Job hunting can get hectic at times. Weeks upon weeks of applying for jobs can take a toll on you. Then you come across a job opening that you find perfect. It is an opening at the company you have wanted to work in. But wait, you find out that you are underqualified for the job!
What should you do in such a situation? Many people might advise you against applying for the job. But you can become a good candidate even when you are not qualified for the job.
How can you do that? We will talk about that and much more in this article. The way you write your CV (or resume) and cover letter is also important, and your preparation also comes into play. A lot of factors will combine to increase your chances.
We will talk about those factors in this article. But before that, let’s understand what underqualified is.
First, we will try and understand what underqualified means. Is there a difference between underqualified and unqualified? We will answer similar questions in this article. So, let’s get to it right away!
What Is Underqualified?
Every job opening has some requirements. These can be anything from skills to years of experience. Some of these requirements are necessary for candidates to have, and at the same time, some don’t carry the same weightage.
Say a job opening has ten requirements, and you lack most of them; you are unqualified for that job. But if you lack only a couple of requirements, you are underqualified.
In cases when you don’t have only a couple of skills, you can still apply. But you have to approach it differently. We will talk all about it and much more in the next section. But what happens if you don’t tick most of the boxes? Then you are unqualified for the job.
And if you lack most of the required skills, you should not apply for the job. It would be best if you first worked on acquiring those skills as fast as you could. But in this article, we will share tips to help you get a job you are underqualified for! So, let’s move on to them right away!
Tips To Get A Job When You’re Underqualified
Most people will tell you not to send your resume for jobs you are not qualified for. But as we said above, you can ignore them and move on. So, are you planning to apply for jobs you are underqualified for? Here are some tips to help you get those jobs!
Focus On What You Have
It sounds like motivational stuff you often come across, doesn’t it? You must have heard similar lines from motivational speakers on YouTube. But here, we mean it in a practical sense.
We are talking about approaching a career situation with the right attitude. After all, when you are not qualified for a job, you need a little bit extra.
Make sure you analyze your skillset and showcase skills that can help you in that job. Explain in the cover letter why your skills match the job requirements. You can convince the recruiters that your skillset is better suited for the job! But you will need good persuasion skills to do that.
Make a list of your skills and move on from there. Try writing down how your skills suit that job. It will also give you a bit more confidence in your skills! And it is always good to take a bit of confidence when you are at a slight disadvantage.
Show Them You Are A Quick Learner
Companies love employees who are quick to learn. Even if you are underqualified for a job, you can be a contender if you are a fast learner. You can also tell them how driven you are to work in the industry and give them reasons why you love the work.
You may also give them examples of your fast learning in previous jobs, and you may present job references that can attest to it. Make sure these examples are not too long. Try to be as clear and concise as possible when explaining anything.
There is a connection between motivation and fast learning. And you have to make the recruiters believe that you have both qualities!
Showcase Your Transferrable Skills
Some skills that you learn from a job, you can carry into another industry. These are known as transferrable skills. When applying for a job you are not qualified for, these skills can tilt the situation in your favor.
Say you have five years’ experience in customer service. It means that you are a good listener, and it also means that you have good problem-solving skills. Now, you are suited to every job that asks for these two skills.
So, make sure you make good use of these skills. Remember, transferrable skills alone are not enough. But they contribute to increasing your chances of getting a job you are not qualified for!
Say A Resounding “No” To Negative Language
Here, we are talking about the interview stage. The recruiters will know that you lack the qualifications by looking at your resume. Make sure you do not remind them.
You have to avoid phrases like “I have never done” or “I don’t know.” The worst is saying “I’m not qualified” about something.
When you are underqualified, it is already a challenging task to get that job. Replace all the negativity with positivity. Use phrases like “I’m willing to learn” and “I’ll love to explore.” You will see for yourself how these minor changes can help you!
Good Recommendations Can Make The Difference
Recommendations are always helpful when looking for a job. When it comes to recommendations, you need to opt for quality over quantity. Walking into an interview with a bunch of interviews won’t cut it.
Try asking your former manager for a recommendation letter. Remember, a manager’s recommendation will carry more weight.
Discuss the job position with your manager before she writes the recommendation letter. Tell them about the specific skills you need to get that job. It will also make it easier for them to write letters.
Be Honest About Your Skills And Experience
Now, don’t get us wrong with this one. You have to be honest about your skills and experience. It does not mean that you have to mention your lack of experience all the time.
All you need to do is avoid lying. Do not make efforts to prove somehow experience that you do not have. Remember, even when you are underqualified, you can get that job. As we said above, use positive language at all times.
Wear a confident smile on your face. And make sure you maintain composure even when your lack of qualification comes up!
Asking Questions Is Vital
When going through job requirements, we all end up getting a little confused. For example, you might ask what the recruiter means by “proficient” in something. What level of expertise are they expecting from candidates?
Make sure to ask the recruiters if you are not sure about anything. It would be best if you didn’t shy away from clearing up your queries. It can save you a lot of time and energy. You can also reassess the situation and make an informed decision.
Even during the interview, make sure you have plenty of good questions. They can help you stand out apart from other candidates. And when you are not qualified for a job, you should pounce at every opportunity to stand out.
Asking questions is also taken as a sign of your dedication to the job. And employers love to work with employees who have drive and passion. When you ask questions about the company, it is a sign that you have done some excellent research.
When you are underqualified, you have to portray yourself as a hard worker. It is a sure-shot way of getting that job!
Make That Dream Job Yours
As you grow as a professional, you must learn new skills. But for the time being, you don’t have to stop yourself from getting that dream job. Make sure to follow the steps we discussed above. Remember, it is all about being positive.
Right from the time when you write your cover letter, focus on what you have. Explain how the skills on your resume will suit the job. And if you get an interview, make sure you walk in with confidence.
After all, interviews give you an excellent opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Qualifications aside, employers are searching all the time for hard-working people. And if you can show how driven you are, that job is yours to take!
Also, you might beat a fellow candidate who is more qualified than you; who knows! Ignore the people who advise you not to apply for that job. Work hard, try to stand apart, and become a good candidate even when you are underqualified.
Christian has over ten years of experience in marketing agencies. Currently, he has been dedicating his time to a tech startup and also writing for major publications. He loves podcasts and reading to keep up with the latest trends in marketing.