Has anyone ever told you to always be on the lookout for a better job? Well, you are being told now. You never know when you will need a new job due to layoffs or finally have enough with the mediocrity of your current position or company. You may spend weeks, months, and even years looking for the right position or the “dream job” before you are able to find one worthy of applying to, better yet being offered the job.
Were you aware that it is okay to apply to jobs that you don’t perfectly match? Well, it is. Quite often the most desired jobs will have requirements like 5 plus years of experience and a list of specific experiences and skills to go along with them. The problem is that you only have four years of experience so what can you do? Don’t just give up on the job because of one requirement that you don’t meet.
If there is a company out there you are dying to work for or a specific position that you are aiming towards with any company in your industry, keeping your eyes open for the right opportunity never hurts. As a job seeker, you never know exactly what a company is looking for in a new employee, the company may not even fully know what they are looking for either. They set requirements of what their “dream” applicant would be and then decide based on the received applications which requirements are musts and which ones can be built upon. You never know what may come of an application you fill out. If you don’t have enough of the qualifications that they want, then they will just toss your application. If you do meet enough of their qualifications, then you will have the opportunity to prove in an interview why you are the best candidate.
That being said, there is no point applying for a job when you have no chance and would be wasting the employer’s time. You would also be wasting your own time if you consider how much time and effort goes into putting together a top quality application. Here are criteria to follow to understand when to apply for a job and when to pass.
- Of the listed skills, you match 80 percent of them.
You finally see an opening at your dream company that slightly resembles something you can do. Before getting too excited, take a moment to go over the required skills to ensure you match at least 80 percent of them. If you do not have at least 80 percent of the listed skills, then don’t waste your time or theirs.
- Of the listed skills, can you acquire those you don’t match quickly?
If there are some basic skills that you don’t have yet but would be easy enough to pick up, prove to the hiring manager that you could. The most important thing for them to see is that you can quickly learn new skills, not just that you have a bunch of skills. Saying you can acquire skills is one thing, actually being able to prove to them and show them that you can is what counts. The easiest skills to acquire will be ones that can be picked up from enrolling in a class or two. Now add those actions with examples from your past work history where you were able to quickly learn new skills.
- What else is holding you back from feeling like you qualify for the job?
If you have the minimum 80 percent or can easily and confidently acquire the additional skills but still don’t feel good about applying for the job then you need to find out what is holding you back. You need to feel like you deserve this job if you are going to be able to get out there and get it. Harboring feelings of inadequacy during an interview will show to those interviewing you. They will see someone who is not confident in their skills, which will translate into someone not qualified for the job. Do some deep searching of your inner feelings and fears to undercover why you are holding back from the job. Just remember that if you have the required skills or know how to get them, then you can tackle the job.
A fear of rejection can be even stronger when you want the job badly. Instead of being turned away, many find it easier to not put themselves out there to even try. The chance of landing that dream job you didn’t feel qualified enough for will be a huge confidence booster to propel you into the new job.
- What is motivating you to try for the job?
Tell yourself why you really want the job. Is it only because it is with the company you are itching to be a part of? Is the salary your primary motivation? Whatever the reason, make sure it is in the right place. Belief in your abilities to learn and adapt to a new position and you will be able to convince the hiring manager that you are the best candidate for them.
- The hiring manager is a person too.
An interview is an interesting event that can completely change their mind. The interviewers may go into the process with a good idea of who they plan to offer the position to only to have their minds changed during the interview. This is your chance to prove you are a great candidate through engaging and personable conversation. Show interest in the interviewer, the company, and their future goals to demonstrate your qualities as a selfless team player. The interviewer will take note of this when considering your application and your missing qualifications.
Even if you don’t get this job, you may make a great impression with the hiring manager and be considered for another position that is a better fit for your skills. You can use the list of requirements for the “dream job” to use as a guideline of what qualifications you need to achieve. If there are skills listed that can be acquired through some classes, then take them, or if you can gain the skills by volunteering with the right organization, then what are you waiting for?
See the following articles for more information:
- Find Your Calling: A Checklist
- Why You Should Change Jobs Every 3 to 5 Years
- 10 Tips for Getting a Raise at Work
- Your First Job Offer Considerations