You don't think you qualify for that job? Go for it anyway.
5 simple strategies that give you the courage and confidence to click apply.
We’ve all been there. You stumble across the perfect job description. It's almost as if whoever wrote it read your mind and then used that as the inspiration to write the job post. You’re finally ready to apply for your dream job! But, wait. Scrolling through the job requirements, you realize you don’t meet all of the desired qualifications. You know you can do the job, but you already feel like an unworthy candidate. Why bother? Now it feels like you’re barely qualified to chew gum. You shut down your computer, crawl under your desk and whimper something about not wanting it anyway.
Do. Not. Do. This.
I’m here to tell you that you should be applying to that job anyway. Life is short – don’t let your fears set your limits. I did not meet ALL of the qualifications for the last position I applied for and I still got it. Take these 5 tips and go apply for that dream job.
1. Dust off that old resume
It’s time to get creative. You may not be an expert at the specific job you are applying for, but you have transferable skills that can add tremendous value. For example, maybe you don’t know how to build products, but you want to switch to product management. Go do some research about the market and about the clients. Make an effort to understand the skill sets regularly attributed to the position you want. Use that information. Rework your resume by honing in on the skills you already have. Find out which are most useful and pertinent to the job you want, and get updating. Also, have an idea of the skills you want to strengthen, having a clear development plan is productive and encouraged. Please do not position your development plan as a weakness. Let me give you a short example:
"Hi, my name is Angelica. I have worked in Sales and Business Development for 11+ years. I thoroughly enjoy client-facing roles and solving complex business challenges for clients. Over the years, I've grown a great interest in learning how the products I sell are created and managed. By having the client lens and market perspective, I believe I can add value as we look to build innovative products for the market. Hence, I am applying for a Product Management role. I would love to learn the end-to-end product development journey,"... etc.
Go for it! Let all of your past experiences SHINE!
2. Fill in the resume gaps
Learn everything you can. When I made the jump from Sales to Product Management, I did so because I wanted to fill a gap in my resume. I knew I loved Sales, and I was good at it, but I got to the point where I no longer felt challenged. I wanted to learn how to build the products I was selling. If you feel like you’ve plateaued, it might be a good sign that it’s time for something new. For some, that means a career change; for others, it means strengthening a different area of your expertise. Either way, it is okay to grow and challenge yourself. Honestly, the most challenging part for me wasn’t applying, it was working my way up a very steep learning curve. To fill in your resume gaps, sign up for some courses about your work! Attend a conference. Get a certificate. If you don’t have years of experience, you can still show that you're active and interested in the field on your resume.
3. LinkedIn Is Your Friend
There are so many people on LinkedIn doing the very job that you want to apply for. You’re probably 1 or 2 degrees separated from someone that would accept an invitation to talk about their career and point you in the right direction. The truth is, people, love talking about their accomplishments! Here is what you do:
Include a professional headshot on your LinkedIn profile.
Make sure your profile is up to date with your latest experience, skills, and any awards or publications.
Pick 1 or 2 people you would like to hear from and take the leap of faith. Send them a very concise message asking them to connect for an informational discussion.
Send thank-you notes for those who respond! It’s the right thing to do, and it goes a long way.
4. Invest in yourself
Elevation of any kind always requires an investment. When we apply to next level jobs, the learning curve can be steep, and the transition is real. Whether that investment is time, money, or both, investing in yourself will always come with a huge payoff. You can half read all the books and take all the courses for the padded resume, but if you’re not willing to do the work and put the time in, people will be able to tell, and it won't make any difference.
When I made a career switch from Media & Entertainment to Financial Services, I knew I needed a higher degree of education. I kept going to job interviews, making it to the final round, then losing the job to an MBA. Finally, I invested in myself and went to business school. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Did it help tremendously with my transition? Yes. Would I do it again? 100%. I love my new job. You’ll never regret investing in yourself.
5. Click Apply
Honestly, the worst that can happen is that you don’t get the job. The best is you landing your dream gig. You’ve heard it before, but I really want you to let this sink in, right now. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. I think the upside is worth the chance. You’re never really rejected. You’re simply being redirected to another path you’re supposed to be on. It’s time to shift your mindset from worst-case to the best-case scenario. So that’s it, go update that resume, have some well-meaning professionals take a look at it, and go click that apply button. And remember, if there is anyone worth taking a chance on, it’s YOU.
What is holding you back from applying? Tell us in the comments.