Yesterday we talked about over-qualification, which presents its own scary issues, but what if you’re under-qualified? Should you just give up? According to this US News & World Report piece, you may have more to offer than you think, ladies. Don’t make assumptions without at least trying.
You’re more than your experience. I remember I once applied to a writing gig that was so totally outside of my realm. I hadn’t had the experience the employer was looking for–at all–but my cover letter was super honest about it. I said, essentially, “look, I know I don’t have experience in X or Y, but I’m ready to learn, I really want to do this and I promise I won’t let you down.” It really all depends on the employer, but being passionate can trump all of the other applications whose resumes speak but whose cover letters don’t.
When you send your resume in, something else might jump out to potential employers–you could have worked for a company that has a great reputation. You could have some sort of artistic skill-set that allows you to bring much more to the table. You might show career loyalty and stability.
Entrepreneur and business owner David K. Williams over at Forbes made the case for under-qualified applicants in a big way:
“We’re watching the way they interact—their body language, eye contact, whether they are articulate—a good listener—and whether they can express what they feel without feeling nervous. Can they demonstrate strong character traits when asked how they would handle various situations in former jobs or in life? I can sense an individual’s work ethic. We look for someone eager and hungry to learn, which has generally been a good barometer of the individual’s work ethic as well. In 30 minutes, I can judge a prospective hire with pretty much 99% accuracy.”
Sound scary? It might be. But at the very least, so long as you’re sincere, strong and you want it, you may be viewed as competent and malleable.
Plus, traditionally under-qualified hires are cheaper to bring on board–so plenty of companies are looking for folks they can hire without the big financial output that qualified candidates demand. Don’t think this means you’re less valuable. You’ll get there.
The people who might fall short in terms of experience also aren’t fatigued, totally negative about the working world and willing to go the extra mile. Under-qualified applicants are usually more hungry, positive and ready to contribute fresh, relevant and youthful ideas–which are more than necessary in today’s markets. Sound like you? Play it up in the interview. Your employer may take note and think, “well, this person doesn’t totally hate the world yet. I think I’ll bring them on board.”