You’re overqualified for the position, but do you care?

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Of the many things the recession messed up — and I think we can all agree it really ruined a lot — plans were the biggest victim. Once the economy went kaput, your future suddenly became a little less certain. Could you afford to maintain your lifestyle? Was it the best time to switch jobs? Could you save enough for your upcoming wedding after pay cuts? The ramifications were endless.

In Sunday’s New York Times, writer Michael Luo touched on a phenomenon that is occurring throughout the country: overqualified workers who are satisfied just being employed. As Luo points out, many job postings give the basic requirements for candidates, but many applicants have experience and education that theoretically qualifies them for much higher positions. When these job seekers find themselves in these positions, they experience some insecurity but have some satisfaction that at least they’re working.

Academic research on the subject confirms that workers who perceive themselves as overqualified do, in fact, report lower job satisfaction and higher rates of turnover. But the studies also indicate that those workers tend to perform better. Moreover, there is evidence that many of the negatives that come with overqualified hires can be mitigated if they are given autonomy and made to feel valued and respected.

The new variable in all of this is the continuing grim economic climate. Many workers’ ambitions have evolved, after all, from climbing the ladder to simply holding on to a job, any job. Turnover would also seem to be less of a concern amid predictions that it could be years before unemployment returns to pre-recession levels.

As a result, Luo points out, many overqualified workers are struggling to accept their current situation without letting insecurity appear.

For his part, Mr. Carroll admitted that he had caught himself often trying to drop his credentials into conversations at his new workplace.

“Obviously that stems from maybe some embarrassment at the level that I’m at,” he said. “I do want people to know that, to some extent, this isn’t who I am.”

Have you found yourself in this situation in the last couple of years? How have you dealt with being overqualified? Some job seekers have said that “overqualified” is a useless term because all that matters is whether or not a person wants the job and is qualified for it. Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts.

202 Comments
  1. I am overqualified for my current job. After being out of work for over a year I took the first offer I had. I am struggling financially and this job is not challenging enough.

  2. I’ve been unemployed for 18 months and no more unemployment benefits for the past 4 months. I have been searching for a job all this time, consistently “dummying-down” my resume because the very few actual responses to my applications have all told me I’m over-qualified, even with a resume showing far less experience than I really have. I just want a job!!

    I have a degree in Film/TV production but haven’t worked in that field for almost 10 years. When I moved back out to LA, I was told time and time again “You’re Over-Qualified”. When I finally ot to frustrated to take it anymore, I actually confronted one of my interviewers about what this meant. They told me they were simply afraid I would keep applying for better jobs if they hired me and then walk out one day to accept one of these “better jobs”. They figured I would be too much work to have to keep hiring someone to fill that position of Production Assistant if I were to leave. I tried to convince them that, yes, I had experience in a post-prod house and used to be an assistant editor, but hadn’t touched the equipment in a decade…nothing I used to work with even existed anymore! I needed a low level job just to remember what the industry was like.

    Still unemployed!

  3. I agree!
    I am happy to have a job, albeit it is not in the field in which I’ve had training. I recently switched jobs from print journalism to being a secretary. I wanted out of the old job I was in, but stayed in a bad situation for a long time because of the fear that I would not have anywhere to go. I even considered moving out of my town to find work. Sounds dangerously like the story of someone in an abusive relationship!
    I am thankful to be working, but some days I feel the hit pretty hard when my days that used to be filled with freedom to operate on my terms have turned into days of answering phones and opening someone else’s mail.
    Perhaps this is a lesson in humility for all us hoity-toity “professionals” out there!

  4. I definitely agree!! I have a Bachelor’s degree and got retrenched from my last job due to the company cutting back and a third of the employees were let go. Like Chad I was told I was over-qualified at many a job interview. In desperation I took a job which I was obviously over-qualified for at much less pay. I am just grateful for a job but I yearn for something more challenging but the job market is not at its best these days – decent job offers are few and far between. I don’t think us ‘professionals are ‘hoity-toity’ in any way – just like any other employee, we would like a job that challenges us and I think most of us need to be paid the salaries we deserve.

  5. Well, talk about overqualified. I have 10 years of industry experience, I am 29 years of age, and I have two Bachelor’s Degree, and just moved back to Los Angeles from London, I have no idea why I did it but there it goes. I am highly skilled expert, and nobody in Los Angeles does what I do, but I have been unemployed since the summer of 2008 and had been turning in resume’s and and attending job fairs eversince and still no job. There is that insecurity of employers not to hire me because it’s like hiring President Obama to flip burgers at McDonalds, it is becoming ridiculous………

  6. I not only get annoyed about the “you’re overqualified” thing…I get annoyed when I apply to a job I’m perfectly qualified for because very few people have my kind of experience. I used to be a radio announcer, and I was both the afternoon drive announcer AND the secretary at my first station. Talk about wearing many hats. When I left radio, I went into admin work – I wanted something more stable. Recently, I sent a resume for an admin job at a radio station, that requires doing station logs. Well, I’ve done that. And I sent one to a national radio broadcasting company for a data entry person – and I have tons of experience in data entry. And in my radio career, I worked for a station in this company’s network. In both cases, I understood the work and the industry very well. Haven’t heard a thing from either one. And I’m thinking, “How many people will you find who have done exactly what you’re asking for? How many former radio announcers will you find with admin experience?” Not too damn many. And yet…nothing. It seems like employers today don’t want people with actual experience, and who know an industry’s culture. I feel like saying, “Well, pardon me for having real experience in this. Sorry I bothered you.”

  7. I get irritated when people not only say I’m overqualiified, but they don’t count owning a business as experience. I owned a photography business for fifteen years, and I learned a hell of a lot, especially about marketing, because I had to do it all myself. But people don’t count that because it wasn’t a “traditional” setup where someone else hired me to sit in their office and do marketing work. I recently closed my business, and I’ve been trying to find a marketing job, and I can’t, because having a business of my own doesn’t count as real “experience” to employers. Never mind that I found effective, inexpensive ways to advertise. That doesn’t matter to them. Most employers are not willing to think beyond their own traditional “borders.” It’s interesting that employers say they want you to be creative and bring new ideas to the table…and yet they don’t do that themselves.

  8. Being overqualified is a relative term, especially when your unemployed. When people who have always worked, find themselves in the unemployment line, the only thing they can think of is getting back to work, but at what cost? For me personally, I couldn’t wait to get back to work, so like many I accepted the first job I could get. I already knew that with the economy being the way that it was, employers would try to get more for their buck, by giving people half of their worth, because they could justify it with the economic climate. Unfortunately, for me and others, we forget that going forward, HR departments base your salary off of what your currently make, and may be willing to give you 3 to 4% increase, not what the market can bear, and not your worth. So, I would really advise people to evaluate this trend, and consider going back to school, adding more credential, so when the market recovers, you can get your worth. I am extremely unsatisfied in my position, and I often feel like am surrounded by idiots. Going backwards isn’t as good as it may seem in moments of desparation. Being laid off isn’t the end of the world, people should look at it as in opportunity to live your dreams, and not working your tail off making someone else’s dream come true. No better time to live your life, and not be restricted by the Big Business.

    • I’ve been unemployed for 13 months and counting. Just received a job offer I’m way over qualified for with a 40% pay cut with horrible unfamily friendly working hours, no benefits or vacation. I have two weeks to make a decision. I have a masters degree with 13 years of experience. I feel depressed and blackballed. It’s like damn if I do and damned if I don’t. Yes we need the money but what will this do to my career? I have enjoyed my time off with my family and had made the most of it. Will taking this job haunt me forever? Shouldn’t I feel happy about a job offer? I’m NOT and feel depressed instead. What should I do????

      • Yes, and of course most stores now have to be open 24/7 god forbid anyone should be denied the experience of shopping for toys at 3:00 AM.

        But seriously, are building owners willing to reduce the rent from $1200 per month to maybe $200 a month? If so, I wouldn’t mind working for $3.00 per hour like they do in India.

        This is definitely a conspiracy on the part of Corporate America. The “advice” always seems to suggest that you should just suck it up and take any job at McDonalds. Of course, if you actually try to do this, they will say “MY GOSH YOU HAVE ALL THIS EXPERIENC DOING x?” There is no way you will get hired for that job. And leaving the PHD off your resume will not help unless you are young and a skilled actor.

        They also say you should get outside your field as “the job ain’t coming back.” Again, when you actually try to do this they say, “WHY ARE YOU APPLYING TO BE A MEDICAL RECEPTIONIST WHEN YOU HAVE ALL THIS EXPERIENCE IN LIBRARIES?” As if pushing one type of paper is any different than any other, or selling books by mail is any different than selling screwdrivers.

        C’mon!! WAKE UP!! When are we going to start boycotting theh Fortune 500 for making us jump through all these crazy hoops. THIS IS BULLSHIT.

  9. I am certianly overqualified for my job. I hold a bachelors degree with a double major in Accounting and Finance and a minor in Economics. I also have a law degree. My job – a warehouse supervisor. While I generally enjoy the job, there are days that I am nearly bored to tears. I have been working for the company for 13 years now. I started with them when I began law school.

  10. The “overqualified” label most often stems from the employer not wanting a subordinate who is smarter than he is. I’ve witnessed that syndrome many times in industry where the managers protect their nests against intrusion from below.

  11. I was unemployed so I took the first job I could after 3 months (teller) and now have been with this company for over 7 months now. I enjoy the people I work with, I have great benefits, and there are some sales bonus perks. I had to take the minimum pay, and that really hurts. Going from $65,000 a year to $28,000 hurts really bad but its better than being unemployed. I am basically a glorified teller that can close loans. I am leading my branch in sales, balancing, and completed all assigned training (50 courses and have asked for more). I didnt have any previous experience in banking but I have thirteen years in sales and management, with a bachelors degree in business management. I feel overqualified and underpaid.

    The funny thing is that the management staff is all younger than me by at least 6 years, and they do not want to promote me. They just want me to sell sell sell. I feel trapped because of the economy and the benefits. Not to mention that I truly feel my boss is like a little kid with no managment skills. If there was an award for micro manager of the decade he would be the victor. I can’t even get a review on time (which is supposed to be in six months and the next one at one year of employment), and did I mention that my boss didnt fight for me on a raise that I ask for because he didnt feel that I needed one? So lost and miserable right now.

  12. With me being laid off from a job I had for 10 years, I had to take a job that I hadn’t done for 15 years (and making less than half my previous salary.) Although the bosses are extremely happy with my performance, they know that I’m not happy and am looking for a job more in line with my capabilities / goals.

    The hard part is not showing my frustration that can affect my work / results.

  13. Being overqualified makes your boss or possible future nervous because they think you are after their job. It happened to me. I had a new boss start and I offered her the courtesy of helping her learn the ropes. Within 3 months after getting her up to speed, she went on a witch hunt and fired me for an employee complaint from 6 months prior. She was not even with the company 6 months ago! I have an MBA with 10 years of experience, my ex-boss has a BS with 7 years experience. I may not be so eager to help my next boss, or share my qualifications with them.

  14. It’s true. Age discrimination is prevelant in the workplace. Companies want young kids who they can squeeze blood out of after brainwashing them with comany propaganda. Loyalty is very rare these days.

  15. What’s frustrating is also finding out that the voice at the other end of the call for jobs which appear to be a match is from a recruiter who is Indian and the gatekeeper to the opportunity. They cant speak english and have no business ethics or courtesy.

  16. I recently graduated with a Healthcare Degree with a minor in business. I have had many years of experience working as a Administrative Assistant, Apartment Manager and etc…I’ve had a job since I was sixteen years old. Finding a job has been difficult to say the least. All of the jobs I have applied for I seem to over qualified/underqualified depending on the requirements of the job. I always felt like the employer looked at me as person who would skip out on the job once I found a better offer so they wouldn’t hire me. I am still unemployed and looking.

