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How To Apply For A Job You're Not 100% Qualified For

One of the biggest job search struggles is figuring out which jobs you should apply for. You have to look at the job description, the skill requirements, and the overall qualifications for the job, and then determine whether it's a viable employment opportunity for you or not.

It's often more difficult discerning which jobs you're qualified for (which you really have a shot at) than you think. So, how do you know if you're actually qualified for a job or not? Should you apply for jobs you're not 100% qualified for?


The short answer: Yes, you absolutely should.

Here's how to apply for a job when you're lacking some of the qualifications.

1. Use The 90% Rule

The first step to apply for a job you're not sure you are qualified for is determining whether you're qualified enough. This is where the 90% rule comes in to play.

After studying the job description, the list of qualifications, and the skill requirements, you should have a good idea of what the employment opportunity entails. Now, after looking at your resume, do you think you're qualified? If you have 90% of the skill requirements, you are qualified for that job and should apply for it.

When you apply for a job, it's always important to include all relevant skill sets, experience, and keywords on your resume, so it gets past the applicant tracking system (ATS). This is especially true when you only have 90% of the qualifications, since leaving out just one skill could prevent your resume from ever landing in the hands of the hiring manager.

Customize your resume for every job you apply for to avoid this mistake. This way, it'll make it easy for employers to see that you do have most of the qualifications and skill requirements for the position. Remember: 90% is the magic number. Any less, and you'd be wasting your time if you apply.

2. Close The Experience Gap

In order to close your experience gap, you need to offer the employer something else they won't find in most job candidates—and that's excitement for the job opportunity.

What you lack in experience you can make up with common connection. Convey to the potential employer your enthusiasm and excitement for the company's products, services, or mission. Explain what you respect and admire about the company. Even if you don't have some of the experience and qualifications the employer is looking for, you have the internal motivation and desire to work for their company.

In addition, this connection shows that you would be a great cultural fit within the company. Whatever skills you don't have, they can probably teach you. But employers know you can't teach cultural fit. This is where you would stand out among other candidates for the position.

A great way to establish that connection with an employer is to write a disruptive cover letter. Tell your story, convey your excitement, and land that interview!

3. Network Your Way Into The Company

Here at Work It Daily, we believe your network is your net worth. And the statistics agree. Over 80% of jobs are gotten via referral. So, receiving a job offer usually comes down to who you know.

If you're not 100% qualified for a job, your networking skills will play a big role in your ability to get an interview. Use your network to get introduced to someone who works at the company. Begin by reaching out to current employees of the company or friends who might happen to work there, and ask what it would take to stand out and get hired. Note you're not asking for the job. You're just asking for more information.

This strategy is extremely effective at opening doors with potential employers and getting your resume in the right hands.

When you have most of the qualifications and a great connection story explaining why you're passionate about a company, networking is the perfect final step. Next time you're debating whether to apply for a job or not, remember the 90% rule. Employers know there's no such thing as the perfect job candidate. But with these steps, you can be a great one.


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