Forces Recruitment Solutions

Ex-Military Recruitment Specialists

Tel: 01353 645004

Am I Over Qualified?

If you find yourself applying for positions for which you have more than enough experience but are not getting interviews, it’s natural enough to ask yourself: ‘What am I doing wrong? Am I over qualified?’

On average for every application, the recruiter/employer spends around 20-30 seconds looking at the information submitted, so it is vital you convince them you are the right candidate for them and for that role.

How clearly are you explaining your reasons for applying? Put yourself in the position of the employer and think about potential concerns they may have. These might include:

• You have too much experience and may be using this as a stop-gap

• The hiring manager could feel threatened by your experience

• Your most recent experience may not reflect your more technical/hands-on skills

A common mistake many candidates make when applying for jobs is to use the same CV for every job, where it is evident they have got experience, but it isn’t necessarily tailored to that individual role.

The Chronological CV is the most popular. It will always highlight your most recent experience as it is presented in reverse chronological order. If you are applying to either a different industry, a different role or your experience is not evident in the last 5-10 years, this is not the CV to use.

A Functional CV allows you to focus the reader’s attention on the 4 key areas of the role you are applying for using subheadings. Underneath each subheading you can demonstrate examples of responsibilities and achievements that evidence that skill. At the end of the CV you will have a Career History summarising the name of company, job title and date. The information that is relevant to the job will already be demonstrated above in the relevant area or skill.

Your CV is about highlighting what you have done that is relevant. Focus on achievements and experience that match the level of the role. Use language that reflects the level of the role also.

Imagine you wanted to buy a car and you had in mind you wanted a Ford Fiesta. If the car dealer started telling you about BMWs after you had given them your brief, how would you feel? Ultimately this is the same with your CV.

Whilst your CV can be tailored and reformatted any employer will have a series of questions in their minds about your motivations for applying. A cover letter addressing these is a great way to tell your side of the story. You may want to consider adding a paragraph about your interest in the role:

  • “Due to a recent company restructure I have revaluated my career and wish to continue using my technical skills in….and feel this is a great opportunity to do that”
  • “As a motorcycle enthusiastic, I am keen to continue my career in an industry I feel passionate about and where I can also continue to use my experience in…”

Whilst you can tailor your CV as best as possible, think about other ways you can add value to your application. Always try to speak to the recruiter/hiring manager – once you have built a rapport it may generate a meeting or interview.

Read between the lines in the language of the job description. If they state ‘recently qualified’ or ‘training can be provided’ they may be implying they are looking for less experience. If they are looking for recent or 10 years’ experience in programming, they will want someone to hit the ground running.

Finally, if you feel you have more experience than required for a specific vacancy, you may want to speculatively approach the company to see what else they have to offer.

Further Information

The above comes courtesy of our friends at Renovo, the career and outplacement specialists. To learn more about the range of services offered by Renovo, visit their website:


Read more Advice articles here.




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