It’s yet another fine day and you are back on your desktop, with your freshly revised resume and a hot cup of coffee, ready to find the perfect job for you. You open 5 different job portals in 5 different tabs, search the profile you’ve been seeking and bam, there is a long list of you. Sorting through it, you land on an opportunity at a company you always liked and you probe further to find the details about the profile. Before you could even start dreaming about how you’d rock it at the company, you see the experience section of the job posting and it’s much above than your experience level. Dejected, you shut the system and go back to bed.
No, you don’t. It is indeed a difficult decision to decide which opportunities you should apply to. But just the fact that your resume does not match each and every tiny bit mentioned on the job description should not be a deterrent. Why? Well, because job descriptions and requirements are not set in stone.
A study by the global staffing firm, Robert Half revealed that 84% of the companies were open to hire and train someone who doesn’t meet the requirements for the position. Which is why the study also revealed that 3 out of every 4 candidates go ahead and apply for jobs they aren’t qualified for. Not just that, 62% of the employees were actually offered a job they didn’t match the skillset for.
You may be wondering why would a company do that. Well, the reason is threefold.
Why you should apply for a job you aren’t qualified for?
Job descriptions describe an ideal candidate
When a recruiter, department head or leaders draft the job description for a company. They go all out and draft how an ideal engineer for the position would be. They are well-aware that they would have to meet the candidate mid-way in reality. It is just their way of aiming high and scouting for the best. Exactly what you should be doing too.
Young companies prefer competency over experience
Startups and progressive young companies give lesser importance to the number of years next to your name in your resume or the number of softwares/skills you are listing down on paper. They know that any engineer will know basic programming skills. What they are looking for is you to have the right set of values. And so, problem-solving skills, adaptability and eagerness to learn are what they actually are focussed on. They are judging you on whether you are trainable and passionate enough to grow and help them grow.
With that said, you would be competing with engineers who may match the experience level they are looking for. And so, you have to stand out amongst them. Here’s how you can do that.
How to land a job you aren’t qualified for?
Show them you are competent
Well, that statement may sound vague but if you are able to convince your recruiter that you are competent enough to manage the job, you will get in. Competency becomes your USP while applying for jobs you aren’t qualified for. To do that, you need to share and showcase instances where you’ve been able to tackle issues similar to what the job will entail. Share a web-application you would have designed or a process you would have automated at your previous organisation. If you are a fresher, internship experience and the work you did there can become your showreel.
To add to that, just don’t copy keywords from job descriptions to make it sound like you know those things. Add things you actually have an idea about and have worked on. Mention specific projects and brands.
Leverage your soft skills
Let your confidence and desire to learn be evident to your recruiter. Now you’d be wondering how would you show that in your resume. Well, that’s what cover letters are for. Share the skills you have gained during internships or your previous jobs and the short span you took to learn newer things. Let your cover letter talk about how you’d like to work with the company and believe in their vision.
“At the end of the day, they can teach you a technical skillset, but it’s much harder to teach someone to have a positive attitude or be a team player,” says Vicki Salemi, a career expert from Monster. “These aspects are very important, so as a job seeker, you can highlight why you’re the right fit for the company.”
So, the key is to highlight your past achievements, transferrable skills and willingness to learn.
Network your way in
Employers often trust their referral system and prefer referred candidates. Referrals offer benefits like lower hirings cost, higher retention and faster hiring. And so, building connections within the company that can vouch for your competency and skills gives you an edge over the candidates. Not to mention the fact that when you apply to a job through an existing employee, you understand the company and the profile better and be better prepared for the interview. Hence, getting to at least the interview stage at jobs you aren’t qualified for becomes easier if you apply through a referral.
Work on the skill gap
If you think that there is a particular language or skill or software that is absolutely necessary for the job you are applying to or want to apply to, go ahead and start learning it. Let the recruiter know that you are so keen on the job that you are already preparing to ace it. That’ll definitely earn you brownie points and also make you competent for the profile.
In the end
It is all in the belief. Believe that there is no such thing as “jobs you aren’t qualified for”. Apply and let the recruiter decide that. There are a million stories of overachieving engineers and they got where they did simply because they had the nerve to try.
They did not let a job description define their future. Nor should you. Don’t be afraid to apply fearing you would be rejected. As James Cameron likes to put it, “If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.”