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In Cover Letter: Address Being Overqualified


Alison Green has an excellent slideshow-style article on what hiring managers really want — in which each slide represents an article she’s written in the past. “You should address being overqualified in your cover letter,” Green advises on one slide, elaborating with the following:
If you don’t acknowledge it, we’re afraid that you’ll be bored, that you don’t understand the position, that the salary will be too low for you. We need to hear things like: “At this stage in my career, having a job I enjoy is more important to me than salary. I have no problem earning less than I have in the past.” Or, “I want to move into this field, and I know that I need to start at a lower level in order to do that.” Or, “I wouldn’t take a job I’m not excited about.”
I agree that kind of statement goes a long way toward setting the stage for the employer to view you more favorably. I remember interviewing an impressive young woman who I was convinced was far overqualified for the job in question — and I told her so. I was sure she’d be quickly bored and would find the job beneath her talents. She tried mightily to convince me, but she couldn’t sway me. I can’t say for sure that I would have been persuaded if she had addressed the issue in her cover letter, but I think I would have been more open-minded if she had demonstrated a self-awareness and understanding of the job by acknowledging that I might find her overqualified (and why she’s right for the job anyway). You can also read Green’s full article on dealing with being overqualified, What to Do if You’re Overqualified.