Today’s job market is not easy to navigate, to put it mildly, and well qualified people are having to lower their expectations with regard to the type of jobs they end up taking. Someone might have been an accountant yesterday, but today they work as a bookkeeper – perhaps they were a lawyer yesterday, but have to consider a paralegal job today.
Although one might think that applying for a job for which they are clearly overqualified would give them a much better chance of getting the job, this may actually not be the case when employers are seeking very specific experience-based qualifications from the paralegals they hire.
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It is understandable that some employees would not want to employ someone who is overqualified for the post in question for a whole variety of reasons. The employer may believe that the person might leave as soon as they find something better, or the employer may think that the overqualified employee may not be motivated to do a role that they feel is beneath them. In addition, if the individual feels that they are superior to their peers, they may contribute to a bad atmosphere in the office causing resentment among other employees – and every employer wants a happy team.
A recent column published in an industry publication relates the story of one particular individual, who was a top law school graduate and decided to apply for a job as a paralegal given the lack of openings for attorneys at area law firms. Shockingly, he did not get the job. The rejection letter did not say that he did not get the job due to any of the reasons outlined above; it actually stated that he did not “meet the minimum requirements for the position.”
It is hard to understand how a fully qualified lawyer would not meet the minimum requirements for a paralegal position. This situation is an interesting reflection on the job market today, in which even someone who has spent time and money studying to be a lawyer may not meet specific requirements that law offices are looking for when seeking an experienced paralegal.