6 Ways to Cope When You Are Overqualified For Your Job

Are you overqualified for your job?

No matter the reason why you are overqualified for your job right now...
When you are professionally overqualified there are many stressful issues to deal with.

When you are in this situation, you have a constant internal struggle and debate going on in your mind about your presence at that "specific" job. Questions for which you may not have immediate answers like, “What am I doing here and what am I doing with my life?" become a part of your daily thoughts. As you are grapple with these issues, you may even begin to question your worth, who you "really" are and the things you stand for in this life. 

The situation may become even more stressful when you encounter people who ask you what a talented and qualified person like yourself is doing at a "job" like that!  If you don't have a ready answer for them, you may find yourself becoming defensive and providing answers which may or may not be true: like, “I work here because of the money”, or "it's the economy" or "it’s only a temporary situation" and so forth.

Talk about self worth issues you don't need to be dealing with especially in times like these!

It truly can be confusing and emotionally taxing and self esteem thwarting!

The reason why you may be working at a job for which you are overqualified can’t be trivialized. 
These things happen to people all the time and they have to do what they have to do to make ends meet. 

So, as an overqualified person, how can you cope during this period, when you feel like you have been hit under the belt?

Six tips for coping when you are over qualified for a job:

1. Talk to your boss.

You may have to schmooze to do this. You have to do what you have to do to get where you want to be. Don’t be shy about telling your boss or any other significant person in your organization about your other professional qualifications and skills. Let them know that you would be interested in applying for more suitable positions within the company. Ask your boss to let you know about available openings. Inquire about the procedures existing employees can follow if they want to apply internally for vacant positions. Speak out…Mother Luck may just smile on you!

2. Prepare to mentally re-adjust.

Life is tough as it is and being professionally overqualified means that you have to have the right mental attitude to adjust to your situation.Mentally re-adjusting involves accepting your present position and planning how to deal with it. You have to be prepared to not only deal with being a direct report to a boss who may be less qualified than you but also how to adjust to a leaner paycheck and a bruised ego.

If you were once in management, you may have to get used to being managed, micro-managed or being yelled at by a bad boss who is too busy to hear your opinion. You may also have to trim your resume and down play your qualifications to suit your current job description. The ability to maintain a positive attitude will do so much for you in terms of preserving your sanity. It never hurt anyone to look on the bright side.

3. Find a more suitable job.

One good thing about being overqualified is that there are always other options available. Mount an aggressive job search, research your industry of interest, look at current job listings on the internet or in the classified section of your local newspaper and contact temporary employment agencies and recruiters that hire professionals.

Find out what employers are looking for and what you need to do to get an advantage over the rest of the job seekers in your field. In your spare time, work on learning any new skills you might need for the job you want.Network with people who can give you leads about job availability in the sectors that interest you. Update your resume and keep all your relevant job related documents ready. Don’t give up.

4. Don’t be afraid to start afresh or do something totally different.

It is sometimes easier to get a clear perspective of what you really want to do when life is not going as smoothly as you expect. Take time to search your soul and take an inventory of what matters most in your life. If you feel that you may have a better chance in another professional field, don’t be afraid to start anew. New beginnings can be a welcome relief especially if your current skills are standing in the way of better opportunities.

Think about using your skills or qualifications to start a business, or do something radically different. It’s never too late to start afresh. You can always re-invent or repackage yourself and find fulfillment. Be prepared to adjust your life to new experiences and other opportunities.

5. Join a professional association.

Volunteer or seek membership in a professional association that addresses issues in your field of expertise. This will keep you abreast of the latest developments in your field and keep you intellectually challenged. Making contributions to the association and being actively involved in its activities will give you a chance to indirectly pursue what you are qualified to do. It will also give you a chance to meet and network with stakeholders who may improve your chances of getting hired in your preferred field.

6. Consider it a learning experience.

There are many lessons to be learn from being professionally overqualified. Apart from acquiring new job skills, you may discover that you have strengths in other fields which you never knew you had. Sometimes it takes hardship for your best attributes to be revealed. If you just take the time to view things from another perspective, you will be surprised at what’s possible.



Caroline Jalango is a life strategist and motivational coach for women who want to do better for themselves. She is the author of "Settle for Less No More” and "You Deserve to Feel Good" motivational books for women who want to succeed. For more topics like this, visit to gain the momentum to do better for yourself and get the results you want! Go to to receive a free ebook to help you do better for yourself.

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