Here’s How You Can Apply for a Job You Are Not Qualified for

It sucks when you are not 100% qualified to apply for your dream job.

But does it really matter that you meet all the requirements stated in the job advertisement? The answer is no.

Do hear us out. While it’s true that qualified candidates stand more chances to land the job, there are other aspects that employers look for beyond technical skills. Thus, it’s how you present yourself on your resume or CV that matters.

In fact, it’s close to impossible for recruiters to find that one perfect match for every position they’re hiring for, given their Christmas-like wish list of job descriptions. Furthermore, if you can make up for what you lack with different values or skillsets, why not give it a go?

We’ve got some tips to help you apply for a job even if you’re under-qualified!

Understand the Job

You can literally apply for any job as you wish, but a mediocre application won’t get you anywhere. The same rule is applied to applying for a job that you are not 100% qualified for.

The first step to assessing your suitability for that job is to identify the must-have and nice-to-have skills or qualifications.

Let’s say the company is looking for someone with 10 years experience in any professional field and you’ve been working for only six years, it’s not a total shut down to the opportunity just yet. The length of employment doesn’t necessarily make anyone more mature or knowledgeable than others.

Here’s what it really means: the company is looking for someone with sufficient knowledge, skills, and strong business acumen that is equivalent to 10 years of working.

Therefore, demonstrate your competitiveness in a way that testifies your values to the hiring managers. Don’t be put off by the required years of work experience, focus on the word ‘experience’ itself.

Another example of a nice-to-have quality would be the paper qualification. In this day and age, not many employers are still relying on a college degree to determine a potential hire, unless it is essential for technical jobs. So do look for the phrase ‘equivalent experience’ in the list of requirements. Also, notice  words like ‘preferred’, ‘advantage’, or ‘encouraged to apply’, as they signify the criteria that are not mandatory.

Better yet, search for an online course that will help you prepare for the job. Professional training can be considered as a form of education too.

What’s next?

Read carefully what is expected of the role in the company. Even if the title is similar to your current or previous job, the responsibilities vary depending on the organisation. It’s acceptable to ‘fake it till you make it’ but do keep in mind a certain extent to which you should go. If the job requires extensive knowledge of say, Adobe Illustrator, and you only know the basic, just pass up the job opportunity. Imposter Syndrome is not something you should dive into.

Likewise, if you apply to a niche field that requires a professional license or certification (for example, ACCA for accountant jobs), you must possess the said requirement. Otherwise,you may want to obtain one if you are determined to pursue your dream career.


Can I do the Job?

Don’t let your passion misguide your talent. Many people approach their careers with the mantra ‘passion is the key to success’ without even assessing their capabilities. So once you have run through the job descriptions, try to visualise a day in a life of the person in the role and ask yourself: “Can I do the job?”

Just because you don’t meet certain criteria for the job, why not take the initiative to validate your own skills?

Let’s call this the pre-application process, whereby you can try to accomplish the tasks mentioned in the job ads.

For example, if the job involves running social media campaigns to drive sales, what you can do is to draft an actual proposal as if you already work in the team. Utilise your past experiences as well as research on the company to conceptualise your ideas and how to get results. Then, make sure to attach your ‘project’ along with the job application as a testament to your skills.

In case you haven’t already have one, do create a portfolio of your work achievements or endorsements, regardless of which industry you are in. Since a resume can only show so much, you need to take it beyond the conventional type in order to compete with those who are more qualified based on the job descriptions.

Here’s a sample email to send to the employer:

Dear [hiring manager],

My name is [your name] and I’m writing to express my interest in the position of [position name] in [company name]. Along with my resume, I include here a special presentation/project that I’ve conducted as part of the portfolio for this role.

With my extensive knowledge of [your expertise] and [number] years of working as a [job title], I believe that I’ll be able to bring valuable contributions to the team.

Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon!

Best regards,


Extra Tips to Prepare for Your Job Application

  •       In your resume, don’t forget to highlight the transferable skills, especially those that will benefit the applying position.
  •       Create a video resume presentation to make a strong impression on the hiring managers.
  •       Craft the perfect LinkedIn profile and invest your time in social networking in order to build a positive personal brand.

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