  17. Last week I got a job posting from a friend for the kind of work I used to do about 5 years ago, I read the description and it sounded like a perfect fit. I went in to the office and talked to the person responsible for hiring… and found that the job was vastly different from the description.
    They were asking for an experienced construction manage/site superintendent for a large environmental cleanup site. The actual job – oversight of one or two drill rigs for the summer. So I was a perfect match for the posting, but so overqualified for the actual work that it wasn’t even funny. It seems like this whole finding employees/finding employers thing would be a lot easier if people could just say what they really want.

  18. I’ve been overqualified for my position for 15 yrs. Nothing wrong with that. There’s no such thing as a job not being challenging. A job, like school, a marriage or anything else is what you make of it.

    So, I became a consultant 12 yrs ago and I’ve been making 2 to 2.5 times my peers for the same job. Only difference… I’m good at what I do and prove it to client time and time again. I can finish the work in 1/10th the time for 2.5 times the price.

    When you have deadlines… who ya gonna call?

  19. I was only out of work for three months — I couldn’t stand having no job — so I took a position that paid the same as my unemployment was paying. I took a position I was over-qualified for 30 years ago. I was confident that I could show what I’m worth and get a promotion and a raise, so it seemed worth the risk.

    I did get the promotion right away but the raise was a joke. I now earn what I earned 20 years ago. When the economy recovers, the employers who fail to recognize and reward the talent pool they lucked into will see a mass exodus.

  20. Yes, definately overqualified for my position (last two jobs in fact). I agree with the article…I’m 47 and just happy working every day to sock away for the future. A future that appears like a depression economically. I’ve been socking away as much precious metals as I can. I’m not concerned about trying to stuff any more dollars into retirement accounts…I was doing (saving) 20% in 401k’s since I was 25 until age 45…been there, done that. I’m doing much better in the metals and happier…feeling secure. They can run the printing pre$$es now…I’m secure.

    If you want to talk dollars…my highest year value wise was in 1999/2000. Many others I’ve talk with have lost since 1999 financially speaking when their salary versus cost of living ratio was higher. I fully expect to retire at 55 or 62 and will still not have beaten the 1999 year…high paying careers are pretty much over with. Global equalization has been instituted and soon a global currency will be institued once there’s world wide currency failures which I can readily see happening.

  21. I don’t understand why company shouldn’t expect people to look for better jobs, the companies are willing to do whatever it takes for their bottomline, including layoff, so why should I not be able to make the most out of better opportunities. The problem is “we the people” give big business too much power, these companies can’t do anything without us, we need to put the power back into the people hands.

  22. Ernest is 100% correct! The USA needs a strong and vibrant Union again! Businesses are NOTHING without people, and “over qualified” people need to be patient and sit on the sidelines. Everyone in Corporate America is doing the work for at least 2 or 3 people, and the existing workforce is about to snap! My company is GROSSLY understaffed and tempers are starting to boil over! Do not let the fat cats win, get paid what you deserve, and take the power back to the people!

  23. Working for small, damaged company with no history, total lack of mgmt, and a “CEO” who is a denmother- a retired schoolteacher..with no business acumen. Add to that an inept “VP of OPS” and admin secy’s that don;t even know to put INFO on the subject line of an e mail, and also forget to add the company NAME and PHONE #. Makes it very difficult for a former major corporate high-tech sales rep to get up in the AM for the circus of malperformance. And I make decent $, but the frustration of being dismissed when offering sage advice is insulting. So, this place languishes…as I look and look…for smething else…

  24. I share the same position with most of other readers: I’m overqualified for my present job,but looks like many employers are not interested to hire “the right people for the right job” because they need less-qualified people for a job for less salary instead the right people with a little bit higher salary,which can be more productive with less production-cost.I’m 50 year-old with a foreign college degree,living in the USA for over 11 years, but nobody was interested to find out what this people can do or knows about any kind of work. Employers are afraid to hire some one who has a lot of work experience/over 20 years before came to USA- managing people and merchant marine vessels worldwide/ because of high salary request for a low-level job , but which can fulfill my monthly expenses.
    In fact , employers are following this policy ” young people with the experience of old- ones” wich is extremely hard to find. Good luck
    No more comments !

  25. I was confronted by the “overqualified” label when I applied for one of my first jobs many years ago. I told them that my qualifications never stood in the way of my doing a good job. That seems to have satisfied them, and I was promoted a couple of years later. This was the start of a career with the same organization that lasted until I retired 25 years later.

  26. To be called or considered overqualified by an employer is exactly why companies in the US are being killed in business and why these companies are always complaining they cannot find the right employees.

    The only thing that coiuld a more stupid statement is a gold digger complaining a man has too much money.

  27. The fear employers have with hiring highly qualified people for entry level jobs is,
    the perception that the employee will become disgruntled in role (chip on the shoulder syndrome), will not be loyal and turn on the boss.

    Happened to me – I hired my former boss (who had hired me out of college) and who was subsequently was out of work. Though he does good work, he is hard to manage (does not truly accept I am now his boss) and gets sulky and irritable if given slightest criticism. Also he constantly reaching over me, writing memo’s to my boss and other senior leaders (he has the good sense to cc me) and generally trying to get “noticed”.

    Overall nothing really bad but just irritating which makes me think it is just not worth my while hiring a over-qualified person for an entry level job.

  28. Jobs are not lacking, they are given to Indians. Our company keeps laying US workers off and replacing them with Indians. I feel like I might as well be in India. Out of 3,000 employees, 60% are Indians. It is like the invasion of cockroaches.

  29. Over/Under qualified is always an issue. In today’s job market, things are different than they were five or ten years ago.
    What I would say, that has really made a difference–

    Tailor your resume to the job that you are applying for.

    I.E. if you have a doctorate, and the job doesn’t call for it, don’t blatantly advertise the fact. Emphasize job accomplishments that relate directly to the job you are trying to get hired to do.

    If you are a trucker, with a good safety record and twenty years in–
    Say something like over ten years and leave the twenty to such things as safety awards.

    ( I found this to be the key to getting hired, even when someone with “more experience” was on the possible list.)

    At one point as one of my employers was bidding on a contract, a survey concerning experience was made. The most amusing part of the survey had to do with the number of years of experience in different fields. Since my experience overlaid multiple fields, I was told to forget the totals and concentrate on the experience in each field. Turned out that I had well over a century of experience using this method, even though my career experience was about 25 years at the time.

  30. There is no way to be over qualified for a job. Each job or position has minimum qualifications, it you exceed those qualification doesn’t mean your over qualifies, you meet the qualifications for that job or position and you have addition qualifications that are needed for the job or position you applied for. The way to overcome this excuse if to down play your qualifications and present yourself in a professional and polished manner. Show that your a loyal employee and dedicated to the company. You also have to show that you will work for the salary offered. Salary is what usually results in the excuse, overqualified. Once you are in the door, that is when you show case your true qualifications and the salary will follow. It does work, been there, done that. Good luck.

  31. I too had a good paying job which I worked hard to achieve. When my position was eliminated, I tried desperately to find a job. After 9 months, and many interviews having been told that I was overqualified, I “dummy-downed” my resume and would not mention my previous pay rate. I was still told I was over qualified. Finally, I found out about an opening through a friend of a friend and was able to get a face-to-face interview. I immediately told him that I wasn’t expecting to run the place and wanted less stress. He told me how much it paid and (taking a deep breath) I told him that would be ok. It was less than 1/2 of what I had been making but I was sick of sitting at home and getting so depressed about not being able to help support my family. The great thing is that I really do like this job. I do need to make a little more but I don’t want to go back to making “big” bucks if it means all the stress I had before. I’m hoping my dedication and experience will show through and maybe, before long, I will get to a more comfortable salary. But even if no, then I’m just happy to have a job.

  32. Despite having a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate, I have been told that I have been lacking in specific skillsets! There are even some areas where I do. Ironically, when I apply for the “Ghetto Jobs: I get rejected withinn 24 hours. I believe that businesses and industries use “Overqualified” as a dubterfuge for employment discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, national origin, and other forms of screening.

  33. I am definitely over-qualified for the position that I am currently in. With that being said, I am grateful to have a job with full benefits.

  34. overqualified is a catch-all, it’s a polite way of saying they don’t want you for whatever reason. they say that because it let’s you down easy. why, i’m not so hopeless after all, i’m overqualified! that’s better than saying, you’re not up to snuff. if you are indeed overqulified the employer might fear that you will come in saying everyday, well that isn’t how we did where i worked before. or that you will turn out to be the patient kindly mentor type. companies hate the hiring process, where i worked they flew the prospects in and put them up and spent a whole day with each one, and then after agonizing they hire this guy and in 2 years he’s gone. if you can give the impression that with you their hiring problems are over they will be so glad.

  35. THe vast majority of the people who are now unemployed are finding out that their companies they were faithful to have sent their job overseas. People are qualified in India to take your job at next to nothing. American needs to realize that China and India are taking our work, our jobs and our land.We will never see the great America we grew up in. How sad. America is great because America is good. When America ceaces to be good, it will cease to be great.

  36. Popo has made some very valid points, but I have several friends who have been looking and could be considered over qualified. The problem they seem to be having is that they get the initial interview go in and seem to have done well. They all say the same thing, “It went well” or “I’m sure I’ll be called back”. They never get to the point of discussing salary. On applications they either lower the range based on research of avaerage salary in that position or they simply state open to reasonable offer. What are they doing wrong? I have asked some other collegues in the HR world and they are just as baffled because it really depends on other issues with the company such as financial state, and how the economy has effected their potential growth budget for the year. There are so many things that can come into play when job hunting in this economy, all I can say is hang in there and remain as optimistic as possible. I was fortunate enough to find a position before the comapny I was at decided to ax my job.

  37. It’s 6 of one, 1/2 dozen of another. With a law degree I find it difficult for employers to consider my application seriously. Recently I applied for a job as a customer service rep, went through 3 interviews, testing and was offered the job. I then advised them that I was more than a paralegal, that I was an attorney. The job offer (which paid only slightly less than what I earn now) was rescinded, because I “lied” on my application. No, I had every qualification that my resume stated, I just had slightly more than I stated.
    And oh, unions? They won’t fix this, they can only “protect” you after you are hired and made it past the trial period.

  38. most employers want young, stupid meat they can shape into what they want, once you are over 45 years old, you are basically on the endangered species list…corporately that is.

  39. I have been unemployed since Aug 2009. I spent 7 months of that time looking for work in SC. Since then I moved to TX and left my wife and daughter behind. It’s not being over qualified. It’s that the hiring is being done by inept Human Resource departments. That are now locked in an Ivory tower wiith no way of communicating with them. The Human part has been replaced with “Send your Resume Online” and the Resource part … that’s a joke. The goal is to get in front of the actual decision maker on the position not HR. I am tired of their excusses “we are so overwhelmed with so many resumes”. I actually got that same response from a staffing agency… hello hire me and I will take on the task of hiring people apparently NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED for that job. Final note to those that are employed… Suck it uo get over yourself and stick out your current position. Let us that are unemployed have an opportunity at the position. How else is the unemployment rate suppose to drop. Corporate America get a hint… it is not rocket science, it is hiring and training staff something that is always done.

    • If the unemployed could effect a French Style Revolution, HR people would be the first marched into the line for the Guillotine. I could put my resume in a bottle and throw it into the middle of the Pacific Ocean and it would get a better response. SICK OF THESE A HOLES.

  40. Boy, is that ever true! I have heard that so often on job interviews. My department was eliminated and I was out of work for a year before finding a job that pays much less than half what I was previously earning.

