applying for a job where you don’t meet every listed qualification

Three people have asked me about this topic in the last 24 hours, so here’s a link to a very old post on how to get hired even if you’re under-qualified. Note that this was written before the economy went south, so it’s more challenging these days, but all the same advice applies:

How to Get Hired If You’re Under-Qualified — December 12, 2007

{ 11 comments… read them below }

  1. Mike C.*

    What I find odd are all the entry level jobs in the tech industry requiring management or 3-5 years of experience. Is this some way for companies to justify hiring folks on an H1-b visa? I saw one company asking for 8-10 years for an Associate I position, and 5 years of management experience for another. It seems really odd to me and not the kind of mistake that could be blamed on “HR being dumb”.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      If I had to guess, I’d say that those job postings are being created by HR people unfamiliar with what it really takes to do the job rather than the hiring managers. (I am NOT slamming all HR people here, but I do think this is a real problem in many companies, where too much of the hiring function is removed from managers and put in HR’s hands.)

      1. Mike C.*

        I guess it’s possible, I just figured that when it doesn’t involve regulatory/technical experience but raw experience numbers instead that HR would know that entry level jobs shouldn’t require 5-10 years of experience.

        Maybe these places are just nuts, I don’t know. I also know that in my industry workplaces will do everything they can to get an H1-b visa holder because they are constantly in fear of being deported. I worry that these ads go unanswered and then companies complain that “there are no skilled workers to fill our needs”, and they end up hiring people who are new to the country. I see basic lab techs hired this way all the time, and these are jobs that are easily filled by new college graduates. Frankly I’m tired of seeing them treated like modern day indentured servants.

        Maybe my understanding of the process is wrong or I’m searching for zebras instead of horses. It just seems really odd to me.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          If I had to guess, I’d say it’s just incompetence. Just like there are incompetent people in every type of job, they’re in HR too. It’s just a lot more visible to the outside when they’re in a role like that.

    2. anon-2*

      Oh, that’s nothing. It used to be that ads would be composed that NO ONE would qualify for — example – “six years’ minimun experience with (such-and-such-computer-platform)” with said platform only being released one to two years’ prior.

      Another one — ensure you list every possible buzzword in your resume. Do NOT assume that the HR admin reading your cover letter and resume knows what you’re talking about. If buzzwords/keywords match, you pass the filtering. If they don’t, you don’t, and everyone loses.

  2. Nethwen*

    I think the part of the original post about not applying for things you truly don’t qualify for is important. It gets frustrating to explain to well-wishers why I’m not applying to be a director of a library when I have never done more than volunteer at libraries. So many people think that “if you want the job (and if the job is in your field, you should want it), you should apply” is good advice, no exceptions.

  3. Anonymous*

    I realize that my situation is probably different than most, but I wanted to share the story of how I got my current job.

    I was actually contacted by a recruiter who had found me on LinkedIn for a job that I was in no way qualified for- outside of internships, I had about 6 months of work experience, and they were looking for someone with 3 years. I went in for an interview and completely knocked it out of the park. Since I didn’t have the experience for a middle level position, they actually lowered the title (although the job description was the same) so that I could be trained and grow into that title.

    If you fit the company well enough, and show enough potential, employers are willing to overlook a lot. Several months into this position, I can definitely say that it was one of the best moves I’ve made in my (albeit, very short) career, and both me and my boss are very happy.

    1. Anonymous*

      I am so excited, but a little scared too. I found the most perfect job listing, they need several people. The only problem is they said 3 years experience in their posting, I only have one year and half. I read the post here about addressing this in a cover letter. I am going to apply anyway and just state this up front. Some of these positions are temporary to become permanent. I am holding my breath.

  4. Anonymous*

    I have 16 years of Residential Management Experience and 5 Years of Regional Assistant Experience. What do I qualify for and in what field

  5. Rob*

    If a company hires you, knowwing full well that you don’t meet every requirement for the position (your liscence is differnet than the one required) does a review, and hires you knowwing this, can they then come back and fire you for not meeting all of the requirements? I was hired by a company that doesn’t accept a Barbers liscence, have worked there over a year, now they may fire me because I don’t have a cosmotology liscence. They recruited me, recieved a copy of my barbers liscence, and hired me. Now a seperate employee problem with a different employee has them putting me on admin leave (I’m a manager) with the threat that they may have to fire me because of the requirement of a cosmotology liscence. Is this legal? They knew and verified the barbers liscence.

Comments are closed.