In short, maybe. It depends on the skill you lack and how quickly and easily you can obtain it. If you are considering applying for a position where you don’t quite have all of the listed requirements, be sure to carefully consider if this is truly a good opportunity for you. You never want to waste your own time, or the hiring managers, if the position is clearly not a good fit. However, there are some circumstances when it’s OK to apply if you’re underqualified. So how can you know the difference?
When you should not apply to a job that you’re not qualified for
To start, if you are lacking multiple requirements, it’s probably best to keep searching for an opportunity that is a better fit. Additionally, if the opportunity you are considering requires specific education, licensing, or certifications that you lack, applying for this opportunity is not a good fit until you are able to obtain those specific qualifications. However, if the qualification or qualifications you are lacking are very minor, then you may not want to write the opportunity off just yet.
When it’s OK to apply, even if you don’t have all the required skills
If the job requires a skill that you can quickly learn, then it may be fine to apply for the job. This could include soft skills, such as certain aspects of communication, organization or teamwork; certain computer programs, such as Microsoft Office; or other skills you can learn easily with a little online research and a few Web tutorials. If you decide to go this route, simply clarify in your cover letter that you don’t currently possess (fill in the blank) skill, but you are currently in the process of learning it. Remember that if you don’t have the skill, it’s important to provide an update about your learning process since a hiring manager may be looking for keywords within your paperwork.
Honesty is always the best policy
Yes, the job market can be competitive. But you can help improve the efficiency of your search when you seek out job roles that you are perfectly qualified for. If you do apply, it’s important to be honest with a potential employer, and give him or her the option of refusal. It’s also important to be honest with yourself—because you want to find a job that you’ll be happy with and successful at.
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