  41. every reason given here is correct in it’s self if you are over 50 it is worst for that individual i have been there done that tried to get a job washing dishes to over qualified now 60 i do have a job i enjoy been lucky no unions needed look at the automotive industries

  42. I teach/write workforce training sessions. A young man who just returned from his deployment in Iraq had great advice for this situation. He said to make a point that you are confident in your ablity to do this job because of your skills, that you could be up to speed faster than someone with less akills, and that you have a comfort level to begin the job.

  43. I agree. I have bachelor’s degree in finance and after 2 years working in real estate company I was laid off. I applied for so many jobs in my field and in other fields. Its always something, either you are overqualified or don’t have enough experience in certain area. Its frustrating. I applied for jobs for which you don’t need diploma or anything and nobody ever calls. As someone said that overqualified means people are discriminated based on their age I sometimes feel like I am being discriminated against because of my foreign accent. I am citizen of US but i still have accent and sometimes when employer calls me and leaves a messege and when I call and leave messege they don’t call back anymore even though I called back withing half hour period. As I said its frustrating and I would rather accept position I am overqualified for and grow with the company but…no such luck.

  44. I have been unemployed for 18 months with no unemployment benifits due to self employment, I have sold off anything of value to keep afloat,I have had to rent my home and move to an apartment so as not to lose my home and ruin my credit.
    Looking for employment after you have owned a past buisness is,at best, impossible,my wife is leaveing after 24 years due to my lack of employment,this economy has changed the lives of many and will continue to ruin lives and families,be thankful for your unemployment benifits,your 10.00 an hour jobs an good luck to all of you.

  45. Agree!I’m an accountant, my job as a manager in a Financial company was done! laid off….and it was really REALLY hard to find another job…for many many months I looked and looked, until one day, finally! I’ve got a job! as a dishwasher …..sad huh? but oh well…that’s what pay my bills right now….

  46. Overqualified sounds odd. It’s almost an oxymoron. I have been applying for advertising and marketing jobs that, based on my resume, I should be perfect for. I have tried the resume revisions and custom variations. I am on LinkedIn and two other “connecting” websites. I read about trends, stay current on all things employment related, yet I am currently working 38 hours a week in a grocery store. I make one third of my past average salary. And I am to presume myself lucky to be working? The line between appreciation for an income and disgust for not being “more successful” is a thin one.

  47. I saw this coming quite a few years ago. I wondered why there were so many highly qualified people in India working in ice cream shops??? Well, here we are.

    There are only a few high level jobs here, and fewer low level jobs. We have brought in all types of low level employees from other countries. Our president and his hired cronies..are working diligently to destroy “the people and its constitution here in America”… and that means all private business, all small business, and most all of the middle class.

    So…. The government run colleges…are still pushing the “myth” that you must have these high level degrees to get a good job!!!….. Hugh????

    Stop supporting jobs and salaries to big government employees…including college professors and administrators…

    Go out and train yourself. Learn what companies are specifically looking for and train yourself. Network with individuals who work at many of these companies…and get your own jobs. Forget filling out resumes and being part of the sheep. No one looks at the stacks of resumes…

  48. I also have been unemployed for 14 months and just obtained a CSR position. This position is really low ranking in my career but it is at least a job. My age and my credentials have been more of a burden than anything. I really don’t think that company’s really want what they are requesting in an employment ad. I interviewed for one job that I even had certification in and it went to someone that I had previously worked with who had no experience or certification in what the job had requested. I never even heard back from them, I just heard that this person obtained the job through word of mouth. How rude is a company to interview a person at least 2 times..phone interview then F2F interview and they don’t even have the sense to send out a quick e-mail stating that you did not get the job. WOW is all I can say. Rude doesn’t even cover it. But, I am grateful to have this new job and it will be my last. I will make it work for me because I have 4 1/2 yrs remaining until I am 62 yrs old. Glad to be in this spot. Wishing everyone good luck with their job hunting, it is the worse economy that I have ever seen.

    • I once had to wade through almost a week of interviews, personality tests, background checks, drug tests etc. I was even told that it was between me and one other person. They SWORE they would let me know either way. Never heard from them again.

      Another time I took a train all the way from Philadelphia to NY to be at a 10 AM interview. They never responded after I followed up by email not once but 2X.

      RUDE DOES NOT BEGIN TO COVER IT.

  49. I’m not happy to see so many others suffering from “Over-Qualified-itis”, but I do feel a little better knowing I am not alone.

    When my position was eliminated I knew that the unemployment rules said I didn’t have to take less than 80% of what I had been making but that I must actively search. I didn’t even care about the whole 80%, I just started looking for anything and everything… and low and behold, I am “overqualified” to do the work I was doing just 10 years ago. I worked hard and climbed the ladder – so what if I need to start over at a new company? Rather than be worried I am going to get bored or keep looking, why not take the chance to let me do my best in YOUR company and if opportunities for growth come up I’ll be more likely to stay!

    I’ve only been out of work for 4 months, but it is not looking good at all!

  50. I have to agree with most of the posts here and I empathize with everyone recently or still unemployed. I spend 14 months on unemployment and just about lost everything. Thankfully solid family support helped me keep the house. I spent my time continuing my education. I have a bachelor’s from an Ivy League school, an MBA, and I just had to stop my PhD pursuit – no more loans available. But I am a PhD (ABD) and guess what –still no job offers. Colleges have had cut backs in enrollments so no teaching jobs; small businesses have their cut back so no more consulting jobs. I have been employed for a month now and while I am thankfully employed, I am very overqualified. I spend most of my day looking for things to do, but as I said before, I am thankful. Hang in there all.

  51. Yes, I too am overqualified for my position in Inside Sales; having had a very successful 20 year sales career in Telecommunications. Yes, I feel lucky to have a job, even though I’m making half of what I did before. However, employers these days seem to have the mindset of “How little can we get away with paying this person, instead of “How well can this person perform his/her job? The company I work for is quite profitable, it’s a paper and packaging firm where the customers have to have what I sell. So they can’t cry poverty and expect me to believe they can’t pay me more. I’ll be asking for an increase shortly, bad economy or not!!

  52. I have been out of work for 2 months. I was a special education teacher for 10 years. I would settle for any job now. Pay cut or not, all I want to do is work!!! Most of the jobs I have applied for require a degree, which I have, but maybe not in education. Trying to find a job now is impossible in Georgia.!!!!!!!!

  53. I have come to learn after being laid off after 28 years with one firm in 2008 that “overqualified” by todays standards is code for you are really to old.

  54. Prior to ‘dumbing down’ I worked for a company that rewarded originality, hard work, personal development and a passion for “building the business”. Now US companies seem to be overconcerned with “just hanging on” with little thought of how to build the business again! I believe, the layoff’s and downsizing that initially occurred, although in some instances were required, was basically a knee jerk reaction to the overspending in the first place. Hence, when the market fell further, executive level management just hung on with all their might to their own jobs, eliminating the positions that helped poise these companies as leaders in the first place. In doing so, they eliminated their own futures in a sense.

    While I am proud of the contribution I continue to make, even in this market, what really galls me about “being overqualified” is how lazy those individuals who haven’t faced what we have faced are about their jobs, the professions and most of the business that compensates them. There exists a real haves and have not’s when it comes to this job market. And those that have, many times are not even qualified to do their jobs, much less interview you for a meager position they are offering.

  55. To me the word “over-qualified” is what is ruining this country.I’d like to buy most of you who commented for what you are “really” worth and sell you for what you “think” you deserve and I would be a set for life!!!!!!

  56. I have been a paralegal for over 24 years and have been unemployed since October of 2008 due to the closing of the law firm where I was employed. I gave my heart and soul to my clients (family law) and made over $50,0000/yr. I have looked for work since my lay-off and can now only find jobs that are part-time or only willing to pay $10/hr. or less…what is MORE FRUSTRATING is that 6 out of 8 job postings in my field now REQUIRE that you speak SPANISH….I’m sooooo upset…..I’m so good at what I do and find job postings I would be perfect for and would gladly take (despite the low pay) but can’t secuare “these” jobs because I don’t speak SPANISH!! This is America darn it…..it’s just not fair!! Why don’t we just call America flipp’n Northern Mexico!?!?!

  57. Out of work for 27 months – was L2 software support for almost 10 years so I am not dumb. Disabilities limit what I can do physically but I am applying for ANYTHING and still get turned down. I do not tell them I am disabled – I never get anything other than stock rejection letters.

    QuikTrip gas station (working the counter), Comcast (for the entry level call center) … none would hire me because they had “more qualified candidates”. That is all I hear.

  58. I worked in customer service before getting married. After marriage and children, I tried to return to the workforce only to find that most companies wanted a degree to do the kind of job I was doing before. I went back to school and finally earned my BS in General Studies in December 2007. I searched a whole year for a full-time position. Finally I took a part-time cleaning job because at least it was something. I honestly don’t think they know that I have a degree-even though it was on my application. It has been such a blow to my self-confidence. I know for every job that I apply to, there are hundreds of applicants who have more recent experience than I do and more education. I went back to school so I wouldn’t have to work low-wage menial jobs and I that’s exactly what I am doing. I am grateful to have a job, but I have been angry and bitter and it has taken me some time to come to grips with my situation. At least I know I am not alone.

  59. On the rare occasion that I score an interview over the last 16 months it routinely comes down to your over qualified and will not be happy. Well fact is I am over qualified and unemployed for 16 months. Out of benefits and unable to cover my expenses. Lets be realistic. There will not be any appreciable creative of new jobs in the US in the near future for experienced apparel, textile and home decor sourcing, development and production professionals. So being over qualified for jobs that might exists vs qualified for jobs that will never exist, certainly seems the better option. By the way, I also returned to school for coursework toward entry into a 2 year health services training program. GPA 4.0 but rejected from program because there were applicants that finished their pre-course work 4 months before me. So, too many for the available jobs and too many for the available seats in the classroom. Looks like our future is looking like a mass of overqualified unhireable street people.

  60. Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    I have been a paralegal for over 24 years and have been unemployed since October of 2008 due to the closing of the law firm where I was employed. I gave my heart and soul to my clients (family law) and made over $50,0000/yr. I have looked for work since my lay-off and can now only find jobs that are part-time or only willing to pay $10/hr. or less…what is MORE FRUSTRATING is that 6 out of 8 job postings in my field now REQUIRE that you speak SPANISH….I’m sooooo upset…..I’m so good at what I do and find job postings I would be perfect for and would gladly take (despite the low pay) but can’t secure “these” jobs because I don’t speak SPANISH!! This is America darn it…..it’s just not fair!! Why don’t we just call America flipp’n Northern Mexico!?!?!

  61. Popo – you are, to put it politely, a platitude spouting fool. Don’t you think people are doing those things?

    I know I sound mildly retarded when I am telling someone how excited I would be to work for them for minimum wage, how they would be getting a great range of experience and the entry level nature doesn’t matter because said skills should make advancement easy.

    Frequently, they will take a new Grad, who has never really worked a day in their life and has no real world experience, over an experienced individual which makes no sense on so many levels.

