How to Get a Job You Might Not be Fully Qualified For

Illustration of a person holding up a large resume in front of their body with their face coming through a square frame cutout to signify their headshot on their resume to show their qualifications

It’s no secret that the job market is tough and highly competitive. With so many people vying for a limited number of jobs, it can be hard to get your foot in the door.

And when you do finally find a job that you’re interested in, it’s often difficult to know whether or not you’re qualified.

Applying for a job that you’re underqualified for can be daunting, but it’s not impossible.

So, if you see your dream job posted online but the job description gives you pause, know you’re not alone.

Should you apply if you’re underqualified?

The simple answer is: yes! While you may not have all of the experience or qualifications that the job posting is asking for, that doesn’t mean you’re not qualified for the job.

In fact, many employers are interested in hiring candidates who are a little underqualified because they know that these individuals have the potential to grow and learn new skills.

So, if you see a job posting that looks perfect for you but you’re not sure if you meet all of the qualifications, go ahead and apply.

The worst that could happen is that the employer says no. But if they do say yes, you’ll be in a position to step outside your comfort zone and grow professionally.

How to get a job when you’re underqualified

Understand the playing field if you feel underqualified for a role

When applying for a job it’s important to understand that almost no job candidate is going to match the job description perfectly and other job seekers will also likely apply even though they don’t fit every single facet of the job requirements. 

Employers base job descriptions on best-case-scenario and are really looking for individuals who fit most of what they are looking for.

They also understand that people can learn new skills and grow into a role.

Highlight your relevant skills to show you’re not underqualified for a job

Relevant experience and transferrable skills can help to offset your lack of experience in other facets of the job opportunity. 

Focus on what you bring to the table that other candidates might not and how the skills you do have will bring immediate value to the role.

Leverage your cover letter to explain why you’re qualified for the role

While cover letters may seem like an unnecessary formality, they can actually be a great opportunity to sell yourself to an employer.

Use your cover letter as an opportunity to explain why you’re the best candidate for the job, even if you don’t have all of the qualifications listed in the job posting.

Prepare for skill-based interview questions

These types of questions are designed to test your ability to think on your feet and problem-solve.

Preparing for these types of questions ahead of time will help you feel more confident during the interview so be sure to talk to the hiring manager or interviewer about how your skills and experience translate to the role throughout the interview process.

Continue learning new skills to improve your qualifications for a role

Employers want to see a demonstrated ability to learn new skills and grow professionally.

So, even if you don’t have all of the qualifications for the job you want, continue learning new skills, getting professional certifications, and expanding upon your current skill level.

This will not only make you a more attractive candidate but it will also help you feel more confident when applying for jobs in the future.

Showcase your growth mindset

A growth mindset is a belief that you can develop your skills and abilities with time, effort, and practice.

If you have a growth mindset, be sure to highlight this in your cover letter, resume, and during interviews.

By highlighting your willingness to learn and grow, you’ll be more likely to land a job even if you’re not the most qualified candidate.

Demonstrate your company culture alignment

Hiring managers want to know that a candidate will not only be a culture fit but a culture add to their team. 

Oftentimes, even if a job seeker doesn’t meet the minimum requirements where certain skills are involved, they will still be considered a qualified candidate if they can demonstrate that they’ll be a team player who can bring value to the overall team. 

Line up solid professional references to vouch for your qualifications

A great way to build your authority and garner trust with employers is to leverage your professional network.

A worthwhile prospective employer will value real-world examples of your strengths from references over a few qualifications that you might not have.

Be sure to line up at least three individuals who can speak to your skills and abilities in a professional capacity. 

Tackle the job interview with confidence

The best way to demonstrate that you’re the best candidate for a job, even if you don’t have all the qualifications, is to show up to the interview with confidence.

Be sure to prepare for your interviews by researching the company, practicing common interview questions, and being ready to speak to your desire and ability to have an immediate impact in the role.

Applying for a job you’re underqualified for

Feeling underqualified for a role can be daunting but by following these tips, you can increase your chances of landing the job you want.

By leveraging your cover letter, showcasing your company culture alignment, and being confident in your abilities, you can increase your chances of getting hired for a role you’re underqualified for on paper.

Don’t let a supposed lack of qualifications hold you back from applying for your dream job.

Looking for your next Tech, Creative, and Digital Marketing gig? Let us help. 

Every year, Mondo helps over 2,000 candidates find jobs they love.

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