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This is What Happens When You Apply to Jobs You’re Not 100% Qualified For

After scrolling through dozens of career postings, you’ve come to the realization that, on paper, you’re not a good fit for any of these jobs. You’ve been constantly reminded that:

(1) You don’t have the 10 years of experience the job is asking for.

(2) There are no fancy three to five-letter certifications behind your name.

Specifically, Master of Business Administration (MBA), Project Management Professional (PMP) and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt (LSSGB). All are great to have if you already have them.

(3) No specialized experience to meet the job’s qualifications.

Why am I not good enough?!?

“Damn!” You say to yourself while clicking off the page. While heading to a new job posting page, you secretly hope to find something within your qualifications and experience.

No matter how many job postings you look at, you feel like you’ll never get your dream job. At times, this stops you from searching for new jobs all together.

(Advice: Don’t try to push your way through it, take a short break!)

I’m sure you’ve been here more times than you can count.

I’ve been here too!

Change the way you think to change your outcome.

I read over 500 job postings and sent in over 150 job applications in less than 18 months. I have to admit, I wasn’t going about my job search in the right way at the beginning of my search. At times, I’d take a look at the job posting and think, “I can do that…” and then apply.

What’s wrong with this approach?

I should have looked at job postings and thought, “I’d love to do that!” before applying.

After changing my mindset, I narrowed the focus of my job search. I applied to a smaller number of jobs in management and tailored my resume to each job. Once I made this change, I got more interviews, which resulted in multiple job offers.

Job posting requirements = Hiring manager’s wish list.

First, understand that a job posting is mostly a wish list for the employer.

How do I know?

I’ll tell you.

I’ve been the hiring manager for several positions in the defense industry. Some of them were a piece of cake to fill while others sat empty for several months (and counting). This was due to several reasons.

One of the most common reasons why jobs stay open in the defense industry is the painstaking clearance process, for obvious reasons. Sometimes the job is in an undesirable location and other times, there are too many over qualified people who are looking to get their foot in the door of a top tier company.

For instance, one of my employees retired in January 2017. She was a sweet person with many years of experience. When she left, I grossly underestimated how long it would take for me to back fill her position. This was a unique position because the job was in a remote area, human resources was going through a major revamp of their processes, the job requires a clearance and a degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM).

Since this position has been a pain the in ass to fill, as the hiring manager I had to take a hard look at the position. I had to define which requirements were nice to have vs. must haves.

Going through this process, I’ve mentally scratched a few items off my wish list. I’ve seen a few good candidates and I have the power to make concessions. I’ve been bouncing ideas off of my HR and leadership teams to make sure I’m staying within the company guidelines.

Why you should go for it.

Without a doubt, I’m not the only hiring manager with this issue. There are many managers who need a brilliant candidate like you as soon as possible.

Let me share a quick story. Back in 2015, I was an entry-level engineer. I took a chance and applied to jobs 1 level above me and got an offer. I took it. When I applied to jobs that were out of my league, I accelerated my career by more than 5-7 years.

After being in the job for 6 months, I applied to entry and senior level management positions. People often told me I was not ready for management and needed more experience. At the time, I had lots of non-management leadership experience and little formal management experience.

Despite the ups and downs, I stuck to it. As a result, I got 3 job offers. One of them was a mid-level management position in quality (my current position); one in manufacturing and the last position was a management position in Greece!

Don’t be mistaken. If a hiring manager chooses you without meeting all of the qualifications, it don’t mean they’ve lowered their standards. They’ve seen something in you that they absolutely love and believe you can help them solve their problems. Damn the requirements, they want you on the team!

What’s the worst that could happen?

The Bad:

  1. You might not get called for an interview.

The Good:

  1. You’ll get called for an interview.
  2. Be exposed to a new crowd and expand your network; even if you don’t get the job.
  3. You could be recommended for other jobs within the company.

Getting a new job is like winning the lottery. You can’t win it if you’re not in it. You’ll never be in the running for the position if you don’t apply. As you can see, the good definitely outweighs the bad.

Take my advice. Apply to jobs you’re not a 100% match for but would love to do. Then, sit back and watch wonderful things happen.

What jobs have you been missing out on because you didn’t think you were good enough? How can you change that behavior to start winning?

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