Why You Should Apply to That Job You THINK You’re Underqualified For

Maura Mann, Vice President
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applying for a job you think you're unqualified for

When you’re searching for a job and come across a post for something you’d love to do, you might find that you don’t fill the qualifications the hiring manager is looking for. Rather than being disappointed and moving on to other job postingsdoublecheck how many requirements you have and how you might fill the others. Unless the manager is looking for ten years’ experience and you have two years’ experience, odds are it’s worth your time to apply for the position.  

Here are some reasons why you should apply for a job you think you’re underqualified for.   

Most Candidates Don’t Fill All Qualifications 

Employers typically don’t expect candidates to fill every qualification listed in the job post. Many qualifications are nice to have and can be learned through on-the-job training. They’re often in a job post to give an idea of the role’s general level of seniority and weed out completely inappropriate candidates. Keep in mind that many people in their current jobs didn’t fill every criterion when they started. As long as you fill 80-90% of the qualifications and fit with company culture, go ahead and apply.  

You Have Transferrable Skills 

In many cases, your transferrable skills can make up for the qualifications you don’t have. Think about the knowledge, competences or experiences listed in the job post and what you bring to the table that may provide equal footing. For instance, although you may not have managed employees at work, perhaps you managed a team of volunteers through a charity you’re involved with. Or, there may be skills you can begin learning by taking an online course. See how you can showcase these skills and experiences in your cover letter or resume, so the hiring manager sees that you understand the role and what they’re seeking.  

You Might Know an Employee 

If you know someone who works for the company, they may be able to help you secure the role. Ask your connection whether they will introduce you to the hiring manager and provide a recommendation. If you don’t have a connection, see whether the hiring manager is speaking at a local event, then plan to attend and introduce yourself. Or, if the organization’s founder recently was featured in an article, reach out with a comment or question to see whether you can begin cultivating a relationship with them.  

You Have Notable Achievements 

If you’ve achieved significant success in other roles, you may be considered for the position. Being awarded a significant prize in your field, having distinguished military service, or recently selling your business can be used to your advantage. In most cases, hiring managers are more interested in your performance standards, professional certifications, achievements, upward career progression, and other success indicators than whether you have all the skills or experience mentioned in the job post.   

Find Your Next HR, Legal or Administrative Role 

Find your next HR, legal, or administrative role through The Nagler Group. We get to know your skills, experience, interests, and needs, then match you with clients who offer what you’re looking for. See which positions are open today.