job is literally a training manager, this is extra work on top of your job duties.

Generally, having to consistently perform duties that are above and beyond the industry standards is a good sign that you are working below your potential. While it is always a good idea to go the extra mile for the promotion, feeling like you are underpaid for your efforts can make anyone dislike their job.


The Mounting Problems  

Working as an overqualified person is a tough place to be. You’re either going to be doing more work than you have to, or feel as though you are not living up to your potential. You want to show you can do the job and get that promotion, but the company likes the fact that you do a good job at it, and they don’t have to pay you as much. Depending on the type of boss and company ethics, you might be on the right path or you might be stuck in this position until you find a new job.

But looking for a job as an underemployed candidate can have challenges of its own. Depending on your job history, a potential employer might view your current job as a negative. There are, however, some ways to overcome this.


How to Rock being Overqualified

First thing is first. Know what you want. Establishing a career path is a very important step in everyone’s life. Whether you see yourself as climbing the ladder to the top, aiming for middle management or just staying put, Knowing what you want to do and where you want to go is the start of success.

Once you figure out how far you want to go, have frequent talks with managment about your goals. Open communication will help senior staff will clarify the intentions behind your efforts. In doing so, any extra work by you will be looked at as part of your career plan.

No room to grow inside your current business? Then its time to start looking for the right job. If there is no immediate pressure to leave your job, other than being underemployed, you have the luxury of taking the time to find the right one. Having your career goals decided will help potential employers understand your motivation to find the right job during the interview process.

Now the last question is, how much does being overqualified mean to you? Perhaps you found a tradeoff that has great rewards. Maybe it is the extra time at home, the company culture, or the benefits that make the job rewarding. In that case, you rock that job and enjoy all it has to offer.




Article updated from original January 24th, 2019