How to approach being overqualified for a new job

How to approach being overqualified for a new job

You have several years of experience in your field of work. You know the ropes and have considerable knowledge and skills from which you and others can draw upon. You know your craft and you just need a new environment to soar like you did in your previous positions. Maybe you had to change jobs because of a move. Perhaps your old place of employment laid off workers and you need to start over.

You might have been hired because your new employer appreciates your previous work experience, but you might not be sure how to incorporate your wisdom and know-how into a new work environment, with new coworkers. There is a way to change being labeled as “overqualified” to “experienced and knowledgeable.”

Five tips for starting a new job when you’re overqualified

Here are five things you can do when you are starting a new job and have a lot of previous work experience in the same field:

  1. Remember that you are at a new job

    Consider that the people who already work at your new place of employment are likely a little intimidated by you, as they know you’re experienced. Try to observe the first few days and make positive comments about your new daily operations. For example, “I like how you do this,” or “I never thought of it this way.” These sentiments will go far in reassuring your new coworkers that you are willing to be coachable, and it will also portray that you are eager to learn to your new management team. Being positive is always key.

  2. Be curious

    Be sure to ask your new coworkers how long they’ve been working at the job and ask them a little about their history. Try and portray that you are curious and genuinely interested in learning to do things the new company way, and getting to know a little about the people you’ll be working with. Regardless of your experience, it’s very important to let people know you are approachable and friendly.

  3. Be gracious

    Be gracious when you are in training. Even if you did the same job at your old place of employment, chances are that the protocol may be different at your new job. Try and learn without comparing the procedures of your old job. However, if you find that you think something may be more efficiently done, don’t be afraid to make suggestions and gain feedback. Do this delicately. It’s likely the management will not only appreciate your suggestion, but they probably hired you because they feel your expertise will lead to new ideas and more efficient ways of doing things.

  4. Ask questions

    Ask a lot of questions, and convey that even though you are well versed at your position you are willing to learn, and you want to be a team player.

  5. Smile and be positive

    Make sure that you have a very friendly outward attitude. This will make your new coworkers more comfortable, and they in turn will make you feel more comfortable. There is so much to be gained by being positive. Bring pictures of your family and put them on your desk. This makes you more ‘human’ and people will be drawn to ask you about your family. People relate to family, and they’ll be more likely to open up to you.

Five tips when starting a new job

Here is a list of five simple things to remember when starting a new job, regardless of your experience:

  1. Keep a list of procedures

    Keep a list of the procedures in place at your new job and compare them to things you would do at your old job. This may come in handy, especially when it’s time to make suggestions. You can list what works better and why, or why the new job has a better way of doing things.

  2. Be on time

    Regardless of your experience and the way you ‘came and went’ at your old job, you still must establish a reputation for being on time and demonstrating reliability. If you are a seasoned veteran, remember being on time should be a huge priority for you. You need to demonstrate that you respect your new company and that the same rules apply to you.

  3. Do the right thing

    If a coworker is struggling, give them a kind word. If you are a more seasoned employee, you should encourage those with less experience at the office. Teach them to cope, but use ideas that are suggested by your manager.

  4. Be extra cohesive and attentive during your first three months

    This is make or break time. This is the time your manager will decide whether or not you’re worth having around. You must do all you can to gain trust. It’s more than likely that after a certain amount of time you will gain a lot of autonomy. Don’t get frustrated by initial lack of autonomy. You will have to go through a period of earning trust before you can be completely autonomous, but it will come!

  5. Do extra

    If you are finished with an assigned task, do not wait around until you are assigned another. Show your new manager that you want to be busy and helpful all the time, and that you are there to work. Give your manager every indication that you want to keep your new job and that you are a leader.

The most important thing to remember whether you are starting a new job as a recent college graduate, or if you’re starting a new position as a seasoned veteran is to be positive at all times. Be sure to ask lots of questions because most managers like the fact that you are interested. The more interest and enthusiasm you show, the more you will be appreciated!