There’s no such thing as being too smart, too funny or too rich right? Yep, except when you are a job search candidate. When you are in the job search process, being really smart can often mean you are unemployed for a longer period of time.
It seem counter intuitive, the smarter you are the more accomplished you should be, therefore the more attractive you should be as a job search candidate. The problem is twofold, there are some mistakes smart people make as part of the job search process and there are some pre-conceived ideas that employers have about seemingly smart people.
Five Reasons Smart People Don’t Get Hired:
1. Employers See You As Over Qualified
Very smart people, much like highly accomplished people are often seen by employers as over qualified for the role. Over qualified candidates are a danger to employers because they often get bored with the role, challenge the status quo and the process and leave as soon as a better opportunity comes along. As you can imagine, it is time consuming and expensive to hire new staff so employers are very careful to look for candidates likely to stay.
Note: Ensure you are enthusiastic about the role and the company and be very clear about your short term and long term goals. Make sure you clearly explain what is is about the role and the company that excites you.
2. Employers May Be Threatened By You
Smart people are often perceived as a potential threat to their immediate boss. Your employer may feel you will make them look inadequate or that you may be promoted faster and more often than they will be.
Note: If the person interviewing you is your potential boss, be very careful not to make them feel intimidated or diminished by your accomplishments.
3. You Come Across As Bored And Not Interested
Sometimes smart job candidates do not do themselves any favors. They come across as bored or not particularity interested in the role which is a fast track to rejection. It may be because they already know all about the things being discussed or because the interviewer is an idiot, either way, looking bored will not help you one bit. No one wants to employ someone who isn’t excited about the prospect of working there.
Note: As per the advice to combat the perception of being over qualified, ensure you are enthusiastic about the role and the company even if you think the interviewer is an idiot. That idiot may be your next boss.
4. Your Resume & Personal Brand Are Drowning in Detail
Smart people are often also highly accomplished people and so their resume and online personal brand tend to be overloaded with information. This sends a clear message to employers that you struggle to get to the point and cannot present a succinct point of view. You need to de-clutter your resume and online brand before you embark on the job search process. It’s not good enough to be smart, you need to prove you have excellent written communication skills too.
Note: Remove excess words and details from your resume and online personal brand. Do not list every accomplishment, chose carefully and use bullet points to make the information easy to read.
5. You Don’t Sell Yourself & Your Achievements
Smart people tend to be quite humble in nature and let their achievements speak for themselves. This is a beautiful quality in life, but not so great when you are in the job search process. Even if it makes you uncomfortable, you need to see yourself when you are looking for a job.
Being smart, educated and accomplished is fantastic, but that does not mean you are guaranteed to get every job you apply for. There are many important components in the job search process that you need to nail to get a job offer. Take note of the issues above and adjust your resume, personal brand and the way you present yourself to potential employers so you look like the perfect job candidate.