Should I Still Apply to a Job If I Don’t Meet All the Requirements?

“How will I ever find a job – I don’t have the right skills and experience for any of these positions!”

Let’s face it: without graduating from law school and passing the bar, you’re not going to get hired as an attorney. But that doesn’t mean you should talk yourself out of applying to a job, just because you don’t match 5% of the requirements.

If you find a job that sounds great, but you’re slightly underqualified for it, take heart. With unemployment rates near historic lows, “perfectly qualified” candidates are in short supply. As a result, hiring managers are willing to consider less-experienced applicants who demonstrate high potential and are a good culture fit.

Don’t let a lack of confidence hold you back from applying for jobs you know you’d be great at. Instead, use these tips from PrideStaff to explain why you’re a great fit, even if you don’t meet 100% of the hiring requirements:

Quiet that nagging voice in your head.

When anxious thoughts like, “Nobody will ever hire me – I don’t have what it takes,” threaten to paralyze you, remind yourself of your strengths, your value and the fact that you only need one job offer. Your mindset influences your success in your job search, so stack the deck in your favor.

Identify where you fall short – and how you plan to fix it.

The best way to quell a recruiter’s concerns about your lack of experience is by addressing it directly:

  • Before you sit down to apply, determine where your experience and your ideal opportunity overlap to develop a list of skills that could carry over. Consider highly transferable skills such as communication, assertiveness, time/project management, problem-solving, listening and working well independently. Plan to feature these in your application and interview.
  • Identify skill or experience gaps. If, for example, you lack a specific software skill or experience in a specialized work environment, don’t be deterred. Brainstorm ways to bridge the gap, such as: taking an online training course; on-the-job training; or shadowing a more experienced employee. When an employer sees that you’re focused on overcoming obstacles, it demonstrates your desire for the opportunity and commitment to success (both of which are extremely desirable!).

Convey confidence.

 Even if your background or experience is not a perfect fit, lead with the reasons you’re a great candidate:

  • Customize your resume to highlight the alignment between you and the available role, focusing on the positive aspects of your candidacy.
  • Think of your cover letter as a “confidence letter.” It’s the perfect place to proactively explain how your transferable skills can be applied to close any gaps.
  • Be a little bold. Suggest an in-person meeting (i.e. a job interview) to provide additional evidence for your candidacy.

Need help bridging the gap between you and your dream job? 

Apply with PrideStaff. We understand how a job search can shake your confidence, and we’re here to provide the feedback, support and resources you need.  Contact the PrideStaff office in your area to find out more about great local job opportunities.