When you’re job searching, it can be overwhelming. Reading description after description, looking for that “perfect fit.” But what if you stopped trying to fit yourself into a hypothetical mold? Instead, teach yourself to read between the lines of a job description to determine what’s most important. A popular saying in the career space is, “you should apply to roles even if you only meet ~80% of the requirements.” Keep reading to find out when (and how) you should apply for a job for which you are underqualified.
You Have All The Skills, But Not The Years Of Experience
Think about it, years of experience is just an arbitrary number. There is no hard and fast rule stating that the more years of experience you have, the better you will be at your job. Someone who has been in the field for only 1 or 2 years in a fast-paced role with a great mentor might be significantly more qualified than someone who has worked for 5 to 7 years for a mediocre company. So, focus on the skills you bring to the table and be sure to emphasize these in your cover letter or application email.
You’re A Fast Learner
If you tend you pick things up quickly, you can be a great underqualified candidate. Now, this doesn’t mean going from zero to 60. If you have absolutely no experience in a field or skillset, the learning curve is probably too steep. Instead, determine if you have parallel skills or minimal experience with a particular requirement. For example, maybe you’re well versed in Photoshop, but the position requires experience with InDesign. Because they are both Adobe products with similar infrastructure, you’ll probably be able to learn InDesign pretty quickly.
You Have Something Else To Bring To The Table
Just because you don’t meet 100% of the qualifications doesn’t mean that you can’t add value. If you can add value in other ways, apply away! Just be sure to convey that somewhere in your application so the recruiter or Hiring Manager doesn’t immediately count you out.
So, the general answer is yes; you should apply for a job for which you are underqualified. However, you do need to meet basic requirements (especially with so many companies utilizing ATS.) Companies are willing to look past hard and fast lines in order to find the best person for the job. Just be sure to make it clear that person is you!
If you are ready to put your skills and experience to the test, check out our job board! We have hundreds of exciting opportunities all across North America.