Skip to content

Should You Apply for a Job that You are Underqualified For?

As you skim for job applications, you found a role that is close to your passion. Its roles and job scopes are basically your dream job. You can’t wait to press the ‘apply’ button.

Until you get to the requirements.

  • A high-level degree that is not related to your field, with at least 3.99 CGPA.
  • Minimum 20 years of experience in the role.
  • Have proficient knowledge in God-knows-how-many-obscure softwares that they use.
  • Speaks at least five languages with native level.

Okay, I might be exaggerating. But don’t tell me that’s not how it feels looking at all of the requirements, that you know for sure you won’t fit into all of them. The word is never there, but the requirements scream, “underqualified!”

One thing for sure, you have interest for it.

So do you click the apply button?

Well, consider these points in your decision-making.

4. Your interest and enthusiasm are as valuable as the requirements needed.

Yes, your interest alone cannot land a job. But your interest does indicate that you are passionate to learn whatever it takes to succeed in that job.

Remember that those who review our resumes, interview us, and make the ultimate hiring decision are all human beings. They also want to connect with other people who are capable, energetic, and personable. Thus, your innate optimism and commitment may be more valuable than your lack of expertise in certain skills, in which they can educate you later anyway.

My point is, expressing real excitement for the role despite lacking in prerequisites will have a stronger influence than satisfying all of the job requirements but is unmotivated and set in their ways. And of all that is possible, when you have genuine interest.

Take this opportunity to learn and apply storytelling methods. For example, talk about how your coworkers mock you for alphabetizing the books on your desk instead of simply writing that you’re an organized person in your cover letter.

3. Keep in mind that most job advertisements specify the “perfect” candidate.

Many of those almost impossible requirements are actually designed so that they can get as-close-as-possible-to-ideal candidates, fully knowing that the ideal, perfect candidate may not exist at all. So there’s nothing stopping them to consider you when you hit that ‘apply’ button.

What they do want to see is your skills, and how they connect to the job needs. So help them see. For example, in addition to your cover letter, draught a paper outlining your thoughts on the role’s primary problems and how you’d address them. Create a PowerPoint deck containing business-growth ideas that you’d bring to the role. This is how you can show exactly what you can do, demonstrating you can utilize your ready-skills well.

2. Bridge the gap.

As valid as the previous point is, you do need to do something to compensate your lack of skills. Yes, just because you aren’t an expert in a skill that a company is looking for does not imply you’ll be turned down right away. But proactively demonstrating that you’re interested in the job and prepared to learn new abilities is a terrific method to show employers that you’re serious about the position.

Firstly, know for sure what you’re getting yourself into. Yeah, you might have interest, but that does not mean you’ll magically know and do everything at ease. You’ll need to do a lot of research, with the goal of finding out as much information as possible about the role. Focus on the position’s major issues. Inquire about advice, insider tips, and interview questions to prepare for.

If the job description includes a long list of qualifications that you’re worried you don’t meet, break them down into other categories—knowledge, skills, and experiences—and think about what more you can bring to the table to help you compete. Perhaps you haven’t managed people at work, but you have managed a group of volunteers through a charity you support. Or perhaps there are certain things you can get started on right immediately, such as watching Excel tutorial videos on YouTube.


The final point. All bold, all in caps, because this is the most important point of all.

The frosting on the cake (i.e., your application), is an employee referral from someone who can attest to why you are worth to consider despite your lack of experience. Ask someone you know who works at the company, or who is a significant supplier or customer, to put in a good word for you. When everything else is equal, companies prefer to recruit someone with whom they have a long-standing relationship.

According to Jon Silber, CEO of Purple Squirrel (an online recruiting and networking marketplace), connections and referrals might sometimes be more important than fundamental employment criteria. Google discovered that college CGPAs were virtually completely unrelated to performance, thus raising the number of employees who had never attended college up to 14% percent for specific teams. Therefore, if a company like Google is ready to overlook a conventional minimum criterion like a college diploma, then you probably don’t have to worry too much on fulfilling every single requirement needed by your dream job.

If you don’t know anyone in the company, you can start networking right away. Utilize professional social medias such as (but not limited to) LinkedIn. Offline, check to see if the hiring manager will be presenting at a future event and plan to attend and introduce yourself.

Alternatively, if the company’s founder was recently featured in a newspaper article, send him or her an email with a query or comment to see if you can contact with him or her to begin creating a relationship.

Or working backwards, you can seek support from your existing network to make a referral for you. Consider who you ask for help – you want to choose someone who can write a great reference for you, full with examples and a strong endorsement.

There you have it, all the information necessary for you to consider. And I believe all of them point to only one answer.

So, what are you waiting for? Click on that ‘apply’ button now!

Leave a Reply