Should You Accept A Job You're Over Qualified For?

I get this question a lot!

“Hey Erica, Should I accept a job that I am over qualified for?” My answer, well, It’s complicated! Sometimes I would say yes and sometimes no, but it ultimately depends on the specific situation. Here are a few examples.

You are unemployed - YES

If you have recently been laid off or fired from your job and getting a steady paycheck is top of your priority list, then I would say yes take that job offer even if you are over qualified for it.

There is something very unappealing about a gap in employment. Job hunting can become much more difficult if you’re currently unemployed. Go figure!

If you have lost your job and are only getting offers for things that you are more than qualified for I suggest you accept and start working again. From there you can continue your job hunt for something that you feel is a better fit. The only difference now is that you are more appealing in the market place, you are gaining skills and experiences and you have active references to pull from.

Who knows, this position you took, the one you’re over qualified for, may lead to a promotion fast or another opportunity in that organization. So I suggest when times are tough, and you are out of work, not to look a gift horse in the mouth!

You want to leave your current company for an elevated title - NO

So you have come to the conclusion that you want to move from let’s say a manager to a director and you are going to try your luck elsewhere. If this is why you are considering taking a position you are over qualified for I recommend you pass.

Switching gears and going somewhere else in the same role or a lower level position is not going to get you to the next level any quicker than staying where you are. In fact you are probably going to have to start all over at the new organization to prove you’re promotion material. This is not a bad thing in certain situations, but if your primary goal is to obtain a higher title, than accepting a job you are over qualified for could ultimately slow you down.

So here’s what to do instead...look for companies that have similar positions, but on a smaller scale. A director role in a huge fortune 500 company will look very different that a director role in a smaller more local or regional organization. Stepping into that expanded job title will be easier if you are already qualified for the role and if the role is the right match for your skills and experience.

This is how you have a win-win, you get the bigger title, while you take on the appropriate level of responsibility. Yes!

You want to leave your current company for a better company - YES

If your goal is to leave your organization for one that you deem as “better” then yes, I think it may be ok to accept a position that you are over qualified for. Sometimes people have a dream company or industry they want to work for and getting their foot in the door is the ultimate goal. If this is the case than taking a small step back may be a wise move to secure your future with the new organization.

In this scenario I would be careful to articulate your goals for the long term so that your new employer understands why you’re willing to take a step back and what you expect as you move forward.

You have an offer for more money - DEPENDS

This one is tricky! If your primary goal is to make more money and you’re offered a position making more but in a role that you’re over qualified for then perhaps you should take it!

Just be careful! More money is actually a short term goal. Will this job be what you are looking for in 1, 2 or even 5 years? Will you be able to grow with the company? Will the work be exciting and challenging enough for you?

Taking a job you are over qualified for more money may work for you sometimes, but other times it may be leading you down a dead end road. No amount of money is worth getting stuck somewhere and eventually having to explain to a prospective employer why you took a step back and stalled in your career.

Deciding whether to take a job you are over qualified for or not is a tough decision for sure! Whichever way you choose to go make sure you’re excited about the work you’re going to be doing and that it provides options for your future!

If you are facing tough career decisions like this one, I’m here to help! My only goal is to help you reach yours :)

Thanks for reading!