Does a PhD make you overqualified?


When I started my PhD I never even considered that it might make me ‘over-qualified’. I mean you can never be overdressed and overeducated right? Apparently while that is true for Oscar Wilde, it may not be true for PhD students.

I read an article on LinkedIn about this very issue the other day, and when I had a networking meeting with an academic market researcher, he too said the same thing. Is it possible? Is having a PhD really a negative thing? This is obviously a complex issue and there is no straight forward answer. If you are wanting to work in academia, then having a PhD is essential.

However, if you are like me and want to move into industry after your PhD (a decision I will discuss in another post), then yes having a PhD may not be beneficial. This is apparently due to companies prioritising work experience over degrees, and due to many people not understanding what PhD students actually do.

This is terrifying, frustrating, and something that I think needs more research to understand if there is truth behind this anecdotal evidence- spoken like a true PhD student I know!

For now, my current plan while I am applying for jobs is to focus on all the skills and experiences I have developed during my PhD; end to end research, human ethics, project management, communication, writing skills, data analysis, report writing, and the list goes on. When I first started writing a cover letter, I realised that my PhD experience has afforded me with a dynamic repertoire of skills that no other degree could have provided (and I mean, I learnt how to use the word afforded).

I have only sent out a few job applications and have not yet heard anything back so I will see if this tactic works… and write more blog posts on this issue.




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