  62. I just graduated with my Master’s degree in Information Technology w/ an emphasis in Information Security and Assurance, so I was hired by the DoD and work for the Department of the Army. I am 30 years old and just had my first child (10wks old), but I a concerned for my job as I am an intern making considerably less than I would if the economy was in recovery. I commute 1- 1/2 hours each way to and from work, but Ido it because I a grateful fo rmy job and don’t complain! The point is everybody has a story and only the strong survive. Don’t give up….. Find new ways to reinvent your selves intead of being on blogs like this complaining (it only ads fuel to the fire). I found that many older employees were ‘relaxed’ and making more money than they were qualified, but when the ball dropped ( the economy changed), they are the one’s complaing of being out of a job. I went back to school and obtained my Masters because I wasn’t getting quality jobs. I didn’t complain, I did something about it. However, eveybody isn’t as lucky as I am, but the bottom line is you have to take chances, work hard and preservere! I know many 50 year olds who are stil making money. Don’t Get Comfortable. If in a year my job seams like it is changing, I am going to change with it! I am already making plans to get my Ph.D in Educational Technology, so I can be an adjunct professor, while working for the governemnt. So in the long run when I retire from ‘The Man’ I still will be ok, in addition to making sound investments (hoepfull)……

    • You think nobody else did that? When you get sacked – now that the rich have their tax breaks and want to eliminate “overpaid” government workers like yourself let me know how that worked out for you. [BTW, I don't believe government workers for the most part actually ARE overpaid. This is just another lie perpetrated by corporate shills. It helps them to get the public angry and willing to vote more tax breaks for the rich]

  63. There is no such thing as being overqualified but there is such thing as being underpaid. If you work hard and smart you should reap the benefit no matter what you do. Education and experience? Can you learn, adapt and keep up?
    Yes there are managers who will not hire you because you seem like a threat to their position…who could blame them they want to hold onto their salary…which probably isn’t enough. Don’t worry you aren’t missing any glory we aren’t challenged because to be given challenge is to be given opportunity to achieve. The upside is when you finally do get hired for a JOB (which entails actually working) that you feel is beneath you than you will finally be able to pay down the school loans that you racked up while the rest of just worked to feed our families instead of worrying about how much smarter or better we were than someone else on paper.
    Go back to school? Why bother in this country? Grab your money back that the companies that you made rich mishandled “for” you (401k), write a business plan and do what you spent our tax dollars educating yourself for already.

  64. When I was hired for my current position I was told “hiring you is like hiring a Navy Seal to move a box”. Well, this is not my ideal position it is 65K less than I am used to making, but it is a job and I feel extremely fortunate to have one. This is a new experience for me as I have always held a more strategic position. When you a dealt a new hand the play your cards to the best of your ability. When asked why I would consider this position I replied I need a job and I felt that if I can get my foot in the door they will see my value.

  65. I’m stuck in a horrible company that has changed management since I’ve been here and the changes are not conducive to my happiness. Now since everyone is taking whatever job they can get I can’t get any other comprable position, even though I’m overqualified and underpaid for this one. I can only find positions that pay nothing or the commute it twice as much. Very frustrating!

    It sucks!

  66. you are going to pay for what you wrote here on this column. I know who you are and I’m showing this link to your boss and co-workers. World is small, you think you can come here and rant without getting noticed?

    If you hated this job so much, then let’s see what your boss would say after seeing this.

  67. That’s the way of the world…American society has been so selfish and greedy for years and over inflated prices in so many areas caused us to over inflate everything…..We think too much of ourselves and our employers think too little of us. The BOOM is over.. the rich have done waht they wanted there is no more middle-class…there will only be the rich and the poor(sounds familiar)
    The Ruler of different kingdoms had it down to a tee…Now the ruler of the United States are poised to take there place at the head of the table of the Greedy few…..this is our America hope you love it

  68. The “over-qualified” dilema we are facing in the American workforce is but another reason why businesses and the economy as a whole is in the dreadful, under producing status it currently resides in! Was it not once considered a good business decision to get more than you paid for? Since when is it a bad decision to get more “bang for your buck”! Corporate greed and personal insecurity are at the root of this over-qualified problem! Companies would rather build their human resources infrastructures with inferior quality human resources in order to improve their bottom lines than to spend the proper captial resources on higher quality products, which will in turn produce better end products and services. The fundamentals of good business practices in Amercia are seemingly lost to globalization!

  69. Being overqualified for a job is not a concern for the job applicant other than a legal ground for the prospective employer to reject the applicant.

  70. I believe you feel overqualified when the salary is less than that which you can sustain yourself, not to mentionsustaining a kid or two. I am a firm believer in continuously educating ourselves, so overqualified for perhaps some jobs, but if you can bring value and continuously stretch mind, that is self-fullfillment. I am working on my masters, have two bachelors and decades of professional experience. I don’t mind working for less, yet as a single parent, it’s really tough to survive on poverty level wages. What burns me is when someone tells me I should be thankful for $8-$11/hour and that somehow I can afford to support my family and live somewhere besides the local shelter on such, “You can rent an apartment” they say. Sure, where? These nin-com-poops are often from positions of greater incomes, no children and have not yet been affected by a season of long-term unemployment. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thought to visualize those who received billions in bonuses began to tithe to those who lost their jobs, homes and are desparately in need today, as well as to all those charities that have lost the ability to help those in need. I think we should create a middle class currency and screw the world bank.

  71. In response to “Steve E” statement, I used to feel like him though soon realized it is not the “Indians” or any other foreigners at fault, it’s the companies. It’s easy to blame a scapegoat, that’s what these companies want you do rather than them being accountable.

  72. I recently went to an interview for a position and was told by the supervisor that I would be “bored” with the job based on my twenty years in the healthcare field, skills, and pursuit of higher education, then proceeded to tell me to go on the USA Jobs website for healthcare jobs. She either demeaned the position or did not place any high regard to skills or education. It is very demoralizing. I even made a statement to the HR Office regarding her conduct. Not much has been done.

  73. You people should know, we (the american people) in all our greed did this to ourselves. It started with the unions. Yes, I said unions, a needed organization in the 1920′s. But with laws and government agency to regulate work place safety and wage restrictions the unions are no longer needed. All they are good for is running large buissinesses out of the country. So all you so called overqualified workers who can’t find a job, think about the reason and don’t blame companies who have been taxed by unions to the breaking point. You could also look to your President who, since taking office, has done nothing but try to break this country and turn it into a dictatorship.

    • Oh yes, paid by the corporate shills to spout all this Socialism stuff. You think that by taking the “for profit” out of healthcare that we will all end up dressed in rags and eating potatos cooked on our very own stoves in our freezing tenements [like they did in Moscow circa 1917]. Not everyone is dumb enough to equate “socialized” medicine with Leninism/Stalinism.

      Do you also think the fire department should be controlled by For Profit entities and shareholders gratified? Should prices charged for fighting fires be dictated by the market? Should only those who bought “fire insurance” have their fires put out?

      THAT DOESN’T WORK SO WELL TROLL.

  74. i have a job that i hate deal i cant stand my job and havent had a raise in 3yrs even though everything keeps going up except my check ugh!!!! i am glad to have a job yes and sending out resumes daily and don’t even get a call back… something has to give i also do hear that i am overqualified and that is bs….. they just don’t want to pay you what you want. still looking for a job

  75. I was a project manager at the last engineering company i worked for
    now I am the front desk receptionist-I am glad to be employed after over one year of being unemployed……..am I bored? yes
    am I challenged =no
    but i am glad I can pay most of my bills………and helped my son pay for prom.
    I am a great worker and it shows………..will I ever be promoted? probably not.
    right now I just need to eat.
    survival mode at its greatest……….

  76. Businesses are all about the bottom line. New American management is about short term thinking and everyone is replaceable. Long term thinking and planning is non-existent in today’s society. Over qualified is used for many reasons by a company; age or race discrimination (alive and well), pay, experience and education generally mean more dollars, we don’t like you, etc. The root cause of this tremendous economic crisis is the direct fault of the US Government. NAFTA was the single largest mistake ever as it cascaded to eventually allow us to begin trading with China. While NAFTA and China trade are not linked, NAFTA was the beginning of the free trade snowball affect. As long as the American’s continue shopping at Walmart, we will never have economic recovery. I am an employed project engineer and I deal daily with the cheapest parts in the world (China). I live the pain of trying to make parts work that are not to specification and should never work, but I am forced to because I am replaceable. I have had roll back my ethics in my current job and I struggle with that every day. I am the last surviving engineer at my place of employment and I do not think that I am safe. US Businesses will continue to use long term unemployment to drive down wages. I wish you all the best of luck in this terrible economic and job market.

  77. James you are right I to have been out of work since 8/28 I think when it come’s to giving out a resume the first thing the person see is how much experience you have then it’s oh nope sorry next. So would you rather hire some who dont have experience or some one who do, for the company has to train where as if coming in with experience you don’t have to train so why should it be a problem

  78. In 2006 I resigned from my last position in order to join our family move to another state when my husband accepted a new better job at a university. I have a Bachelor’s and 2 Master’s Degrees and can not find work in any field. Yes, I’m over qualified ( & female in 50′s) and thus have applied for so many different positions. The last interview told me that I had way more experience than anyone else that had applied and he was “very impressed” with me. Did I get the position? No…Why? I’m not sure yet but I tried to play down my qualifications and play up the fact that I had so much to offer in the position that he had open. But it’s the same old story. What am I to do now? I am looking into other options that would allow me to use my experience in other ways & stay home while doing it.

  79. You are exactly right. There is not a lack of jobs. The problem is that there are more visas being issued to foreigners than jobs can be created. So no matter how many jobs are created, unemployment will continue to rise. Our government and corporations don’t give a damn about Americans. This country will continue to suffer until we stop all immigration. Mexicans get all the attention, but the biggest problem is the Indians – they breed like rabbits.

  80. I say deal with it ladies and gentlemen. It may make you a better person. Nothing turns a decent human being into a Hitleresque type of person faster than having a prestigious title, and a cushy salary. I know, I was the brunt of such decadence in many of my jobs. It always amazed me the capacity for cruelty in another human being especially when they were your boss.

    Learn the lesson the universe is trying to teach you, all ye mighty executives, systems analysts, high tech managers ad nauseam, and then maybe, just maybe, those job offerings will start coming in.

  81. I’m so tired and frustrated of hearing how I’m over qualified and how if I were hired I would leave too soon if a better job came along or that I would be bored doing that particular job. After 19 years in my profession, I’ve done just about everything within my field so who care if I’m overqualified, it would be a smart employer that would want to take advantage of all I’ve learned.

    I’ve been unemployed for 2 years now, I have no unemployment, I’ve lost everything. I’ve lost my house, my car and I’m now homeless with my dog and whatever clothes I can carry, so overqualified? Who cares?

  82. I agree with just about everyone here- but, according to the unemployment office, you should “dumb down” your resume to get a job – what? I worked hard and long for all that I have accomplished m- and spent 12 years at one company – I am loyal!!? Oh, that’s because you MAY be more qualified than the person interviewing you and scare them away from hiring you- you may take their job after all! REALLY?!? Come on now – if that person was doing a bad job or needed replacing, you’d be interviewing for that job!! And lastly – you think I’ll get BORED? What do you think it’s like sitting around all day? That’s BORED!

  83. Over qualified or not over qualified. Theres little difference. So many of us are out of work, I would be happy to have something just to pay my expenses and its not alot. The unemployment statics keep going up and it gets harder to get anything above part time. You could be young or older. If you got a family its worse. I am trying to keep my self esteem and work. I am 64 and do not think unemployment solves the situation. I say its better to have some bread than not eat. Unless you are among the wealthy, today is a nightemare like living in the twighlight zone.I wonder how many of those who laid us off even care. No wonder theres so much depression and crime.

  84. I agree with Popo. And let me add: If you hear or suspect that the employer thinks you’re over qualified, address it directly. Tell the interviewer that you may be overqual, but that means that you can hit the ground running and begin contributing immediately. AND, since you think this is a great company to get on with, and you are hoping it grows and expands, if future opportunities there do come up, your advanced qualifications would make you a good choice for advancement. Smart hiring managers are usually looking for their replacement, so that they can advance. In the hiring game, it is best to assess any negatives up front and address and remove these head on during the screening and interview.

  85. Oh so true!……”over qualified” simply stated, means you want be getting the job……OK!

    Been unemployed so long, I have forgotten when it occurred. Just like others have stated, I decided to get another degree and now I have 4 degrees….and still no job……I pray that this will all change soon.

