The  Overqualified Job Syndrome

In the competitive job market scenario, it is vital for the jobseekers to act smartly. They need to know how to use their best skills and knowledge to their best advantage!

Time and again, experts talk about the effective ways of highlighting your strength, skills, accomplishments and ex-factors in your cover letters or resumes.  But, what do you do when you repeatedly get feedbacks that you are overqualified for a job?

Prior to the Covid-19 scenario, I encountered this particular problem twice. There were two leading media companies, who ghosted me because I was overqualified for the job.

Back then, I researched a bit on the matter, and I found a few effective ways to use it to my advantage:

As writers, most of us have been putting on the ‘perfectionist’ hat.  If you are a versatile writer, you are automatically a proofreader, an editor, a copywriter, a digital marketer, as well as a sales professional. Since the expectations are always too high, we can’t afford to take risks. But, what if you pretend not to possess all those skills? 

Before applying for a job, it is vital to read and re-read the job descriptions, to mould your cover letters or resumes accordingly. If they are looking for a writer, share your writing experiences with them. You don’t need to reveal all your proficiency cards at the same time! Uncover them one by one, once you become a part of their team;  and then take the lead by showing them what you have to offer to them.

Two years back, I joined an organization and was being promoted to senior levels within my probation period of six months without (obviously) a pay hike. I realized this is how your employer tries to sabotage you. The recruiters often look for the aspiration level of a candidate, and later use it to their best advantage. 

When I joined the abovementioned media company as a researcher, my CEO already knew that I desperately wanted to be in the writers’ team. So, he kept pushing me every day, telling me how I could easily be a part of their script lab; and I pushed myself harder because a part of me wanted it badly. Unknowingly, I became a part of the toxic system, where you slog through 18-20 hours, and end up just getting patted on the back for all the accomplishments.

After six months, I realized  I no longer needed my CEO’s assurance or validation, because he failed to offer me a pay hike,  yet shamelessly ordered and pushed me to take up a Senior role!

My employer thought he knew me to the core. But, I had already learnt the trick, of not revealing all my cards at the same time. My employer had no clue that I was already a published writer with my own reader base. So, I trusted my readers and walked out of the office, leaving my astonished CEO literally gaping at my audacity. He thought it would be difficult for a jobless me to survive in a metro city like Mumbai. But, honestly, a writer is never unemployed! 

However, I think it was a huge shock to my employer. The egoistic boss used to get annoyed whenever I missed his calls due to my poor network. He never thought anyone (at least in the office) dared to turn down his huge offer (an unofficial promotion), and it came from me-the person who missed cocktail parties to work from home! He thought maybe; I would reconsider my decision after a week of foolishness.

A week later, I wrote two blogs for the Women’s Web magazine, ‘Get Your Dues Cleared Before the New Year Sun Starts Shining Brightly ‘ and ‘The Thin Line Between Internship And Entrepreneurship: Do You See It?’ underlying the importance of entrepreneurship in India. I shared them with my employer, and I think it pulled off my message quite well. 

We ended up sipping a nice coffee, discussing movies in his new office, when he cleared up my dues.  At the end, I walked away with a bright smile and some peanuts (salary).  I had nothing to lose!