Should You Apply Even If You’re Not Qualified?

A friend of mine recently left his position at our former company to start his own business. He has 15 years of excellent work experience, including 10 years of managing others, and an MBA.

His former job is now advertised online, and over the weekend I met a woman who had applied for it. This woman was unhappy with her current company and had noticed that my friend’s former position paid really well. Interestingly, she failed to notice much else about it.

I talked to this woman about the position opening at length, and was surprised to realize that she had barely read the job description before deciding to apply. She told me about her previous work experience, which was only vaguely related to the requirements of the advertised job. She was stunned when I told her that the position required managing a department of 10 people, and then it started to sink in that her lack of supervisory experience might hurt her chances of getting the job. She also mentioned that the opening had asked that applicants have knowledge of a specific online database system.

She then asked me the most surprising question of all: “Do you think they’re really serious about only hiring someone who has experience with that system?”

At this point, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for this woman. So I will offer you the same advice that I gave her. There are dozens of candidates applying for most open positions these days. Hiring managers will tell you that one of their main job duties is “shortlisting” these applications into a small pool of qualified applicants—in other words, disqualifying everyone they can in order to whittle the list down to only the best candidates for each job.

Many times, companies find themselves ruling out perfectly qualified candidates simply because they have too many from which to choose. With this in mind, please do yourself the favor of not applying for jobs if you’re just not qualified. Employers purposely write their job descriptions in order to attract candidates who are a good match.

If the ad says they’re looking for X, Y, and Z qualifications, I can guarantee you one thing: Yes, they really mean it!



About the Author: A nationally recognized resume expert, Jessica Hernandez is President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast and a former human resources manager and recruiter. With more than ten years’ experience directing hiring practices for Fortune 500 companies, she has developed innovative and proven resume development, and personal branding strategies to generate powerful results for clients. As a global resume authority and trusted media source, Jessica has been featured and quoted on,, Job Talk America radio, SmartBrief, International Business Times, and more. Jessica has her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications/Public Relations from the University of North Florida. Contact Jessica on Twitter!




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