  86. Having heard every excuse from; you won’t be happy after a few months in your position with all of your background, you’ll want to move up, all this during the interview. So for those of you that write just dumb down your resume, it’s hard to dumb down during your interview. If you ever get there.

    So it’s very difficult to get to the first interview, let alone to the second once you get to the second, they really start to add up the years of experience and although it’s against the LAW to discrimenate – Age is the second issue, if not the first at times to be used against you by having the “over qualified” words used against you, so for the past 2 years finding any employment has been difficult, still trying to network and open for any type of employment.

    And by the way did I mention I don’t have a degree, yet I have years of experience and my degree would be 35 years old now anyway if I did have it.

    Not giving up!

  87. You know, I just graduated college and took the first job that I could get. I mean I flew all the way to PA for a career fair and didn’t even get considered. Luckily I met someone on the plane ride home who hired me the next week. When I started I made less that I need as a waiter during college, but I figured that “real” experience is what you need. Here we are 10 months later, 2 people resigned and I have been holding down their tasks nicely. I got a raise that put me into the “average” graduate salary range and I will continue working from their. If you are overqualified, tone down your qualifications. Get in, and once your in it becomes blatantly obvious who is making things happen. My bosses found out fast and compensated me accordingly.

    I was coming up on my one year so I was starting to look for another job because I wasn’t sure if they were going to compensate me for all the interesting accomplishments I have here. During that time I went to the Fortune top 100 companies to work for. They have a facebook part where people comment. I looked for people who were currently working there (who commented) and sent them a message on face book explaining that I was looking for a contact in their HR. Blah Blah… I got about 5 contacts to get into various kinds of programs. Don’t waste your time putting your resume in databases unless you already have a job and you can wait to be matched up. Find what you want and go get it.

    Don’t whine about the economy this and that. It’s a done deal. Things changed. And your going to have to change with it.

  88. The excuse of being over qualified for a given position is ridiculous, it is an excuse for HR people to use. HR people use it for a number of reasons, however the main reason it is used is to disqualify older workers. Yes age discrimination is not legal in this country, but we all know it does exist when it comes to hiring someone.I have personally experienced this and know it is fact.

  89. I’m either under qualified or over qualified. Since when do you need a college degree to become an administrative assistant????? I don’t even get a phone call; they review my resume and don’t even call. I’ve been unemployed for 18 months also. Only had a temp position last summer for 2 months, which qualified me for a new round of unemployment. I don’t want to be on unemployment I WANT A JOB!!!

  90. Then there’s Truth-In-Advertizing (not). Why do prices have to be advertized, but not salaries? Tell us up front, before we waste hours of our precious time applying for some crappy job with an exagerated description.

  91. If a person really wants a job they can find one!!!! Get off the internet and go find something to substain you for now. Just today I saw a sign in the window of McDonald’s, it’s not prestiges or really great but it is a job and an income, all you have to do is tone down your lifestyle to meet a lower wage. As in don’t live outside your means.

  92. After 5 months of unemployment, I took a lower level, lesser paying job so I could avoid financial disaster. It isn’t challenging, pays $20k less per year, and I’m working with kids straight out of college as their peer, not their manager. It sucks, but it’s better than unemployment.

  93. It’s is infuriating to not get offered jobs for which I’m ridiculously overqualified. I had no idea until a couple years ago how many people there are going through this same thing.

    I work as a waiter in the restaurant industry. I’ve worked in the largest capacity / highest volume restaurants in the US and all the way up to five-diamond level (the top level of dining in the world). Between these you get to see the top level of skill and professionalism as well as the most efficient systems out there. I’ve also been a salaried manager both in casual dining and in a Marriott university food service. I’ve always excelled in my position and am one of those people who are constantly trying to grow in my knowledge and skills even outside of work. I’m currently studying to attain my wine sommelier certification and want to attend culinary school immediately thereafter.

    Now I am living in a rural midwest city with nothing resembling the type of restaurants with which I’m familiar. It’s obvious based on the age of the interviewers and the fact that they’ve always lived and worked here, that they are as competent to physically teach me anything about food, wine, spirits, or service skills (except their menu) as my seven year old. Not a one I’ve interviewed with even knew what a five-diamond restaurant meant or could compete with me as a professional server. I’ve had the opportunity to serve many of the wine bottles on these local restaurants lists to the famous winemakers who created them. I’ve waited multiple times on the founders of such large and famous restaurant chains as The Cheesecake Factory and Landry’s. The seafood restaurants had fish kitchens inside with shrimp being delivered at times from a boat docked two miles away. Steakhouses and seafood houses alike had professional butchers, bringing in 200 lb fish at times. One seafood house had its own fishing fleet and another was personally supplied with crab from a boat on tv’s Deadliest Catch show. I’ve personally taught myself to cook with every method being used in fine dining restaurants today.

    Needless to say, getting turned down to wait tables in a locally owned restaurant is insulting. I’ve even been turned down to bus tables and even wash dishes. I’ve come from major metropolitan areas around the country where servers have to buy business cards like any other professionals and where a server can go weeks as a full-time employee waiting on nothing but call party reservations (where diners request you and only you as their server). Restaurant parking lots were filled with nothing but Bentleys, Ferraris, and Maseratis. Servers in these restaurants typically are aware of all of the top chefs and sommeliers around the country. My interview questions here were very technical for a waiter. In one steakhouse I was asked to draw a cow and show where each cut of beef comes from on the cow, not just typical steak cuts. I’ve been asked to name every region of France, what wine or spirit each produces, the winemakers and owners of random wineries, and to describe the characteristics of each of 25 different wines that most likely aren’t even sold in the US. Coming from restaurants where waiters are made to memorize scripts to guide each phase of service consistently, this type of 10 page test of memorized facts is easy for me. But to come to these little unknown and comparatively unsuccessful restaurants in the middle of nowhere and be asked what movies I like in an interview can really piss me off. But maybe that’s better than getting taught a method of service in a local restaurant here that would get me fired in a major market fine dining concept.

    It doesn’t matter what I’ve done in the past. It has helped me to make 25% tip percentage over a twelve year span. Individual receipts ranged in hundreds and even thousands of dollars as a norm, not the exception. I’ve earned nineteen 100% tips on $100-$400 tickets over a five year period and too many 50% tips to count. But it doesn’t matter at all if I can’t get a job.

    I just want to work. I love what I do and want to stay in this industry. I would be happy to be the least qualified person in any place I work, so that I could keep learning and growing from people more skilled than me. But that isn’t the case.

    I am married with 3 kids and my wife is currently the breadwinner, despite my applying for over 150 positions that are all well below my skill level and having terrific references. I will keep applying for positions, each time with less information and candor, perhaps even with an immature and completely unskilled and inexperienced persona. If it comes to that. When I finally get work, I will try to just be thankful for work that will help support my family. I will not be critical of inefficient systems or inferior products. I will not focus on those with less experience, including my bosses, but will instead will focus on quietly working and excelling in everything I do for the good of the team and the restaurant. I will try to use what experience and skills I have to secretly raise the skill level of those around me with teamwork and a strong example. Hopefully I will once again have the opportunity to manage others, hiring the most qualified, skilled, and passionate people I can find (because I know my restaurant and my team will succeed that way and I’ll make money) and also look out for those who just want a chance to work hard and succeed. Hopefully I won’t have to be a drinking buddy with my boss to get the opportunity, but that’s another bridge to cross.

  94. My issue is this, I was out of work after being laid off for 8 months. The 55+ interviews became commonplace, sometimes 3 to 5 a week. Some weeks none. After the stress of the finances I took a position, out of stress. That was completely overqualified. Currently, I have 15+ years in Healthcare, in various roles. With a AA and BA to boot. My direct superior who hired me who knew this other co-workers have no college backround, they have made my life a living hell for 14 months. They all whined about not having a degree, I never once made a issue about it. I was never provided materials, to accurately perform my job. This company runs on a proprietary software Then they have no training manuals, reference documentation, or any guides to reference anything. From the start I was set up to fail. Now that I am gladly leaving. I asked all the right questions during the interview. Was lied to completely. My point is this there is good and bad in everything. How you approach the situatiion and what you provide to the companies bottom line. If you go in with the right attitude, it can be the good… In my case it was not and I will never do it again. I will not accept less if that means no Job, I’ll create my own.

  95. If I had a dollar for every interview that I was told that I was “overqualified” I wouldn’t have to worry about getting ajob. I left my well paying job to return to school and get not only my BA but a Master’s as well. Now that I have the credentials that I believed, and I was told that I needed to open doors for me, I find it has slammed them shut, and has made me “over qualified”.

  96. I recently started a govt job which was related but slightly different from my 20 years + experience. I thought it would be great to broaden my experence in a stable job environment. I fully understood I was over qualified but didn’t have a problem with it assuming I was working for other professionals. The problem became obvious is when I realized how inept the management here is. It is difficult to work for people when you can do their job better they do. It’s not hard to step down in position when you work for poeple you respect and they respect you.

  97. I recently interviewed for a Receptionist/File Clerk position with a company that wanted to fire the Receptionist they had. It seems the company had accrued a tremendous amount of government fines because they could not find the “filed” paperwork in a timely manner ( paperwork was consistantly mis-filed). The company wanted to “elevate” the position. I have 14 years experience as an Executive Assistant but no college degree.

    The company just notified me that I was over qualified for the position. They were afraid that I would become bored. What does this “over qualified” mean??? The job was 15 mins from my home, 8 to 5 hours (no more 24/7 on call), and their idea of business casual was jeans with a nice blouse. The salary was only 10k less than my last job. It would have been perfect. I really don’t understand this issue.

  98. Tell me all about too much experience AND age discrimination–and goodness help you if your a woman, 50, tanned and a size 4! You’ll never get hired! Let alone your what your qualifications are! It’s not about the job its about “If We like you”, thanks to all the psycho-babble babes in HR [former Hippies, guess they're all getting the last laugh...]. The Left is getting what they want–level the playing for for everyone; it’s taken a while but utopia is around the corner….Bitter? Ya think?? Hey, I love making $10/hr, NO benefits, with 20 years experience in accounting! We’re all saying the same thing here….

  99. Addendum- further more the ever shifting ‘Rules’ or ‘Do’s and Don’t’ for interviews, resume writing and surviving ‘office warfare’ in themselves are exhausting! Each day or week a ‘new trend’ on all the majore ‘employment’ websites. Good Grief! It’s enough to drive one mad!? This in itself reflects the manic state of the employment chase! I’m I wrong here or have I simply gone ‘around-the bend’?

  100. I’m in the same boat Chad. What employers don’t seem to understand is that I NEED a job to try to survive, but my education and experience make me an automatic dismissal for consideration. I am at my wit’s end!

  101. I find myself both over-qualified and under-qualified, depending on whether the employer wants a specific education/training or relevant experience. If someone applies for a position they are obviously “over qualified” for, they obviously have a need – be it income or a change of pace – and employers should not automatically dismiss these applicants.

    I don’t understand why employers think they have the right to tell applicants that they won’t be happy at a job, or assume the applicant will run off the first chance they get. If they cannot guarantee eternal employment with their company, they don’t have the right to expect it . . . especially during the hiring process!

  102. I have been out of work for one year now, and I don’t see any of the recovery that the government and the news keeps shoving down our throats. It hasn’t happened yet, and is actually another year off. I can survive on less now since I filed chapter 7 because I couldn’t pay those bills and keep a roof over my head. I am low maintence now.

  103. Just turned down a job offer in my small town. I quit another job 6 weeks ago that was paying half of my past salary.

    I am single with no kids and am still financially viable.

    I have unemployment benefits to cover my monthly debt repayment, some savings for another 2 months.

    I’m 43 years old and bored with secretarial work: the job I just turned down was 2 jobs rolled into one, including a bit of translating to save on translation costs.

