Whether you hate your job or not, at some point you’re going to get the urge to apply to a new job in the hope of advancing your career. It’s not an abnormal thought. The only way people ever advance their career is if they apply to positions that involve new responsibilities not required in their current position. Unless you’re looking to make a lateral move, it’s completely rational to apply for a job slightly out of your league.

Luckily for us, technology has advanced in such a way that applying to jobs is easier than ever. In the span of a few hours, we can search and apply to dozens of jobs. Although we have all these new positions at our finger tips, reading some of the job descriptions can be intimidating. It seems like every job posting is asking for years experience, even for entry level positions. Of course, if these postings are asking for 10+ years experience when you only have 1, you’re probably not going to get the job. However, if it asks for 5 years and you have 2 or 3, it’s still worth a shot. These job postings are so long and detailed that finding the perfect candidate is a delusion the management team hasn’t come to terms with yet. But they still need to fill the position, so they are definitely looking for some one that at least comes close or excels in some skills if not all.

Getting that job you’re not quite qualified for won’t be easy, but it’s certainly doable. Here’s some tips that can improve your chances of landing that dream job:


1. Don’t Lie

Everyone already knows you’re not totally qualified, so there’s no point in lying about it. Fibbing on one set of skills could tarnish the authenticity of all your other skills. Even if you could make up for a lack of skills in one sector, they’ll never believe you since you lied about one set of skills. The last thing you need is to ruin the interview and get yourself barred from other openings or even worse, actually leave your current paying job to start this position only to reveal you have no idea what you’re doing and end up unemployed. Take accountability in your shortcomings and use it as an opportunity to emphasize your strengths that do make you qualified.

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2. Double Down on Soft Skills

Sometimes, years experience utilizing a certain software or performing a particular skill aren’t all it takes to show you’re qualified. Often times, recruiters want to see that you have some soft skills that will allow you to catch up on areas where you’re not qualified, so even if you don’t have all skills today, you will be able to develop them in time. Take a look at your skills from a broad perspective to see if any of them are transferrable to compensate for the technical requirements they are seeking.

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3. Name Drop

When submitting your application or during an interview, try to work in some of the major companies you have worked with, either as a partner or as a client. If the company you are applying to also works with these companies in some capacity, it could help your resume stand out or make it easy for them to make a connection. Already being familiar with their client base also gives you experience that other candidates may not be able to provide.

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4. Do Your Research!

Candidates who have performed the duties of this position already have an advantage since they know exactly what the role will entail. That means that when applying to a new role slightly out of your league, you will need to do even more work to prepare for the interview. Do the due diligence in learning everything you can about the position, not just from the job description or what the recruiter has told you. Take advantage of Google and LinkedIn to find industry related articles or even reach out to people who already hold the position at other companies to get their input. Also, if you see there are skills listed in the job description that you don’t quite have yet, start studying those to get at least some exposure. It may be more time consuming on the front end, but I assure you no one has ever been unimpressed with someone who was over prepared.   

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5. Use Your Network

Technology may have made applying to jobs very easy, but that has also resulted in a massive pool of candidates applying to each job. This makes it even harder to get noticed for a job, especially if you’re not totally qualified. Reaching out to someone you know that already works at the company you are applying to can help you bypass that initial application process. A referral doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get the job, but it does significantly increase your chances of an interview, which is all you’ll need to prove your worth.

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6. Be Confident!

Many people who interview for positions they are not totally qualified for tend to suffer from what is referred to as “Imposter Syndrome”. This is the persistent fear of being exposed as an unqualified fraud despite having many impressive accomplishments. Just because you are missing a few skills does not give you the right to feel insecure about your qualifications. If you’ve made it to an interview, then there’s something the recruiters found valuable in your application. Know your worth and feel confident. After all, why would the hiring manager think you’re qualified if you don’t even believe it.

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The job application process can be stressful, and if you’re not totally qualified it can be terrifying. Don’t let that deter you. Understand your value and take a chance. The world is your oyster, you just have to go out and get it. Good Luck!


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Silent Riot