3 Ways to Land the Job Even If You Lack Some Qualifications

I'm a Winner

In my last post, I discussed how to determine whether it’s a lack of qualifications or confidence that’s holding you back from applying for a position that sparked your interest. If you determine that it’s a confidence issue or perhaps, that some of the qualifications you lack may be flexible, use these tips to land the job.

Land the Job Tip #1: Get a cheat sheet from an expert

When I applied for my first communications role, I knew I could do the job even though my ability wasn’t quite reflected on my resume. I didn’t have all the background I needed, so I went straight to somebody who did.

With 20 years of experience in nonprofit communications, I knew my dad could brief me on the fundamentals. Armed with that information, I presented myself as confident and knowledgeable during my interview and got the job!

Doing your research goes a long way in letting interviewers know that you can learn what you don’t know.

Land the Job Tip #2: Be honest with your interviewer or recruiter

Approach the job with passion, but let the interviewer know what you’re missing. Interviewers will be able to hone in on what you lack, so go ahead and get on the offensive. If you over-promise, you risk setting unrealistic expectations for your future employer, which will leave everyone unhappy. Instead, let your interviewer know that you have a plan for getting up to speed.

“Let your interviewer know that you have a plan for getting up to speed.”

I recently worked with a client who applied for a management position without the degree listed in posting. We decided to confront the issue by creating a plan to learn the skills she lacked. We made a list of actions she would take each month to get up to speed. The interviewers were so impressed with the the plan that they offered her the position.

Land the Job Tip #3: Rewrite the story of your strengths

When I transitioned from teaching to the nonprofit world, I was terrified that hiring managers would see my lack of experience and think I was clueless. Instead, I found that many of my teaching skills were an asset. I was interested in positions that required a lot of the same skills I used in my classroom. With this in mind, I created a portfolio of my work and sent it to my interviewers. In the meeting, I used it to demonstrate how the skills I already possessed applied to the job I wanted.

“It may take practice to effectively showcase your transferrable skills in a way that’s authentic, but it’s a skill that can be learned and it’s worth it!”

It may take practice to effectively showcase your transferrable skills in a way that’s authentic, but it’s a skill that can be learned and it’s worth it!

The truth is, in going after something you want, you’ll never truly know your limits until you test yourself.

Amy Everhart headshot

About the Author: Amy Everhart is a certified coach who helps difference-makers find purposeful careers. She has led nonprofit programs that empower and inspire teachers and students to tell their stories through writing and has served as a recruiter and job placement specialist. Amy is passionate about coaching, storytelling, and the ripple effect women’s empowerment has on the world.

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    • DC
    • February 1, 2017

    I’m entrepreneur transitioning. I am looking for a not for profit position with an international organization. I have experienced resistance from corporate recruiters. Even with great skills and experience, only having in A.S. in business has been an obstacle. How can I make up for this with a non profit when corporate recruiters frown on my education and experience?

      • Amy
      • February 1, 2017

      Thanks for commenting, DC. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to have those great skills and feel handicapped by your education! I think it’s great that you are noticing that there are differences in the way that corporations and nonprofits recruit. I’ll give you some thoughts based on my experience-feel free to take or disregard. 🙂
      First, avoid assuming that just because something was an issue for a corporate recruiter, it will be an issue for a nonprofit recruiter.
      Second, use your network. Reach out to colleagues with AS degrees and see where they are working and how they bridged the gap.
      Third, consider: is the position you want worth pursuing the BS?
      Hope this helps!

  1. Pingback: Not Qualified for the Job or Not Confident? How to Tell the Difference - Idealist Careers

    • Jae
    • March 1, 2017

    How did you showcase your transferable skills? You said you made a portfolio. How did you get started with it? I am also in the education field but keep my options open to doing other things.

  2. Thanks for writing this out. I’d appreciate your mentioning a specific example for two of your points: “I found that many of my teaching skills were an asset”, and “my dad could brief me on the fundamentals” For communications work, what was one skill that mattered, or you presented as transferrable? I’d find it easier to internalize your advice with a specific illustration, even if I”m looking in another field. Might be my learning style : )

      • Amy
      • March 21, 2017

      Hi, Fleiboy! I like specifics, too. : )

      What I discovered when transferring from teaching to a non-profit role in Communications was that a facility with Project Management was a MUST. For example, when teaching Middle School, I had to manage many different facets of the learning experience (like behavior, content delivery, engagement, etc) in order to make sure that the correct message was received. When I developed communication plans for my non-profit org, I also had to manage many different facets of how that communication was delivered so that the right message was received. The organizational and time management skills I used to manage each project were exactly the same in different arenas!

      If you’re considering which of your skills are transferrable to a specific role, I’d highly encourage you to take a step back and think about what you do in your current job that would be extremely useful in a different job and how you can explain that overlap on your resume or in a cover letter. You might be surprised just how many of your skills overlap!

    • Ysh
    • July 4, 2017

    The article was very helpful in understanding the hiring & job holding. I appreciate the inputs and knowledge shared. I would like to ask for a suggestion. I’m a fashion designer and my field is very demanding. I’m very good with designing but however unable to cope up with the speed. I’m also not good at managing people in a smart way or lie in order to get things done. All companies don’t bother you lie or not but they want the work to be done by hook or crook. I had been fired twice by companies because I’m unable to work fast, manage smart the office politics. I feel very bad that my skills are not seen. I’m confused should I change my working field to being as a fashion faculty or fashion consultant rather than an export house designer to reduce the work load. I’m in a very hard situation and being unemployed sucks long time. Thank you!

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