    Their website in English is a joke and even includes sexual innuendo:their lack of qualified personnel is making them look ridiculous to the world. Too bad!

    People in my town have never left and do not understand my work or life experience. I don’t want my health to be ruined again by low paid, dispiriting work.

    I have always known that employment is the worse way to make money and achieve financial security, and this new economic deal reinforces my opinion that precarity is the tapestry our so called modern lives will be made of.

    I am very proactive and interview very well. I guess not being afraid is a good thing. I am thinking about going to another European country to at least have a challenge at starting over somewhere else, make new friends, see new faces…

    I have been lying through my teeth at interviews and on my resume, and it has paid off.
    Only once was I found out, and it was after I got the job, I quit that job, they were not going to fire me.

    I leave the low paying positions to the younger generation who lives at mom’s and pop’s and have no expenses.

    I wish there was a way to create a parallel economy where highly qualified, mature individual help one another.

    Good luck to you all. Don’t settle. Settling puts you in a mindset of fear and scarcity, which an employer will smell from miles away.
    Bypass HR and instead of rewriting your resume, get a makeover and look good.Sad, but true.

    Keep your loyalty and honesty to the ones you love, not to an employer.

  104. I’m another one. I am a certified Computer information systems manager and I have lost my job due to the economy. I have been out of work for 6 months. Target is even hesistant to higher me. So what that I’ve made good money in the past. I need to work! Moving back with parents the fail safe.

  105. My issue is that I am qualified for my engineering position, and I work with so many completely unqualified, without any formal training or education or experience. In that sense, I am overqualified.

  106. I lost my position as a recreational programming director after 5 years, and was unemployed for 10 weeks before accepting a position at my alma mater as a secretary. My position only requires a high school diploma or GED, but I’ve been managing projects that no highschool graduate could do. I make less than what I was making on unemployment, but at least I’m working. Of course, not all the benefits are in the paycheck; I am also currently taking full advantage of my benefit tuition and working toward my Masters.

  107. Chad I saw this add the other day…

    Position: Production Assistant Department: News
    Location: WOIO/WUAB OH – Cleveland Days/Hours: TBD
    Posted: 7/23/2010 Type: Full Time
    Details: WOIO-TV is seeking a full-time Production Assistant. Successful candidate will assist producers & directors of the various news broadcasts on WOIO/WUAB TV. Entering, recalling & proofing on-air font and still store graphics, being responsible for spelling and grammar. Assist producers, anchors and reporters in researching and writing stories for inclusion in the news broadcasts. Script ripping, sorting and dissemination. Teleprompter operation. Occasionally driving reporters to and from assignments. Other duties as assigned by news department management. This is an entry-level position. Applicants must have a desire to succeed in broadcast news. Must be an excellent speller, and computer literate. This job requires a valid driver’s license, good driving and proof of insurance. Please send resume to: WOIO-TV, 1717 E 12th Street, Cleveland, OH 44114. NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE. EOE-M/F/D/V
    Contact: Brian Sinclair

  108. I agree. I am in this situation now. The job I hold now is significantly beneath my skillset. But it is a job with decent benefits; so that is somewhat of a relief I guess. Essentially, it means that I work for much less than what I used to make (and am worth), doing something I did 23 years ago (fresh out of college)with not much hope for advancement. Simply stated, the career I worked and bled for is dead. End of discussion. I have 2 college degrees and a C-level IT management background. Today, I live in a double-wide trailer in poverty. Not the future I worked so hard for. And my current job is in danger as well because of the economy. Homelessness is next; I have no where left to go.

  109. Hi,

    I just got a job after 6 months of unemployment. It’s less than I made in my last three jobs, but I am happy to have it.

    My advice: write your resume and cover letter NOT to the job description so much, but rather as what you have brought to your former jobs (resume) and what you would bring to your new one (cover letter). Everyone has experience, so forget that. What have you done that has made a difference? What would you do that is different from all the other applicants? How did you contribute to the bottom line? How did you save time and money?

    Who would you hire: The person who has 20 years experience, or the person who made the delivery routes more efficient and saved the company time and money?

  110. Due to the economic downturn a lot of people have had to settle for less than what they are qualified for. The problem is businesses don’t want to hire someone who a. will act superior to their peers b. will ditch the place as soon as something better comes along. c. is living in the past. d. boasts all their qualifications but not anything that has to do with being good for that business.

    I think in a “dumbed down” job search it might be better to do a skill based resume. If you were a Manager at Burger King would you rather hire someone who works well with a team, quick yet precise, and knows how to handle stress or someone who boasts on their resume Masters at Harvard, Executive Manager of large Company? Yeah, the person applying can be an Ivy League graduate who ran a major store but if they boast that instead of their skills that may make them a good candidate for a cashier or burger flipper the resume will probably get tossed right out.
    Even so, it can still be hard. You can’t hide from your past. However, no matter how high of an education someone has or how high in their career field they went a humble attitude is something that should not be lost.

  111. I am grateful that my employer had given me a chance. The field i graduated in had 2 openings in the job market where i live and 15 graduating the same year i did. I ended up moving to another state to take a job making little to nothing and not gaining any experience where it would count. I finally moved back to the town i graduated in and found there was an opening in my employers office. I have since started a second job in my field because the 1st one doesn’t pay that well. So now i earn what i feel i am worth with 2 jobs instead of 1. I am also looking to start my own business in the near future but to keep from being in direct competition with my employers i will be looking outside this area to start it.

  112. I second that. I have been working 2 jobs for about 10 years now. I lost my first job of 14 1/2 years in Nov. 2009. I was in banking. My second jobs always consisted of Security Officer, Resturant Hostess, Roadside Assistance Counselor, etc. I generally worked about 70 hrs a week. When I lost my job I was only working 24hrs a week on my 2nd job. It felt good only working for 24hrs a week–4 6hr evenings. I spent more time with my children and parents. I even took my kids for a long weekend in London over 2010 springbreak, which had previously been reserved as my personal escape. I had been looking for a job well before the demise of my bank job and no one would hire me. So, I decided to cool down on the search to enjoy Christmas, New Years, spring break and a little of summer. Ultimately, I just got a security officer day job–40 hrs a week making far less than my previous day job. Now, I have to keep the 2nd job. I am just tired of working and school period. I have a degree and experience in many fields but I am 41 yrs old and am not going to spend my life in school.

  113. I was laid off in June of last year from the construction industry. Because I had a boss that used the money to fund his trips to see his latest fling in FL. I was on unemployment for 8 months. I finally got a job interview with a local healthcare firm. I should have ran when my instincts told me too. But I didn’t I accepted the job for crap money. Thinking this will be my only chance to go back to work. I now work for the most dysfunctional company in the state of KY. The people are neurotic, paranoid and dysfunctional. I have never worked in a place where bad behavior is rewarded. I was told after I was hired that if I would have been hired by the VP he would have warned me about this place. They are begging for people to hire for an AR position within the company and no one will apply due to the reputation of the company in the community. I was asked to take the position and refused due to the verbal, mental and emotional abuse that dept takes. Don’t get me wrong the verbal, mental and emotional abuse is spread around equally among all the employees that have not been here since the dawn of time. I am blessed to have a job. I know this. But it still doesn’t make getting up in the morning and coming to this place any easier.

  114. You are correct, but we as people have always lived with the fact that a company can let us go at any time for any reason. I live in Delaware and that is the law. So, employers need to live with fact that I as a person can decide to leave anytime.

  115. I took a job that I was overqualified for as well out of desparation bec. I thought my unemployment would run out. Now bored out of my mind, making 1/2 of what I was making (my company dissolved in 2008) and my home in foreclosure!

    Just got back from a two week vacation and I still have nothing to do….literally. I am taking classes but will not be completed until March 2011.

  116. In response to Mary’s comment: Another thing some companies don’t consider is when you have worked temporary jobs. They won’t count them even though that is where I have learned a great deal. There is still that old mentality out there if you work temporary positions you must be a loser of sorts. In my case, it was just that I wanted to have a say of when I wanted to work and when I wanted to take off and you know in reality you cannot do that with a permanent position.

  117. Mary, I too had employers used my previous experience running a business against me. In my case it was that they feared I would be insubordinate. I used to be in real estate. I also got the “the minute real estate comes back you are going to leave.” I got annoyed one day and told a guy “do you know where you are going to be in 5 years? ” he said yes “right here.” I told him seriously “If you find a better job you are going to take it. I am no different than anyone else.” I did went off on him, but since I already knew I wasn’t getting the job I didn’t care. I eventually found work and have been working in another field. It’s not what I want and I miss real estate and hope to eventually go back but still. Now a days they are discriminating against people for the dumbest things.

  118. I’ve worked for a temp agency for two years and had to dummy down my education and experience in telecomm. My pay as well; ive been layed off so many times its hard to grasp the concept of staying in a job. luckily i’ve been working the same job for 1 year and two months; because i’ve learned to be an idiot and aquire the street smarts to agree to everything. My Boss harasses me, but i put up with it for my three year old daughter. What the hell, i pray for my enemies. The company and the industry i work for is a revolving door and people leave (talented people) luckily, i’ve learned and have made character sacrifices, like developing stamina and not quitting on the spot. In one job, the old cfo was prone to dementia everytime he was stressed. I fired myself and walked out, my common law wife could not understand it. she has been working the same job 16 yrs, understand. I dont regret it, i’ll have my CPA soon, it’ll just push me over the edge of overqualified if this economy doesnt shape up soon.

  119. Corporations have always wanted deep resumes. We were told to go to college and we could be anything that we wanted to be. With deep resumes came steep pay. Corporations still live by that rule of thumb. Take McDonalds for and example, most of us made more than a manager and had more education. We have also been polished by the companies we used to work for and the lifestyle we used to lead. Now, do you think that the McDonalds manager is going to hire you for a cash register job? No, because he cant afford to pay you. Its not that McDonalds would be afraid that you would leave-they would have to pay you for what you are truly worth. Also, the manager may be intimidated by your age and stature. It might even be a bit harder to control you. You see, there would be teenagers and elderly coworkers around you. The fear is that you may want to reconfigure the soda machine or create a plan to make the drive thru ordering flow better. Shortly, you would tire of the incompetencies around you and would be asking for more to do or a better position.

  120. Hey Georgia Blues, its tough for us all. Most of us have not even began to talk about the financial problems that we have/are suffering. You have to keep your chin up and stay focused. Try to stay in the crazy game with us. I wish you luck

  121. I concur.

    Often I am told I am overqualified for the job or the opposite end of the spectrum “not enough experience”. Why would I want the job? [To keep from being homeless I feel like screaming, but don't.]

    They look at me then my resume’. Repeat. Repeat a few more times. I am ‘middle-aged’ 41 and often folks think I am 35 or 36. Apparently I am still too old due to experience OR I am not being truthful on my resume’. (Yes, I am truthful because lies will bite one on their keister.)

    My only other conclusion and this happened three days ago, the Manager/owner literally looked me up and down. His other employees are all boney-ass skinny. I am ‘hips and curves’.

    The job for this one was cashier at a gas station. I was told “not enough convenience store experience”. My response was “Well, when it does not work out with the other person…call me.”

    High school apparently did not count nor the years in management in restaurants. Did I mention I currently work as a CASHIER in a grocery store? It was the only job I could get and have been there nearly a year now part-time.

    The other thing used against me in interviews is “So you are in school?” Yes I am!

    For head-hunters OMG this is laughable. The ones who have called me for phone interviews, please!

