If you’ve been job-hunting for some time, you’ve come across a position that seemed attractive but had a few requirements that didn’t align with your skills and experiences. It’s easy just to shrug and move on to the next offer, but if the opportunity is perfectly aligned with your goals and passions, it might be worth a shot. Here’s some actionable advice to guide you when you’re aiming for a position whose requirements you don’t meet in full:
Go for it anyway
Sometimes, a job seeker might figure they have at least a puncher’s chance at landing a position. After all, skills and experience only form part of the equation. If you get as far as the interview stage, your personality and confidence can make a difference. But if you’re going down this route, you need to prepare and maximize your chances so that you don’t waste your time (or that of the hiring manager).
Research the position and the company in depth. Identify your relevant experience and transferable skills ahead of time. Go the extra mile and try to leverage your contacts to get a warm referral to someone within the company, preferably in the department you’re targeting.
None of these steps will guarantee that you land the job. Taken together, though, they will create a strong impression of someone who does their diligence and will be ready to handle the position (even if they don’t meet all the qualifications).
Address the gaps
Suppose you go for the job but don’t make it. This can be a realistic outcome. It’s natural to feel disappointed. The final question, though, is: How will you respond? This isn’t only about dealing with the rejection itself, though that certainly matters. A failed application can be an opportunity to learn and improve, but you need to process the information thoroughly.
Did you learn anything new about the company: its people, culture, and more? You’ll probably be aiming for a similar job down the line; addressing these gaps should become your next priority. Online courses can help you learn essential skills. Volunteer work or an internship will provide you with the opportunity to get some much-needed experience under your belt.
Climb the ladder
Taking a direct approach to landing your dream job isn’t the only route available. Just like how an FHA loan can help you buy a home even with a low credit score, you can ‘borrow’ some extra credibility by moving laterally first to get your foot in the door. Look at other openings within the same company whose requirements you fulfill. If you get in, you have a better shot as an insider with connections and cultural immersion.
Another roundabout approach is to follow the ‘Frank Sinatra principle’ to climb the career ladder. Find a company where your growth lends you greater credibility. If you can make it there, as Sinatra might sing, you’ll make it anywhere. You can thus put yourself in a better position to make the switch, move up one level, and do the job you’ve set your sights on all along.
You might be underqualified for a job and have low odds of landing the position, but taking these positive actions will help you recover from failure and keep pushing forward until you get there.