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Not Qualified? Don't Apply!

A job seeker contacted me the other day to say she is ready to give up on finding a job because she is tired of hearing no or nothing at all or, if she does get an interview, never being picked for the job. Many job seekers face this same dilemma. So what could be the cause? One common reason you don’t hear back is because you are not truly qualified for the position. In fact, this same customer admitted that she knew nothing about the industry or the computer software required to do the job. Employers are looking for experienced, skilled candidates that can do the job on day one. Listen, looking for a job is frustrating enough; don’t add to the stress by applying for positions for which you are not truly qualified. If you don’t have it, don’t apply for it.

Why Not?

It’s a waste of time: Rob Riggins from says, “When you apply for a job, meet all of the critical requirements and 90% of all the requirements. The only way you’re going to get a job if you don’t meet 90% of the requirements is if you know the hiring manager or recruiter. Personally.” If you don’t meet the requirements, you are wasting your time!

EMPLOYERS get frustrated: 70% of resumes employers receive are from people who are not qualified for the position. Often times, on further inspection of a candidate, employers find they do not possess the level of skill needed to do the job.

YOU get frustrated: None of us like to hear the word “no” or, worse, nothing at all. The more applications and resumes you send in for jobs for which you are not truly qualified, the more “no’s” or silence you will hear. Why do that to yourself? If there is a job you want but you don’t meet the requirements, you may need to back up, master the required skills, and gain the necessary experience.

It can come back to hurt you: If you keep applying for jobs within one organization, they may conclude you are not a serious candidate or not taking enough time and care when applying.

Keep in mind that there are times when we need to stretch ourselves to reach for something that is just beyond our expertise. For example, if a job requires 5 years experience and you have 3, you might be able to build a case for your qualifications. Just be sure that you give specific examples of the skills and experience that demonstrate you can successfully do the job!

How to be sure you are qualified (from

Deconstruct the Job Ad and take your time BEFORE you apply

  1. Copy or print the job announcement or ad
  2. Review line by line to understand the requirements
  3. Highlight stated goals and objectives
  4. Check the employer’s web site for added info and corporate values
  5. Chart their expectations and your actual match to each goal and requirement
  6. State your matches clearly throughout your resume, application and cover letter