Underqualified…Should I Still Apply?

August 31st, 2012

The short answer, probably!

Imagine this: you’ve just found out that your dream company is hiring. Or that the position you’ve been working toward at your current company is opening up. But then you read the job description and realize you don’t have all of the qualifications listed. Should you apply anyway?

Many people will automatically be discouraged and give up. But it is important to step back and consider the situation. One, job descriptions are not always entirely accurate. The person who put it together might not have researched the position thoroughly or may have been using outdated information. Alternatively, the hiring manager might have based the description on the qualifications of the last person who held the job – someone who has more or different experience than you do.

Just because you may not fit the job description to a “t” doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t be considered. There’s something to be said for hands-on experience in the field and for personal skills. Maybe you don’t have quite the years of experience in a certain type of software or a particular role, but you may have something just as valuable on your resume. If previous managers have told you that you learn quickly—or even better, if you can give examples of times you did so on the job—you may be able to make a case for yourself.

Don’t assume employers will only consider those candidates with all the hard skills they list. If you can prove that you’re trainable, if your personality seems like a better fit for the department’s or company’s culture, you stand a good chance.

Too often, we fall into the trap of downplaying our true value to an employer. It might be because we don’t have the exact qualifications. 70 percent of Americans suffer from ‘impostor syndrome,’ which makes them feel that they’ve somehow ‘fooled’ others into thinking they’re better, smarter or more capable than they are.

“A lot of people will look at a list of job qualifications and even if they have eight of 10, they won’t apply,” says author and internationally known speaker Valerie Young, who has written extensively about impostor syndrome. “I used to work for a Fortune 500 company and have been on the other side of the interview desk. You don’t have to know how to do all of it. You just need to know 40 percent. The rest you can learn on the job.”

This is not to say that you should apply for any and every job. If your qualifications aren’t even close, don’t waste the hiring manager’s time—or your own. But if you think you can make a strong case for yourself, go for it! If you have questions about applying for a job, ask your recruiter! They are a valuable resource to you and help you meet your career goals and find a new job.

Finding a job can often be discouraging or confusing. Working with a recruiter can make your job search less complex and oftentimes they will be able to match you to the perfect job. Contact the recruiting experts at Synerfac today! We work with employees at all stages of their careers to help them land that dream job!

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