Should you apply for a job you’re not qualified for?

Should you apply for a job you’re not qualified for?

Everyone’s been in the situation of wanting to apply for a role that they have some qualifications for, but they might not meet all the criteria.  When do you know whether you should apply for a job, or search for something more suited to your skills and experience?  

Why you should apply

You’ve probably heard the statistics about the different approaches men and women take before applying for a role.  Many men are comfortable applying even though they might not meet all the criteria and women wait until they are (in some ways) over qualified (this is, of course, a generalisation, but there is a pattern to how both genders approach job seeking.  A study found that men apply for a job or promotion when they meet 60% of qualifications but women wait until they meet 100%.  The reason?  Confidence.  While everyone struggles to maintain confidence, women will let this stop them applying, while men will apply regardless.

Additionally, many Hiring Managers are looking for the right mix of soft skills in their candidates (qualities like problem solving, showing initiative, leadership skills and empathy).  Depending on the role, they might be looking for candidates that have the right soft skills, and be willing to train/upskill them with the required technical skills.

At any rate, applying for a job you’re not fully qualified for can be seen as a calculated risk, it seems like more people (particularly women) should be willing to take it – it might pay off and give you the opportunity to grow into your role.  Because, realistically, if you meet 100% of the criteria, how much can you learn from an exact-fit role?

Why you should stay in your lane

We recommend building relationships with Hiring Managers and recruiters throughout your career.  If you waste your time (and theirs) applying for roles that you are obviously unsuitable for, they may not take you seriously. If the gap in qualifications is too substantial, it could damage your credibility.

Recruitment experts emphasise the importance of aligning with the employer’s expectations. If a job description lists specific qualifications and experience, it’s an indication of what the employer finds necessary. Applying without meeting these requirements can create a negative impression and indicate you haven’t checked the job description.

Finding a middle ground

It’s possible to bridge the gap allowing job seekers to leverage opportunities without appearing overly ambitious.  This way you can demonstrate your passion and genuine interest in a role by writing a cover letter that focuses on your transferable skills that could benefit the role.  It’s also important to be honest – acknowledge what your gaps are and express your interest in learning.

If you would like to discuss the best strategy for applying for roles, speak to the Recruitment team at Flexi Personnel.