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How to Apply for a Job when you dont meet the Requirements?

As an active job seeker, you would have come across a job title, salary or job description that you would have loved to apply for, but after reading the details, you felt that the requirements were different and you may not have had the relevant experience to apply.

Well there is a bit of work that you can do, since there are pros and cons to both sides.

But just as a guide, you may want to quickly make 2 columns one with what prompts you to apply and the other, that feels doubtful whether your CV will be suitable. List your points in each column and weigh them. Sometimes the cons may marginally outweigh the pros in which case there is still hope because, remember, we will never know for certain how the recruiter or hiring manager views your details.

In the event the cons are huge you may want to not waste your time since this may come across to the recruiter or hiring manager as

  • You have not read or not understood the requirements and applying for all and any job.

  • You are desperate for a job.

Below are 5 tips you can use to still apply when cons outweigh the pros.

Chose Your Transferable Skills

If, for example, senior-management experience is required, but you have managed a small or medium team at a managerial level only, consider including years of such experience, projects and project values, territories that can relate to a wider spread of your role. Someone stepping into a senior managerial role is an option forth hiring manager to consider since it is progressive and will definitely be viewed positively. It is not about a job title, but about the achievements, job description and skills.

Learning and Skills Ability

Maybe the job description requires someone with 3 year of advanced excel skills (as an example) and assuming that you have been at basic or intermediate excel level only, then indicate how you learnt excel quickly to grow into that intermediate level and the extra hours you will put in (without disturbing your working hours) or join an advanced course at your own cost. You can showcase other skills that contribute to the job role.

Use relevant keywords

A standard job description will always contain "keywords". Try and match those keywords when applying for the job. Use strong action verbs in your job responsibilities. This will draw attention to you as a strong communicator (should this be a necessity in the requirements section of the JD).

Demonstrate your expertise with proof

Narrating facts or sharing data, statistics, creates a solid impression of achievements and makes your CV even more attractive. You may have even worked in an industry that is similar to the one you are applying. Draw that similarity when applying and allow the recruiter to reason it out. You might possess skills in using a particular tool or software that could make you more effective in the role, despite the job description not mentioning it.

Demonstrate your Enthusiasm

You can acquire skills, but not passion. You’re either genuinely passionate about a role, or you aren’t. The hiring manager may decide that your passion for the vacancy still make it well worth considering you. Consider, the activities that substantiate this passion, such as regularly attending industry events or listening to the latest podcasts to upskill or studying for additional qualifications etc.

Make best use of your cover letter to convey this passion and commitment.

Connect the dots and prove your transferable skills

Remember you can realize your potential and apply for a job that you may think is out of your league. You have nothing to lose but the ability to turn a difficult situation to a possible one, even if you don’t, match 100% of the requirements.

Prove how your transferable skills, experiences and potential make you a great fit for the role, as well as your willingness to learn more, and who knows – you might just get the job. Good luck!


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