Landing the Dream Job: You're Probably More Qualified than You Think

Recently, during a conversation with a successful friend, I asked him his secret for landing his dream job. Not that he doesn’t have excellent credentials, but in comparison to many of his peers with similar credentials, his success certainly stands out.

His biggest piece of advice to me? Don’t sell yourself short. Even though you may not feel qualified for a position, apply anyway. Sometimes, companies are looking for much more in a candidate than a list of credentials; they’re usually looking for personality, reasoning, communication skills, and more.

I’ve often heard my peers complain that they’ve found the perfect job, but they don’t fit all the bulleted “requirements” in the application. Maybe you don’t have the 5+ years of experience listed or you come from a different industry. Before you write a position off, think about your other qualifications and qualities. Often, when an applicant comes across willing to learn, they’ll stand out more than an applicant who has the javascript or SQL knowledge already but isn’t eager to develop. Don’t write something off before you even try. Instead, think about other ways to make yourself shine.

Applying when you don’t feel qualified is easier said than done. From many conversations, I’ve gathered that people are often fearful of rejection and feel a sense of self-doubt. The more you want a particular job, the more rejection will hurt, so telling yourself you’re not fully qualified saves you from rejection. However, it also is a sure-bet way not to land your dream job.

Though it’s easy to feel self-doubt, don’t forget that hiring managers are not computers. The people looking at our resumes, interview us, and decide who to hire are human and have probably been in our shoes before. They’re looking to connect with other personable, excited, intelligent humans who can get the work done and who are also a pleasure to work with. The bottom line: don’t underestimate your soft skills and other qualities.

Often, hiring managers are looking for people who are willing to learn, not people who already know everything. Can you adapt and take on responsibilities? Make this clear in your interview, especially if you don’t have a particular skill the company is looking for already listed on your resume. Even though there are certainly jobs you may not be qualified for at all (for instance, engineering or computer science jobs with no background in these fields) don’t hold back if you feel like you could potentially be a great candidate. For more information, check out some of OpenSesame’s courses such as Interviewing for a Job, Career, or Promotion and Job Analysis and Job Descriptions. Just remember, even if you’re not a 100% match to the qualifications, don’t sell yourself short and apply anyway!