August 25, 2015

How To Get Your Dream Job When You’re Not Qualified

Imagine this… you’ve been scouring the job boards for weeks searching for the perfect job. Finally you find your dream job listing. The job title makes you smile. The description leaves you tingling with excitement. Then you read the job requirements… you’re not qualified.

Sports Team Number One Foam Hand Photo

You know the feeling. We all do. So how can you land your dream job when you’re not qualified? Is it acceptable to apply for job when you’re not qualified? What’s the best thing to do in this scenario?

Luckily, even if you’re under qualified for a job, you still have a chance to get hired, but there are a few things to consider.

  • Ask yourself if you can actually do the job. –  It’s a valid question. You don’t want to apply for a position where you’re destined for failure. If a company is looking for a coder that is a Ruby expert and you’re not sure what Ruby is, it’s probably not the best idea to apply. At the same time, if a job description is seeking someone who is CPR qualified and you did take CPR years ago, but let your certification lapse, you may still have a shot. The idea here is to use your judgement – do you actually have a shot at getting hired or not?
  • Utilize your transferable skills and experience. – You can always put a positive spin on your experience and skills. Use what you have done and adapt it to the job requirements. Think about what you can bring to the table to make up for your lack of qualifications.
  • Sell yourself. – Use the cover letter to show, not tell, the hiring manager why you can do the job and why you’re the best candidate. Between the cover letter and your job interview, you have to convince the recruiter why you are the right person for the job – even if you aren’t the perfect match.
  • The person who hires you may not be the same person who writes the job description. –  Yes, they will be familiar with the job listing, but a job description is really just the first filter in the job search. If you apply, and your application is a stretch a hiring manager may not know that. Use that to your advantage.
  • Reach out to your network. – Tap into your professional contacts and see if someone has an inside connection to the job. Maybe someone will vouch for you – that’s worth a lot in the job search. Life is all about who you know and where you meet them. (Hint: you need to network more!)

If you don’t apply for a job, you definitely will not get the job. That’s a fact. If you really want the job, apply for it. You’ll learn a lot going through the application process and maybe you’ll get lucky. Worst case scenario is you won’t get hired.

It’s very rare that employers ever find a candidate that is a mirror image of the job description. Instead they look for someone who has close skills who can do the job well. Almost everyone is either over qualified or under qualified. The key is to be the right person for the job.

Instead of getting discouraged during your job search, stay positive and apply for jobs. Head over to the JobMonkey JobCenter to find the right job listing for you. Best of luck!

About this Author 

Derek Lennon is a skier and writer who lives, works, and plays in the mountains. He travels the globe in search of snow and adventure. Life has allowed him to live and work all over the world doing cool jobs and loving every minute of it.

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