    *They did not have my information handy, yet they called me.
    * Was told “We are looking for someone with at least 3 years experience in (field). I have 7. Well we are looking for someone with 5 years experience. Again, I have 7. Dingbat headhunter on the phone who called me, can not count! I cut the interview short with this particular one.
    * When applying for the job I am not needing to buy into a franchise.
    Case in point Aflac-Georgia
    I am called in for an appointment/interview. Long story short, the man was trying to sell his franchise to me. I was told I was interviewing for a Sales position. He had pulled my information from online where I had posted my resume’ for job searches.

    Frustrated

  122. This is nothing new to me. I have been OVER QUALIFIED since 1992. I have been fortunate to have held positions that may not have been as prestigeous, but it became fulfilling. Presently, I focus is “part-time” employment. As tremendously trimmed down as this is from making $50,000 ten years ago, I am hapy with my new direction.

  123. After 15 months on the unemployed train I finally landed a position at half my previous salary and only slightly better than the unemployment benefit. However, I am glad to be back at work. I am most definitely overqualified for my current position as I formally managed a team of people doing that which I now am doing. I have significant experience, a master’s degree, and many IT certifications under my belt, which means squat when you’re unemployed. I am not overqualified, I am MOST qualified. My current employer receives the benefit of ALL my capabilities. This is what I explained during my interview and lo-and-behold, it landed me a job. It’s all about the attitude you bring to the table. Will I move on? Perhaps, I will eventually move-on, but not for the time being. I am simply glad to be working again.

  124. I see alot of people not able to accept they need reinvent themselves. Sorry, that you worked so hard and reached so high in your lives. But, change is part of life…. Learn work with what you have, not with what you don’t.

  125. Sad but true, I have been unemployed longer than anyone here who has posted. :-(

    As I face my fifth year of executive unemployability, even now in 2010, short- & long-term solutions to heal the most vital areas of my shattered personal and professional senses of self, still elude me because the opportunities and fall-back options I once enjoyed are forever gone from these United States.

    Unlike most, I have never qualified to collect unemployment & will never qualify. Per the Feds, my current existence is below the national “abject poverty level.”

    In less than a decade, I went from upper middle class to below the lowest poverty level.

    There is nothing left in me to reinvent.

    Extreme disillusionment is all that remains.

    Homelessness &/or debtor’s prison = my grievous future…

  126. My current employer almost did not hire me due to me being “overqualified” for the position. Being qualified for a job I find to be a very gray area. Though a company may be able to describe details of a particular position in a job posting, they almost never include every possibility the position offers. My hiring manager overrode the HR representative who didn’t want to hire me, and now, almost two years later, I am working hard for a company I love. My abilities have allowed the company to push more responsibility onto my plate and I have essentially saved them the money of hiring another person. A company that thinks a candidate is overqualified should stop and think, “What great opportunities could this overqualified person potentially offer US?”

  127. Excellent advice, Ernest! (from May 18th) This is exactly what I tell my clients. I’m a job search coach and resume writer, and most of my clients are highly experienced with six-figure pasts. And many of them ask me to “dumb down” their resumes – and I strongly advise against doing that. Taking a job at half your past salary means there’s a good chance you’ll never make that much again.

    From the experience of my clients, many times it’s EASIER to get a higher paying job that you’re more qualified for, rather than a lower paying one you’re way overqualified for. And I don’t usually see age discrimination for my clients until age 58 or so. In fact, advanced age/advanced experience works in your FAVOR when applying for higher level positions.

    Since the higher level positions are usually not posted publicly, I recommend sending your resume with all of your impressive credentials to your target companies, whether you know if they have an opening or not. The response rate for this method is actually better than applying for jobs posted online. To determine your “target companies,” figure out what size company (annual revenue or # of people), the industry, and the geographic location you want to work in. Then start mailing and emailing. (Snail mail actually works better than email.)

  128. Talk out over qualified
    Since the 1970′s the Goverment has been moving manufacturing overseas
    I have tried to stay current with job skills.With the export of manufacturing
    we have lost a slew of highly technical positions. I am now seeing the airline pilots now going through the cutbacks The Net effect is that the pay has been stagnet, with the cost of living going up, and the tax burden being placed on the working class. Remember that wealth comes from the ground or is manufactured, with everything else being redistribution of wealth. There is a value placed on an item or service. This has to be turned around for the sake of the country. The Federal reserve (12 member Banks) got the goverment to bail them out with our Kids future income. What is comming down the road is not pretty

  129. If all of you people are “overqualified”, why don’t you set out and do it on your own? Start your own business. Stop complaining and do something about it. This is typical nonsense.

  130. I’ve just hit the fourteenth month of unemployment. During this period sporadic employment as a substitute teacher provided relief from boredom and kept the wolf from the door, but this is a hell of a way to live.

    I’ve read that this recession harbingers a new reality for those of us over fifty and that many of us may never again return to work in professions to which we’ve devoted our lives. This has led to applications for any type of work–panic prevails over pride. Sadly, many HR people don’t realize that this new reality has changed the rules; education, degrees, former positions are moot.

    I read an earlier post in which said that she had seen this situation coming based upon observations in India where well educated people are serving ice cream. This is the situation in many third world countries–I just never thought I would see it happen here.

    Our social contract is broken. There is something wrong when people who have followed the rules–studied hard, worked hard all their lives, and are willing to work– can’t find a job.

  131. yep overqualified is such a loosely used term

    i am having trouble getting an interview but when i do get a phone call they want to ask me what have i been doing since 2008 because that is what is left blank on my resume

    i then proceed to inform them i had a lung transplant and then there is silence on the other end and i have to laugh because i was only given two weeks to live and i am not stressed out on it

    i would like to do some work but can only make $1000 a month because of the disability and not get hit on it

    would like also to get gas mileage as well paid for

  132. I got laid off in 2008, and was out of work for almost a year. I was always being told I was “overqualified”. When I did finally get a job offer it was a third less than what I had made previously. I took the first job I could because I was trying to save my house and my family, but I ended up losing both.

    To make matters worse the company that hired me was run by a bunch of incompetents, and despite working hard and doing an “excellent job” and given lots of lip service, I was not actually valued or treated with any respect. With the economy being so bad the business had to cut back, and as they say “last hired, first fired”. So, after another 6 months unemployed I finally got another offer…making nearly 20% less than my previous job (for those of you still counting, that’s a 50% pay cut in less than two years).

    They say those tax cuts for the six figure salary guys really helped average Joe’s like me…yeah, it helped all right…helped me learn where my local unemployment office is, and how to live out of my car and look for work using computers at the library while missing my wife and kids…

  133. Pingback: Are You Underestimating Overqualified Workers? | The Hiring Site

  134. I have been unemployed for YEARS.!!! I am overqualified for everything I touch.
    Don’t say that… I have been working since I was a child. I went off to war at 17. I have NEVER Been unemployed in ALL my life till now. I frequently had 2-3 jobs.
    I have done it all from peeling potatoes to high tech. I am an ENGINEER with 20 years experience, I also have and MBA and A bunch of other degrees. It first started to happen in FL in Dec 2004. Having not recovered from the Dot com bust and recession of 2000-2002, 1 yr reprieve and into the worst depression, NOT recession in 70 years. It is unthinkable that I couldn’t find a job, especially to my family who have always lived in a time of plenty. They are used to just knocking on doors and getting a job right away. First I when I moved to FL in 98 you just floated your resume and you literally had to turn the phone off because so many jobs appeared. Now I was routinely sending out 300-400 resumes a day.. TODAY I can only find 1-2 job in my field and most jobs are FAKE. I answer them all, plugging away. I have WALKED most of south FL and knocked on doors for every job imaginable. NOTHING.
    BEYOND HORRIBLE… Everyone I know is either unemployed, losing or have lost houses, or moved away. Vast neighborhoods rotting away with houses falling apart in foreclosure, factories, and office building empty…. I am the only one left here in FL out of all my friends and I am leaving at the earliest.
    No one can pay me for the suffering and misery that I have experienced in last few years. Beyond words. I am sick of politicians of any side. Tired of
    being tired. I guarantee you that I will find a way to make them all suffer for this.

    • Yes, what they have done (the corporate CEOs who walked away with those golden parachutes) really needs to be paid for.

      You make a point also that i agree with, namely that things never really improved from the dot com bust in 1999/2000. 9-11 merely kicked it into high gear. And by 2007 when i finally recovered everything I lost in that bust, we are doing it all over again.

      That is why I am not spending a penny on any US based Fortune 500 Company. I bought nothing for Christmas except a couple of books (I don’t think those are made in China yet and those liberal egg heads don’t contribute to the Tea Party). The Same goes for Hollywood, even if their product is largely junk, they are at least against fascist takeover of US.

      If you can’t find a substitute made in the US or Europe, don’t buy it at all.

  135. As maddening as the current situation is please try to take some solace in the old maxim “this too shall pass.” Do you remember 1999? I certainly do. Back then employers were overpaying for help. With only 3 to 4% unemployment they had no choice. The first recession of the decade brought some of that down to earth. Then, a miracle occured. That miracle was the real estate bubble. Once again demand for everything (not just labor) started outstripping supply. It wasn’t as good as 1999 but demand for skilled employees (coupled with rising real estate prices and easy credit) gave almost anyone who wanted it the chance to have a McMansion with a plasma TV in every room and “his and hers” SUV’s.

    Today employers are scaling back to the point where one person does three jobs for a quarter less pay and are still worried about layoffs. Don’t worry, in a few years the old regime will return and once again employers will overpay and overhire.

    Perhaps the best thing to do it always think of yourself as an independent contractor? Do not maintain company loyalty as this loyalty will not be returned. Save in the good times and when times get rough use the savings to buy your own business and take market share from your last employer. That is (sort of) what I’m doing now and I don’t feel the least bit bad about it because they didn’t feel the least bit worried about me.

    • How do you figure that out when all the jobs are in India and China now? It is not the same as the last Great Depression. The factories never really disappeared. They just stopped working for about 10 years.

      I don’t see how EVERYONE can start their own business. How many dog walkers are really necessary? That’s a load of BS. Wal Mart has put all independent retailers out of business. And if you sell a service, you are just going to get ripped off. In my last full time job I saw countless independent contractors get into fights over pay. My boss blamed the contractor, when I blamed him for having completely unrealistic expectations and asking for the impossible.

      Starting your own business is bullshit.

      I do agree that loyalty to an employer should be a thing of the past. And if there is a way to take all their customers away, you should do it.

  136. Obama flipping burgers at McDonald’s would be the opposite situation you are in. He is underqualified to flip burgers. AND, he SHOULD lose his current job!!!!

  137. I was overqualified and underqualified the moment I graduated college with an MBA at 23. Needless to say, job-wise, I haven’t gotten very far. It’s been 3 years now.

    I’ve read many of the responses above. Some say employers are weeding out the old. I find this funny in the sense that many young people make that same argument but in terms of the young. Basically, that they are preventing the young from entering the workforce.

    So what are employers looking for if they are keeping out the young and kicking out the old?

    I have no idea. The in-betweeners I guess?

    Who knows!?!

    Employers don’t seem to have any ideas either.

    So I started a business. Wish I had a job paying a substantial income so I could finance the business…that would be nice. Then it could grow steady according to my vision.

    Oh well, back to writing resumes I go!

  138. I am over qualified draftsman with architechual skills. Amazing that after 9-11 things have changed drastically that I can barely stay afloat though I am going to become homeless because I can’t pay my bills or space rent and will lose my mobile home. Minimum wage jobs don’t cut the pie.

    I thought our new president was going to change things, apparently not! So people like me have to lose everything and our livelyhood for what., broken promises. Well lookout weeds here I come with my landscape tools.

  139. I was unemployed for awhile. My story mirrors some of yours. I left the military because, at the time, my wife and I thought if we bothed worked we could stay in a community that was good for our kids. I went from $48,000 a year and the best benefit package around to $10 an hour. And my wife got a $7 an hour job. Benefits became a faint memory!

