April 07, 2021 | 5 min read
Overqualified Or Underqualified? How To Evaluate Job Requirements Before Applying


Am I overqualified or underqualified? That is a question you should ask yourself before applying to a job, especially since your skills may not always 100% match up. On one hand, you may have the urge to apply to every desirable role you come across. However, that is time consuming and can water down your application efforts for the jobs that make the most sense for your skills. The truth is, the answer is not always as clear-cut as you’d like. So how do you gauge if an opportunity is worth your time?  Here are four tips for evaluating job requirements:

Feeling Underqualified?

Think about how many requirements you meet

Job requirements are set as guidelines, so not meeting all of them shouldn’t be a reason to call it quits on moving forward with an application. You may be feeling underqualified, but that doesn’t mean you’re unqualified. To ensure you aren’t completely missing the mark, you need to find a happy medium between meeting key requirements and being able to demonstrate potential for others. Key requirements are comprised of technical skills that are essential to performing the role, such as a certification or a dire skillset. These types of requirements will most likely be listed first in the job description. Ensure your skills match up with those before moving forward.

Identify stretch opportunities

If you begin to move further down the list and find requirements that are not in-line with your skills, write them down. Think about if you would be able to demonstrate potential for these in an interview. Do you have experience to show the interviewer you can perform the job? Would you be able to provide them with examples where you overcame a learning curve in a past role? If so, this could be a great stretch opportunity for professional growth!

In the end, ask yourself if you are meeting around 80% of the requirements or around 10% of the requirements. If it’s the latter, you should consider looking for a better fit.

Feeling Overqualified?

Think about the opportunity

If you find yourself meeting 100% of the job requirements and then some, you may be feeling overqualified. Being overqualified for a role can present its challenges if you are applying for the wrong reasons, such as to get by until you find something more in-line with your skills. For reasons like this, hiring managers may be reluctant to take on overqualified candidates for full-time roles because they are fearful the candidate may quickly become bored and decide to move on.

However, the job may be worth applying to if you are looking to change career paths, get your foot in the door at your dream company, or are presented with a unique career opportunity.  If you can be transparent about your goals and they make sense for the role, you should consider applying. Also remember, although you may feel overqualified, you may not actually be—so you should really look at all elements of the opportunity. It is also a best practice to avoid addressing being overqualified unless it is brought up by the hiring manager—you don’t want to come off as being arrogant or unappreciative of the opportunity.

Consider the type of position you are looking for

If you’re specifically considering contract work, feeling overqualified for the position shouldn’t hinder you from applying. Employers hiring contract workers are specifically looking for people who can hit the ground running with little training—giving you the opportunity to earn income, utilize your skills, and make an impact in a short amount of time. What’s more, being overqualified for a contract position could possibly lead to the opportunity for a full-time offer in another capacity at the company. Read Also: Should You Consider Temporary Employment? 5 Questions To Ask

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