Why You Should Apply for Jobs You Don’t Think You’re Qualified For
Maybe you’re looking for a bigger challenge or losing interest in the industry. Maybe you just can’t stand your boss and your coworkers. Whatever the reason, you’re getting a little antsy in your current job, and you’re ready to get out. But as you’re looking at listings for potential new jobs, you can’t help but worry. There are some really exciting options, but you’re worried you may not be qualified enough. What should you do?
The short answer? Apply.
According to data from the Harvard Business Review, men apply for jobs when they meet just 60 percent of the listed qualifications, while women tend to apply only if they meet every last one. And while we salute all of you ladies for being so thorough, we want to encourage you to throw your hat in the ring for more opportunities — even the ones that seem out of reach. Laureen Seeger, the chief legal officer at American Express, once applied for a position when she was two levels below it in the company hierarchy, and she has these tips to share for anyone dreaming of a job that seems a little out of reach.
1. Address your insecurities. You may think you’re not qualified for the job in question, but consider another possibility: you’re actually totally qualified and your insecurities are stemming from a little something called imposter syndrome. Not familiar with this phenomenon? Imposter syndrome “creeps in when we fail to recognize the value of our accomplishments and gradually convinces us that we are not capable or deserving of our own success,” Seeger says. Stop worrying about whether or not your background aligns perfectly with a promising job description and focus instead on the potential you have to contribute more generally to any workplace. Don’t let that imposter syndrome hold you back from taking a chance on an exciting new opportunity.
2. Trust your mentors and friends. Confide about the job in the people you love the most and “allow them to offer constructive feedback that you can use to persuade others of the same,” Seeger says. “Allow honest guidance and support to pave your path to success.” Your loved ones know you better than anyone else, and they may be able to give you a clearer view of your own strengths and abilities than you have of yourself.
3. Tap into your networks. Dive into your LinkedIn contacts list to see if there’s any overlap with the company where you’re interviewing. Rack your brain for friends or colleagues who may be able to hook you up with a helpful internal contact. Find out if your current company has any employee networks that can give you the support and confidence boost you need to bravely pursue a new opportunity. (Employee networks like this can be especially helpful if you’re applying for a new job or promotion with your current employer.)
4. Get educated! Put the internet to good use and see what you can learn about people who work in similar roles across the industry. What skills do they have? Can you find videos of them sharing stories of their own professional experiences? “Think through how you can make the argument that you’re equally as qualified through the experiences you’ve gained in your life and career,” Seeger recommends.
5. Find excitement in the process — not just the outcome. “It’s difficult to put yourself forth for a high-profile role,” Seeger says. “It’s important to remember that the process is valuable even if you are not offered the job in the end. Applying and potentially interviewing for the role will make you smarter and better prepared for the next interview or opportunity.” You’ll gain confidence and practical application skills that will make you a shoo-in for whatever gig is meant to be!
Have you ever found yourself nervous about being qualified heading into a job interview? What did you do? Tweet us @BritandCo.
(Photo via Getty)