    We both worked our way up and into decent pay for that community and she got fired 3 weeks before I got laid off. I had worked my way up to the “lofty” sum of $15.25 an hour and we crashed hard as far as finances went. We tried to stay in that community because we took such a large pay cut to do so and it was a great school system for our kids.

    From a little over a year ago, we have both looked for work and I also worked some side jobs that put food on the table but won’t ever make it onto my resume! Now, finally, after hitting as far bottom as we could with a forced move – finally (yes, the long story has apoint) I have a decent job again!

    Today was my first day! While I would love to have been hired with a larger salary, now at least I know I can earn that salary by loyal and effective service to this employer that was kind enough to hire me. And I know that as a salaried employee I will work more hours than I might want to at times, it will be much better than not working any hours as has been the case this past year.

    Yes, I have some nice qualifications and some great experience! I was a great catch for this employer! But instead of worrying about what I used to be, I am very happy to have the opportunity to work towards what I can grow into with this new employer. This past year has taught me to appreciate this opportunity and to build something positive out of all I have been through.

    Best of luck to those still out there and looking. I know what it is like and am so grateful to have found this position! Hang in there and keep fighting and you will find your opportunity. And as far as overqualified goes …. who cares?!? Get in the door and work your way back up the chain of command! You did it once and can do it again.

    I know I feel so much better just having the chance to work towards something again.

    • I have been underqualified for every job I have held since 1999. I know I have done a good job, but somehow there is never money for raises or promotion. I am not materialist (I never spent when I had money and I never had kids because and never got sucked into that house trap). Therefore, I always felt free to walk out when I got passed over or some such thing.

      Now I have been kicked to the curb once again at age 48. I didn’t believe it at first, but I have begun to see myself as retired.

      Thing is, I know I was a lot smarter than my co-workers and many of my supervisors. I don’t care whether you believe it or not.

  140. You should try St Louis MO, almost every job here requires a degree! Would you believe a job description for planting seeds in a green house (seed testing) requiring a B.A.?

  141. I agree with the previous comment, In regards to the 1999 bug. Employers were scared their computers would shut down, because of the two digit issue in some older software code. I remember being hired to check code thousands and thousands of lines. It was a good time then I was paid very well.

    That was until 04 when my company was bought out by an 800 pound gorilla. They laid off the entire company over 500 people. The severance was good, however it didn’t last. I have had jobs since then, but none in my field. Since 04 I’ve worked as a Restaurant server, Comp Lab assistant, Computer Operator, now a Production assistant and It took over eight months to find this job.
    So right now yes I’m extremely grateful to have it, I see opportunity here just waiting for the right time to pass my resume to the big boss. Having worked here I’ve created a good reputation. In addition it fills up space on my resume Since employers now have the nerve to say they won’t hire people who haven’t had a consistent job history, What!! Just stay encouraged I to hope things will get back to the way it was before, but at this point i don’t know. Unless America pushes for new industry like green jobs we will be here for awhile. Good luck to all and stay strong…

  142. What employers in the professional environment want is fragile-minded minions who will do their bidding at double the stress for less than half the price. I have been “underqualified” or “overqualified” for jobs since I graduated college 4 years ago. I have even been turned away when I went for positions that I didn’t train for, but was willing to adapt to. Positions that I did qualify for, I didn’t have enough experience for them despite doing an internship with the likes of NASA. The fear of someone taking their jobs or leaving their ranks for something better, which is a human basic instinct, stops employers. When the economy does turn around, there will be companies looking to hire anyone who will just meet the generic requirements for the sake of filling their vacancies. It is an employer-oriented job market out there right now, but when the tables turn, this will be the outcome.

  143. I’ve been job hunting with a Bachelor’s degree in the middle of getting my Master’s, and my greatest fear has always been that my degree would either become worthless or that I wouldn’t find a job in the field I worked so hard to learn about. But when it comes to paying the bills, there’s no “over-qualification”, I need a job. With few replies and no takers on my resumes, I have no doubt that the part-time min. wage jobs I’m fighting for are not calling back because of the degree.

    Are the unemployed the only ones aware that there’s a recession? Is it fair for an employer to reject someone who wants a job, any job, and will work hard on it, no matter the degree, simply because they don’t want to be out on the streets? It’s not like I’m going to ask for a raise because I have my B.S., we’re all well aware that we’re not in a strong negotiating position here.

  144. I see I am not alone. As was stated in many of the other posts it is a weak employer that will not hire the overqualified. Some of the jobs I have been sending out resumes to are union so it would not matter if you are over or under qualified you are paid a set rate for that job or skill set. I have been to some interviews only to find out later that the employer hired an inexperienced person. The job comes up again in about two weeks. Do I need to act like I just fell off the train during an interview or do I answer the questions to the best of my ability even if it makes the person interviewing me fill uncomfortable?

  145. I’ve been looking for full time work for 2 years. Laid off in 2005 and had a few contracted jobs but nonthing permanent. I’ve been substitute teaching, more on than off since 2005. I’ve a masters degreee and have worked since 16, so this has taken its tool on me psychologically. My partner has lost all interest in me and works more and more I think to not have to spend time with me. I wish I could get a job but I hear the same story–overqualified, underqualified (with experience), needing a 2nd language, or not in the fit (too old). It’s dishartening when the interviewer is young enough to be your child and they have the control over you getting a job. Count your blessings if you are working…

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  155. I worked for a company for four years and just got a raise, two weeks after my raise check , I walk into work and they say ( SORRY < BUT WE HAVE TO LET YOU GO. ) , That just got to me. I just shut my mouth and
    took it like a man.

    Now as a result of that lay off , I have been out of work for two years ,Nobody want to hire me because i'm over qualified !! , Also , I have no unemployment coming in to support my family
    they won't even give us food stamps. what is this state comming to. There gonna have a lot of problems on there hands in the next few years,everyone is gonna be out of work ,and the crime rate is gonna spike to an all time high ,If nothing is done on the governments part.

    It's a turning into the
    ( UNEMPLOYED STATES OF AMERICA )

    I just hope all this pain,and loss is worth iT in the long run.
    Thank you.
    Timothy

  156. I lost my job six months ago (seems like six years). Since that time I have been applying to jobs online, testing with temp agencies, going through job search workshops at the unemployment office and networking with other professionals. I have had a grand total of two interviews and been told that I’m overqualified for most jobs I apply for. Despite this I have enrolled in an online college course to get my BS in Accounting and hope that will help me get a job. I am very depressed but trying to cope as best I can. Looks like I’m in good company.

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  162. I’ve had trouble with many of my co-workers. Most aren’t friendly or particularly helpful. They sometimes go out of their way to sabotage my work efforts in a variety of ways. Some are rude and condescending toward me in front of visitors and people we routinely deal with. It’s uncomfortable for all of us and I won’t stay in the job much longer because of it. I’ve tried to address the problem but no longer care one way or the other because I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t shove my credentials in anyone’s face. They are the ones dealing with feelings of inadequacy and beating me up because my existence makes them feel bad. I just want out before someone targets me for an act that could ruin my chances of obtaining employment elsewhere. I didn’t take the job to make people feel rotten–especially myself. I just want a decent paycheck and not to end up outside in the cold but “overqualified.”

  163. Lost a job over 2 years ago and never found another one. Although my work history gap has been filled with “back to school” and recent certifications, no one is biting. My salary requirements are very flexible as money is not as important as re-establishing recent work experience.

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  171. I began working at the age of 28. After about 6 months I was let go. I have worked off and on but always seem to be let go after 3 months or so with no reasons given. I am a hard worker. I don’t slack or waste time. I even went back to school and that was a disaster. I am now 50. No one will hire me. I am about to lose my mind. I am tired of interviews where I sit there expected to impress the person interviewing me when they don’t care about my productive abilities. I am tired of phony offers to do work-at-home surveys. I am tired of being lied to and turned away because of whatever reason I am never told. I honestly believe that when one goes on an interview the interviewer gets immense pleasure turning away those who are there to do a job. I just want to be able to pay my bills and take care of my family like everyone else.

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  173. three degrees and cutting grass

    overqualified to pack boxes

    sick to death

    in a world designed to require money who doesnt need a job ?

  174. I lost my job from Sun Microsystems back in 2008. I was denied unemployment, and haven’t been able to find work since. I have 5 years management experience, and worked in music retail, selling instruments. Yet every job I apply for, I’m told that I’m overqualified. I’m at my wit’s end here. Just had a baby two months ago, and have using ebay and craigslist just to scrape by. I’ve closed ALL gaps on my resume, but I can’t catch a break. Yet, my drunken idiot cousin can bounce from job to job. Makes me wonder if I’m just too smart to be hired, or crazy as it sounds, I’m not female so nobody wants to give me a chance. Don’t know what to do anymore.

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  176. i was in the barber business for more than 17 years.i was very successfull in the business,owning 6 different locations in major shopping centers.i had 2 partners and our shops were very busy indeed.i mayed plenty of money from 1994-2010.eventually though,the economy took its toll(along with a divorce).and i found myself in dyer straigts.just 2 months ago i landed what i thought was a geat job at a beauty college working as a barber instructor.the job has been a nightmare.my students are 9 guys that are just a bunch of punks.i have not been able to perform my job properly because i am not familiar with some of the proceedures and the paper work alone is overwhelming.the guys i try to instruct are completely disrespectful and disgusting.they dont want to do anything but screw around and they treat me like i dont kno anything even though i have tremendous knowledge of the hair business and am also a top notch haircutter.the other instructors that work at the college have not anywhere near my experiences and knowledge in the business and yet they manage to conduct thier classes much better than me.this whole instructor thing is new to me and im struggling to make it.everyday i think i will be fired.now they put a girl in the class(one of the other instructors) to help me and she was only in the business for 5 years before they hired her
    she is trying to sometimes boss me around and frankly i resent it
    i have not yet met the challenge of this new job,yet at the same time,i feel like i have so much more expeience in the hair business than everyone else i work with.i did a flet top haircut on a maniquin head the other day and the students had nothing good to say about it.are they aware that ive done 5,000 flat tops and satisfied customers?.this is just to frustrating.no respect.

  177. ok so i am a cnc programmer/machinist i make half way decent money at my current job but after being a cnc programmer in the air conditioned office to being back on the shop floor kindda sucks but its a job. i make about 15k less than i did 3 years ago. the biggest problem i have is since i used to design tooling and program 3 4 and 5 axis milling machines i am now writing programs for simple stuff. yeah i am over qualified but i also am paying my bill for now once i see unemployment start to come back down i will go back to doing what i really want to do or open my own machine shop and make my own money. sad to say though once i open my own shop i will be just as cheap as my previous employers were i wont give raises no bonuses none of that hell i wouldnt even offer health insurance i guess i will just be another greedy business owner.

  178. hello, I have been collecting unemployment for about two months now after 9 years at my job as they went bankrupt, I started a new job but I am under qualified for this position and feel it is not a fit as I am lost an have no idea what I am doing half the time, and the position is better suited for someone with more expirience. If I quit because of this, will I be able to still receive UI benefits in MN?

  179. Three degrees, substantial experience in the private sector (graphic design and software training) and I still can’t find anything except sparse adjunct positions with no benefits or stability. I’m afraid that this recession will either have created a lost generation of highly trained and highly educated unemployed workers or a class of employed workers who have no mobility whatsoever.

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  181. My situation is a bit different. I chose to apply for a more junior position because I wanted to work closer to home and I have family members that I want spend time with. I am consciously choosing the seek roles that I can add value without the stress of a leader role. I feel the company really missed out on the opportunity to capitalize on my knowledge/skills and experience without paying me a fortune. Employers and HR rep’s need to be open to hearing WHY someone may want  a lesser position. Yea…. it’s a risk, but what DOESN’T involve risk?

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