Sure, the job market may be tough, but that’s no reason to compromise on your dream job! This is the year that we predict you’ll be making moves and crushing some big goals, after all. Whether you’ve recently taken a small step like learning six resume mistakes you should never make again or are toying with the idea making a career change, the University of Texas at Austin wants you to listen up. New research published in American Sociological Review finds that taking a job below your skill level can negatively impact your employment opportunities down the line.

Smiling businesswoman working on paperwork and laptop in the office.

So, why might you want to pause before settling for a gig you know is below your talent level? For the study, UT Austin researchers submitted nearly 2,500 fake job applications for real jobs across the US. Only five percent of the applicant pool (both men and women) who, according to their resumes, were working below their skill level, received a callback from employers. That’s about HALF the callback rate for workers in full-time jobs at their current skill level. Interesting to note: Less than five percent of men working part-time according to their resume received callbacks, while part-time employment revealed itself in the study to have no negative effect for women.

In addition to the phony resumes, UT Austin sociologist David Pedulla surveyed over 900 hiring managers to gain insight into their views on employment history. His findings revealed that employers believe that men who hold positions below their skill level both look less committed and less competent, while men in part-time jobs portray themselves as less committed. Meanwhile, women who worked below their skill level only appeared less competent, but not less committed.

“The study offers compelling evidence that taking a job below one’s skill level is quite penalizing, regardless of one’s gender. Additionally, part-time work severely hurts the job prospects of men,” Pedulla said in a press release. We’re not harping too much on what this means for guys working part-time, but it’s certainly giving us that kick in the heels. Rather than slink into an assistant position you’re overqualified for — or a position at a company you know you can’t really grow in — it’s better for your long-term career trajectory to keep reaching for the stars. Sure, that administrative position you know you’ll totally coast through may be enticing in the short-term, but it may hold you back from being considered for your dream job in the future.

Got a job hunting strategy you swear by? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photo via Getty)