Sometimes you really want a particular job, even if you’re overqualified for it. Maybe the position offers a better work-life balance than your current, high-powered gig; or perhaps you want to work your way up the ladder in a different technology category. Whatever the case, you’re going to need to adjust your cover letter and résumé in order to convince a prospective employer that you won’t get bored and leave the position for a better one.
Use Your Cover Letter
Your prospective employer is concerned you’ll run out the door the second you find a position more suitable to your skills. If you make it to the interview stage, you can ease their concerns face-to-face—but unless your materials can convey your interest in sticking around, you’re never going to make it to that interview.
With that in mind, reserve some space in your cover letter to explain that you’re applying to this particular job because you feel passionate about the company’s mission, or because you’re interested in learning more about its processes or the technologies its employees use to create products. Your enthusiasm may help mitigate concerns that you’re overqualified.
List Only Relevant Skills
You may have tons of skills. If you don’t want to appear overqualified for a particular job, however, you’ll leave many of those off your résumé; instead, just list the ones relevant to the job at hand. That should help you get past the initial scan by recruiters and HR staffers.
Since you’re custom-tailoring your résumé and cover letter to each prospective position, you can do a little selective editing: Place relevant jobs at the top of the résumé, and downplay everything else by placing it near the bottom. While you shouldn’t delete your “main” degree (i.e., your bachelor’s or master’s), you can certainly leave off any irrelevant certifications or degrees if you feel they won’t help you make your case.
Whatever you do, don’t bend facts on your résumé or cover letter; the truth has a way of coming out anyway.