Applying for your dream job, even when you don’t meet the qualifications

Applying for your dream job, even when your skills don't meet the qualifications

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Should you even consider pursuing your dream job when your qualifications don’t meet the employer’s standards? The answer is pretty obvious, YES you should!

A lot of us have been through this scenario, not only with our dream job, but even with just associate level jobs or some would call it as ‘fresh graduate jobs’. Despite being a ‘fresh graduate job’, an employer would sometimes require at least 5 years work experience in the related field. How in the world would a fresh graduate have 5 years of solid work experience when they spent a minimum of 4 years in college just to earn their degree? Ironic isn’t it?

But if you think about it, there’s going to be a very little chance that someone would perfectly match an employer’s exact qualifications. That’s the reason behind creating a shortlist of applicants. A shortlist is basically a list of potential candidates wherein their qualifications, skills and experience are spread into several people, no exact match here. Don’t be discouraged, go ahead and apply for that dream job, who knows you might make it on that short list.

If your still not convinced, here are of 5 tips on how you can make that shortlist, even when you are ‘not qualified’.


Tip #1 Show the employer that this is your dream job

If this is really your dream job, make a clear case that this is your dream job. Think of ways to show the recruiter that you have gained the necessary skills and experience for the role even if it was from a job or a project several years back. For example, demonstrate how you spear headed a project; and what knowledge and skills you’ve attained from that experience, how it is necessary for this dream job. This can make an employer question if they really need someone with the pure exact match of the job qualifications.


Tip #2 Highlight transferable skills, experience and qualifications

Think of your academic and work experience, think of what is relevant which can be transferred and applied to that dream job. If it falls short of the qualification, then show the employer that a combination of your other skills and qualifications are at least as good. For example, you have customer service skills acquired from working in a call center; and the company is hiring a Business Development Lead. This could be a skill that isn’t on their list but you do have and is relevant to this job.


Tip #3 Do your research

Always research deeply into the company and the job you are applying for. You need to show that you have a deep understanding of the job role, it’s challenges and why it is so important to the organization as a whole. Research on why you are the viable to be shortlisted, based on facts that you researched, show them why you are best fit for the role.

Don’t forget that the company might do research on you also. Employers won’t always admit it but a lot of them go beyond a candidate’s resume, they access external channels and also research on you as well. They might contact your references if you’ve provided some or even check out your online activities. Better make sure that the image you paint in your application is consistent with your references and your social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. (Read more about this topic here: )


Tip #4 Avoid Negativity

As we mentioned in Tip #1 to #3, you have to lay a strong foundation and make a clear case that this is your dream job and that you are best suited for this role. Avoid drawing attention to your shortcomings. You’ve already built yourself up on why you are viable to be shortlisted despite not qualifying with their standards, one sight of a negative thought can ruin everything and make an employer search for justification why they should drop your application into the ‘We’ll call you’ list of applicants.


Tip #5 Expand your network

Look deep into your network and take time to develop existing relationships and forge new ones. Step out of your comfort zone and talk to your friends, family or even classmates from high school. Take advantage of your instant messaging apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, who knows you might find someone who is connected to your future employer. Ask for help, talk to them and learn from them, understand how your dream jobs employer work.


Hopefully these tips will yield you good results. But you must always remember that there will be ups and downs during a job application and there’s no guarantee that you’ll get shortlisted. You also have to consider that there’s always going to be competition. So, when you’re down into the trenches, don’t let your failures get you even deeper. Failing an application for a dream job is worth the time you’ve invested applying for it. You have to pick yourself up and learn from your experience. Improve yourself and come up with more creative ways to get an edge over the competition. There will always be other opportunities around the corner. Build on opportunities that doesn’t work out and you’ll soon find yourself enjoying the spoils of victory – your dream job.

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