How To Increase Your Chances Of Getting Hired When You Are Underqualified

Elizabeth Witbeck

How To Increase Your Chances Of Getting Hired When You Are Underqualified

If you are fresh out of college, or are looking to make a career change, it can be especially difficult to find a new job. You might feel like you are unqualified for every job listing that you come across. Positions might state that they want somebody with at least 10 years of experience, a particular degree, and a list of certain certifications and skills.

That can be a blow to your self-esteem.

There are plenty of jobs available, even for people who don’t have a lengthy list of job experiences. You just need to be creative in how you present your application materials. You can show the manager that you are, in fact, perfectly qualified to handle the job being offered.

We discuss some of the ways you can present yourself as being highly qualified for the position.

Job Postings Are Manager Wish Lists

A lot of job seekers look at a job posting online or in the newspaper, look through the list of requirements, and immediately dismiss it, believing that they would never be able to do that job. Don’t be so quick to write yourself off.

When companies write the outlines for job positions, they are creating wish lists for themselves: what they really desire in a candidate. But they will consider candidates who may not meet all of these criteria, and may even end up hiring somebody who does not have specific experience they were looking for.

If you do not have one or two key skills that are mentioned on the job posting, feel free to apply for the job. You are still considered qualified for the position. Remember that the job listing is simply a list of things that the managers wishes a candidate would have, not a list of absolute needs.

Transferable Skills Matter

In every job experience, you will learn skills that will carry over to other situations. A few transferable skills include communication, time management, team work, listening, conflict resolution, and more. You will need these skills no matter what profession or industry you are in.

Even if you are not precisely qualified for your position, you still have skills needed to get the job done, because you have transferred them over from other jobs. Think about the positions you have held, and how your experiences will help in future roles.

Whether it is management, writing, or data analytics, your skills will be needed to help get the job done. Make sure to highlight in your cover letter a few ways that you have used these important soft skills, especially the ones that will be essential in the role you are seeking.

Include The Experiences You Do Have

Sometimes people assume that the only experience that matters is what they get paid for. This is not true. Anything can count as experience, whether it is volunteering, internships, extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, temporary and seasonal positions, education coursework, and more. If you have done it, it counts as experience.

Remember to list any experiences on your resume that are relevant to the position you are applying for.

With all of these jobs and activities, you gain insight into the field. With each additional experience, you show managers you are qualified for the position.

Write A Great Cover Letter

Your resume is a chronological listing of your key skills and experiences. Your cover letter, on the other hand, allows you to bring your career history to life in a story. You should use your cover letter to explain why you are the best qualified candidate for the position. Give detailed explanations of jobs you have had, and how you went above and beyond in your duties. Tell why you are applying to that specific company, that particular job position, and why you are passionate about this industry.

Leave no doubt in the manager’s mind that you should be hired into the position. A cover letter is your opportunity to showcase why you are interested in this position and what unique skills and strengths you would bring to the company.

Don’t Apologize

Many job candidates feel like they are wasting a person’s time by applying to a position, especially one they are not strongly qualified for. They might write in their cover letter sentences such as “I haven’t ever had a job like this, but…” “I hope you will give me an interview” or “Please give me a chance.” Your job as a candidate is to show the manager that you are a high quality person who they would love to hire. Begging them to interview you is not helping.

Do not include apologies in your cover letter, or act like you are bothering the manager. Instead, be sure to include reasons why you are a strong fit for the position.

It isn’t easy to search for an entry-level position or to switch careers. Be sure to use these tips to show managers that you still have the skills necessary to succeed in the job. Best of luck in your job search.

About The Author

Elizabeth Witbeck

Elizabeth Witbeck works as a college consultant and educational entrepreneur. She launched the first business in the United States that sends care packages to first generation college students, and also helps prospective college students on their applications. Her interests include education, poverty, and working with youth.

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