The Career Centre asked employers to answer yes or no to the following question:
Even though our question did not ask employers specifically about graduates with Masters degrees, it is clear that the majority of employers who responded would not hold the possession of an advanced degree against the applicant. Nevertheless, employer concerns may remain about your being overqualified even after you have been hired.
When to think about jobs you are overqualified for
- You currently lack the required experience for the kinds of jobs you want;
- There are no immediate openings in a company or organization you'd like to build a career with;
- You're in financial straits and need to earn some kind of living.
Challenging Employer Biases
Although the majority of the employers we polled said they would hire overqualified candidates, nearly a third said they would not.
A primary concern of such employers is your level of commitment. For example, what guarantees do they have that you won't jump at the first better offer only a few months (or even a few weeks) into your contract?
- First, be clear with yourself about your minimum length of commitment.
It probably isn't a fixed number, but will depend on the position you're considering. Research the length of time others in this position might typically be committed for. Try to find out the turnover rate for that position, or positions like it. Ask yourself whether this duration is reasonable for your own employment path and career goals. If it isn't, you may still want to negotiate with potential employers.
- Consider asking your potential employer about their ideas of a minimum commitment.
Ask your employer as early as possible so that your desire to eventually move on doesn't become an issue. During your interview, or even during a cold-call, phrase the question as positively as possible. For example: “How long does the average person typically stay in this position before moving on?”
- Don't lie; be as honest and forthright as possible.
If they expect an 18-month commitment and you are only prepared to stay for 6, you need to negotiate this. Point out the specific qualifications and competencies your advanced degree allows you to bring to the organization and the unique qualities you bring as an advanced degree holder.
Should I omit my advanced degree from my resume?
Sometimes when applying to entry-level positions there is the tempation to consider "dumbing down" or altogether removing the advance degree from your resume. While this might seem like a short-term solution, what happens if a position requiring your advanced degree opens up in the organization you've been hired into as an entry-level employee? Not only might your dishonesty affect your future employment with that organization, it might also jeopardize references you bring to future employment opportunities, making the experience an unfortunate and costly write-off.
Consider contacting the Career Centre to discuss the complexities of this situation before you come face to face with it.