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Have you ever been told you’re "overqualified" for a job? Of course, you have. Anyone over the age of 40 will tell you that’s a code word for old.

So, what does conventional advice say to do? Remove the older jobs on your resume. Remove the years from your education. Slap a younger photo on your LinkedIn profile. You’re supposed to play all sorts of games to hide the fact that you are 50 something with 30+ years of experience.

All of this sounds great…until they interview you. You can hide your age all you want on a piece of paper or online, but you’re forgetting one little thing: they’ll figure it out when they meet you. If they are going to hire you, they’re going to have to meet you at some point. They’re going to know you’re old, my friend.

Luckily, there is a better way.

Whenever one of my clients has something that they’re worried about in their job search, whether it’s appearing overqualified or an employment gap, they think they have to avoid the issue. They have to dodge the question and hope no one notices, so they won't have to explain themselves.

This is wrong.

If you want to get a job, especially one that you actually want, you need to own your story. You need to be authentic and confident. And yes, you can do this and still get the job.

Here’s the biggest mistake people make: They wait for the interviewer to ask them about that gap on their resume, or why they are interested in a job they’re “overqualified" for. If you wait for them to bring it up, that’s completely reactive and giving up your power. It puts you on the defense. Have you ever been in an interview and felt like you were having to explain or defend yourself? You don’t have to.

Instead, do this: Be the one to bring the subject up, be it the fact that you are overqualified or something else. When you point out the elephant in the room (because they’re going to ask you anyway), you control the narrative. You show them that you have nothing to hide and you can steer the conversation.

Here’s what it might sound like…

“I might appear to have more experience than what you are looking for, but I was really drawn to this position because of my prior success in…[FILL IN THE BLANK WITH YOUR AWESOME VALUE.]”

I want you to bring the subject up and control the narrative. Put yourself in a position of power, not defensiveness. This may seem risky, but it’s not. The other approach is to hope and pray that they don’t notice your age (they will) and then try to overcome it when they do label you overqualified.

This tactic is already what the best salespeople do. If you were selling a product to a prospective customer, you would have done your research and you’d already know what their potential objections will be. (Or at least you should!) And rather than overcoming objections, wouldn’t you rather prevent them?

Now, that’s a game-changer. You already know what they’re going to say so you get one step ahead of them and solve it before it even comes up. Boom!


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