Should I still apply if I don’t meet all the job qualifications?

Yes, you should still apply even if you don’t meet all the job qualifications!

Here’s why: you might still be the best person for the job. Your first job is to convince them of that.

Job descriptions are a list of all the “wants” of an employer for a new hire. However, rarely do companies find employees who meet ALL the job qualifications in one neat package.

If there are any qualifications that are listed as “requirements” such as certain certifications, history of management, degree requirements, bi-lingual capabilities, etc. then you should carefully consider those. When it comes to certain certifications, sometimes employers will give a new hire a specific amount of time to obtain the required certs in the first few weeks or months on the job. It never hurts to ask.

If education is a definite requirement there may not be a way around that. Certain teaching and instructional jobs require particular degrees.

Tips for When You Don’t Meet all the Job Qualifications

Ok, so you’ve found a job opening you want to go after. You are certain you can do the job. Your past experience has set you up nicely to bring a lot to the table. There’s just one problem–you don’t match everything on the job qualifications list. Treat this like a challenge, not an obstacle.

#1 Research the Company

Research the company ahead of time. Find out as much as you can about the business, the job, the culture, and the people who work there. If you can, contact someone who currently works there and ask them about the business.

Related: How to Research Companies You Want to Work For

#2 Show you are a good fit

Hiring managers are trying to figure out if you will be a good fit for the job. They use your credentials from your resume and a job interview to assess your personality. So the interview is your chance to show them how your experience, personality and other fine attributes outshine any particular skill you may not possess. Keep in mind, you need to “show” not just “tell.”

Things to focus on:

  • Your ability to learn new things. Demonstrate a time when you had to learn a new process, software, tool, etc. Include how long it took you and how you learn.  If you helped your co-workers learn new things too, that is a great thing to show as well.
  • Your ability to actually do the work. Regardless of what the job qualifications or requirements are, it comes down to your ability to do the work. Demonstrate that. Show the interviewer this by explaining how you have done similar things in the past. Your dedication. Projects you worked on, etc.
  • Ask the hiring manager if they are worried about a particular qualification.  Address it first.  Based on his or her answer, you can counter their concerns by demonstrating your knowledge and experience with solid examples.
  • Offer to participate in a “working interview.” This will give you another chance to show how you will handle yourself on the job.
  • Suggest a trial period. By suggesting the company gives you a chance in a trial period, you are further showing your dedication and confidence that you can do the job.

#3 Other Ways You can Show Your Abilities

Based on the research you do of the company, prepare some good questions and have your answers ready. This could include:

  • Computers and Machines. If the job requires certain knowledge of computer programs or machine operation, offer to show what you know.
  • Customer interaction. If the job requires talking with customers ask for examples of situations you’d have to deal with and then show how you would handle it.
  • List processes and procedures. Ask about a specific job objective you will be required to achieve and then outline the steps you’d take to reach the goal.
  • Inquire about a particular problem. Ask if there are any issues or problems that need addressing and demonstrate your ability to find a solution. You don’t necessarily need to know exactly what the solution is, but show your ability to come up one. Outline the steps.

The Take Away

Don’t be deterred from applying for a job even if you don’t meet all the job qualifications. Your job is to show you can do the job anyway.

Missing a requirement or two is not a deal-breaker and most hiring managers will be very open to a candidate’s commitment to doing a good job.

Play to your strengths and demonstrate how you will improve upon your weaknesses. There is no such thing as the perfect candidate, but there will one who stands out. Make sure it is you!

Have you ever been hired despite not meeting all the job requirements? We’d love to hear your story!

Happy job hunting. We are here for you.

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