Don’t Have the Qualifications? Don’t Apply


So you don’t have the degree the job posting requires, but you’re sure you have the right experience. Or maybe you’re not really that experienced with using SQL, but you’re sure you could learn before you began the job. You, job hunter, are the hiring manager’s worst nightmare: the unqualified applicant. Here’s what hiring managers are really thinking when they find out you’re not qualified.

We Specified _____ For a Reason

Whether it’s a degree in the field or a certain number of years of experience, job postings specify certain qualifications because, in 99.9% of cases, they are required for the job. It may be for policy or regulatory reasons, but most times, those qualifications are non-negotiable. Most times; sometimes a tiny amount of leeway is permissible. If you’re within weeks of completing the required degree, or have three years of management experience but not all three years in the field, contact the hiring manager about the qualifications to ask whether you should apply.

We Don’t Have Time to Train You

Sometimes hiring managers ask for certain qualifications or experience with specific tasks, software or machinery because they expect you to be ready to go to work with little or no on-the-job training. What that means for you is a trial by fire — if you bluff your way through the application and interview, then you’d better be able to learn in a matter of minutes. Otherwise, you’ll be over your head and out the door.

You’re Wasting Our Time

If you’re too honest to lie about your qualifications, but apply anyway, hiring managers will usually toss your resume without another thought. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t remember you as “the one who applied for the job he wasn’t qualified for” when a job you are qualified comes up. That may cost you an interview. And it’s worse if you lie, because no matter how good you are at creating a great resume or hedging about your qualifications in an interview, your lack of experience or education will almost always catch up with you. That may cost you a job and earn you a bad reputation in your industry.

Don’t apply for jobs you aren’t qualified for – get the qualifications! Finish that degree if need be, and in the meantime, look to Staffing Partners for temp and temp-to-hire jobs in your industry that can help you get the experience that hiring managers are seeking. It’s the best way to get your foot in the door; so what are you waiting for?


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