There’s a rush of emotions you feel when you find the perfect job listing. Then there’s another whole rush when you see that you’re not exactly qualified for the role. In these cases, it’s only natural to close the window and just assume you’ll never get it.
But that’s the wrong move. While some requirements are necessary, others aren’t so much—especially if you have a few other things going for you.
“Like what?” you may ask…
1. You Have Extensive Experience in the Company’s Industry, Even if You Don’t Have it in That Role
Before I started writing for a living, I never thought I’d be able to find a company willing to give me a shot. I’d never done anything more than an occasional freelance project for a friend, and I wasn’t sure how to get my foot in the door. That was until I learned about transferable and additive skills—the skills that make up for you being slightly under-qualified.
It turned out that my previous jobs actually made me a good fit for certain roles, even if it didn’t look that way at first. For example, even though I didn’t have a journalism degree, I landed this Muse gig because I did have experience as a recruiter, as well as an account manager in the recruitment space.
If you’re in this boat, you can highlight your own skills in your application by using this formula.
2. Your “Fun” Side Projects Are Relevant to the Job
Speaking of transferable skills, take another look at the listing you’re considering applying for. You might not have “professional” experience handling the responsibilities it calls for, but if something you do in your free time is relevant, you’re probably more equipped to do the job than you realize.
I’ve lost track of how many conversations I’ve had with people who have said, “I do this thing when I’m not at work that will never make me any money, but it sure is fun!”
Often times, it’s either a blog or a project that those people never think will see the light of day. But in a lot of those cases, those “fun” projects have actually ended up landing my friends jobs.
Plus, based on conversations I’ve had with recruiters in the past, these side projects often prove to be good indicators of someone’s potential success in a role. So they’re usually all about them when they see them on an application. (On that note, here’s how to include those on your resume.)
3. You Don’t Have All the Qualifications
No, you read that right. At the end of the day, you’re allowed to apply for roles that you’re not 100% qualified for. In fact, you should know that many hiring managers view job descriptions as wish lists.
So, before you dismiss yourself as a candidate for a gig, take a closer look at the listing. If you meet most of the qualifications and bring some additional skills to the role that they haven’t even considered, go ahead and apply.
Just make sure to tailor that resume and cover letter.
Applying for new positions is an exhausting process and it’s even tougher when you think you have no shot at landing your dream job. But many employers understand that the perfect candidate doesn’t exist—so they consider many other things to find the right person. The only way to find out where you stand for a role you’re not qualified for on paper? Take the leap and submit an application.
Photo of person job searching courtesy of PeopleImages/Getty Images.
Richard Moy is a Content Marketing Writer at Stack Overflow. He has spent the majority of his career in talent management, including a stint as a full-cycle recruiter and hiring manager. In addition to the career advice he contributes to The Muse, he also writes test prep and higher education marketing content for The Economist. Say hi on Twitter @rich_moy or follow his blog.More from this Author