Is it okay to apply to a position you are not entirely qualified for?

Employers are finally realizing that it’s nearly impossible to find the perfect candidate that checks all of their boxes. So what does this mean for job seekers?

The trick is to decide if you are almost qualified or hardly qualified. If it’s a position you are totally not qualified for in a completely different field, maybe there are other paths to explore first. However, if you’re just lacking a couple years of experience, it’s okay to still apply.

When applying to a position you are not 100% qualified for, get in a confident mindset and review the tips below.

Write a strong cover letter.

Although hiring managers are becoming more lenient on job requirements, a strong cover letter is still needed to support your situation to avoid getting passed over in the beginning stages. Instead of pointing out what qualifications you don’t have, focus on the important skills you do have and how those skills would help you succeed in the position.

Have an in.

If you know someone that works for the company, absolutely use it to your advantage. A recommendation from someone who already works at the company is a great way to be given a shot for a position you aren’t 100% qualified for.

Prove that you are trainable and a fast learner.

If you’re lacking some of the required experience, hiring managers need to know that you’re trainable and willing to learn. If you make it to the interview process, give real life examples of this. Mention a time you were quick to learn new technology or a time a past employer trusted you to take on a completely new role.

Have solid references.

Make sure your professional references will not only speak highly of your work ethic, but are also confident you are ready to take this leap in your career. Inform your references about the career move you are trying to make. If the hiring manager is on the fence, your references could help you land this opportunity.

Prepare for rejection.

Confidence is key in the job search process, but you should also prepare for the worst. Keep in mind that applying to this upper level position was a gamble in the first place. Don’t let it crush your spirits if you don’t get the position.

Hiring managers are starting to become more flexible. Instead of sticking to their strict checklist of what they think a candidate needs in a certain position, they are focusing more on finding high performers, quick learners, and the right culture fit. If you feel like you are more than capable of succeeding in a role you aren’t fully qualified for, go ahead and apply. You won’t know unless you try, and you never know what other doors will open for you in the process.