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June 6, 2011

The advantages of overqualified employees

Employees can benefit, too

Sarah Hathorn, CEO of Illustra Consulting and the creator of the Predictable Promotion System™ says overqualified employees should also look at their situation with a different perspective.

Underemployed employees are actually in a position of strength, not weakness, Hathorn says, and realizing that will help counteract common symptoms of underemployment such as boredom and depression, which can undermine performance.

“Being super qualified gives you the ability to learn things on the job that other’s don’t learn because they are too busy just getting the basic job description done,” Hathorn says. “Anyone in their ‘appropriate’ position will be exerting all their effort and time to meet their obligations.”

Overqualified employees, however, should be able to get the same amount done in less time.

Employees should “invest that time in learning new diverse aspects of the business, the organization, the job [their] boss does.” For example, an overqualified employee in a job that calls for Level 4 skills, but is qualified to be working at Level 5 or 6, should be training for a Level 7 or 8 position.

Hathorn says this kind of “value-adding” can empower employees. “Time is money and if you have time to invest in this way you are going to wind up sitting on a career nest egg in terms of your value.”

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