Should you apply for a job if you don’t meet the requirements?

We have all been there. You see your dream job being advertised but after reading the description and requirements, you realise you don’t quite match all the stated job requirements. So, what now? Do you just leave it, or do you take a chance?

The next time this happens to you, don’t discount applying in the first instance. Instead, assess whether the skills you lack are key requirements for the job – if not, do you possess the other required skills to ensure you can do the job successfully?

You’re probably wondering why should I bother applying for a job if I’m not the ‘perfect’ fit. Here are a few reasons why:

1. It’s unlikely that the employer is looking for an exact match

When any hiring manager is writing up the job description, they are thinking of their dream candidate. Therefore, it’s unlikely anyone will tick every single box perfectly.

The hiring manager will most likely be open-minded when reviewing applications, considering potential rather than looking for an exact match.

2. You can learn certain skills on the job

Be mindful that you are well able to learn some of the skills on the job spec that you don’t currently have. Applying for a job that you don’t have all the skills for is a great opportunity to upskill and grow. If you get to the interview stage, it’s important to showcase your eagerness to learn and grow within the company.

3. You can bring other qualities to the role

You can bring other unique and relevant skills that will differ from what the hiring manager was perhaps expecting. You may bring skills and experience to the role that provide a different, insightful viewpoint. Just because some of your skills are not mentioned on the job spec, doesn’t mean they aren’t relevant.

How to apply when you don’t have all the requirements

1. Demonstrate your willingness to learn

If you’re missing a particular skill or experience, ensure you’ve researched what you would need to do in order to overcome this gap. For example, maybe you’re skilled in Excel but not in Google Analytics, but you have already identified an online course that you could embark on to update your skills.

It’s important that you make it clear to the hiring manager that you are committed to your own professional development.

2. Use keywords from the job description

You may not have all the skills and expertise that are stated in the job description but try and make it as obvious as possible to the hiring manager how well matched you are to the role.

Mirroring the language used in the job description in your CV, supported by action verbs like ‘built’, ‘headed’ and ‘enhanced’, will draw attention to your relevant results and achievements.

3. Provide examples of your work

Back up your CV claims with real-life examples of your successes in previous roles to help the reader appreciate your potential, even if your existing skills don’t exactly match all the requirements listed in the job advertisement.

4. Demonstrate your passion for the industry and role

At the end of the day, you can acquire skills, but you can’t acquire enthusiasm. You’re either genuinely excited about a role, or you aren’t. And who knows, even if you don’t have all the required skills, the hiring manager may decide that your passion for the job or industry still makes it well worth considering you.

Do you listen to podcasts or attend webinars about the industry? Are you currently studying to upskill in the area? Make use of the cover letter to convey this information to illustrate your commitment and enthusiasm.

To conclude, next time you’re questioning whether to apply for a job that you don’t tick all the boxes for, take a step back and access what you can bring to the role. The worst thing that can happen is that you get a no. Isn’t it worth the chance?

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