Like most people, you have probably come across an amazing job opening and were disappointed to learn that you were underqualified. Perhaps the posting called for ten years’ experience, and you had only two, or for someone who managed a team of at least 50 when you managed just 15. The question is, how do you determine whether to apply for the role or look for another one?

Yay: You Have Transferable Skills

If you can demonstrate that you have transferable skills, then apply. Employers are more focused on hiring potential than an exact match. Highlight your transferable skills, knowledge, and experience in your cover letter so that the hiring manager knows you understand the position and what they are looking for. And, write a memo that outlines what you believe the main challenges of the role are and how you would handle them. Mention your awards, achievement of performance standards, upward career advancement, and professional certifications to show you are a high-level professional. Provide examples of how you blend with company culture. You just might be called in for an interview.

Yay: You Have an Employee Referral

If you know an employee who will refer you, then apply. Since referred candidates tend to have similar interests as the employee, blend with company culture, and remain loyal to the organization longer, they are hired more often than non-referrals. If you do not have a connection with the business, then create one. For instance, if the hiring manager is speaking at an upcoming event, then plan to participate and introduce yourself. Or, if the company founder was featured in a recent article, reach out with a comment or question. Cultivating relationships will give you an in with the organization.

Yay: You Can Demonstrate Motivation

If you can clearly show that you are motivated to excel in the role, then apply. Unlike technical skills, motivation cannot be taught. Highlighting a plan to gain the required skills through hard work, dedication, and willingness to learn increases your chances of being offered an interview. For instance, show that you are open to taking a class or engaging in on-the-job training. And, mention examples of how your flexibility and desire to learn benefitted previous employers and can add value to your next one. Or, offer to work for free on a temporary basis so that the hiring manager can see that you are an asset to the company and should be brought aboard full-time.

Nay: You Are New to the Workforce or Changing Careers

If you are just entering the workforce or switching careers, then do not apply. You lack the skills and experience necessary to fulfill the job responsibilities. Applying would be a waste of time for both you and the hiring manager.

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