How To Get Hired While Underqualified – 7 effective strategies

how to get hired while unqualified 7 effective strategies

Plenty of people do apply for roles they’re not fully qualified for as an Industry Trends Report by Toggl in 2021 demonstrates. 39% of employers said that sifting through a high volume of underqualified candidates was one of their biggest pain points. So how do you know which jobs are worth a shot, and how do you avoid becoming part of the sift pile?

“If you don’t apply you have a 0% chance of getting the role. It will always be 0% for any role you don’t apply for, and if you do apply, you never know what may happen.”

Underqualified or not qualified at all?

When searching for a job, it’s okay to be optimistic and take chances on yourself. However, applying for positions that you are not qualified for or don’t meet the requirements is a waste of your own time and the recruiter’s time.

Don’t bother applying for positions that require specific qualifications or licenses that you do not have, or if the job requires skills that you do not possess. Additionally, if the job has citizenship, visa, or location requirements that you do not meet, it would be a waste of time to apply. It’s better to focus on applying for jobs that you have at least 70% of the necessary skills for. However, if you have 50-60% of the skills with the appropriate transferable skills, it might still be worth a shot. Remember, recruiters have to go through hundreds of resumes daily, so it’s in your best interest to apply for positions that you are qualified for, or almost qualified for.

How to maximize your chances of getting an interview as an underqualified candidate?

If you’re an underqualified candidate, there are ways to increase your chances of getting an interview.

1. Have a strong resume

Blakenship suggests that when you aim for slightly challenging roles, an impressive resume is crucial for job hunting. Your resume should showcase your accomplishments because recruiters typically scan the first two-thirds of the first page. Focus on writing a strong resume that features all your significant achievements, as this is the most important piece of job search advice according to Blakenship.

Ensure that the recruiter notices the most important information that you want to convey by placing it in the top two-thirds of the first page of your resume. It includes your certifications, vital accomplishments, statistical data, and hard facts which can substantiate your work experience. In case you lack experience in the related field, highlight your transferrable skills to ensure their clarity.

In case your job involves performing tasks that are at a higher level compared to your current position, it is advisable to add the senior title within parentheses. This will make it visible to the recruiters, and you may get a chance to explain further during the interview. Additionally, it is essential to check if your resume is ATS-friendly. This is because, during the initial screening, the software may reject your application if you fail to meet the required qualifications. Lastly, the Federal Reserve will be closely observed this Wednesday.

2. Network

Networking is an essential aspect of personal and professional growth. LinkedIn is a free and widely used platform that can be leveraged by anyone. According to Blakenship, reaching out to people who have already achieved what you want to achieve can open doors for you and provide opportunities to learn and grow. Connecting with people on LinkedIn and asking questions never hurts, and it can lead to great things. The worst that can happen is that they ignore your message or say no, and that’s not so bad. So why not take a chance and see what happens? Building a network on LinkedIn can only benefit you in your personal and professional life.

Blakenship emphasizes that in the US, networking does not guarantee you a job. Applying to job postings is still important, but networking can also be useful for seeking advice and preparation for a specific role’s interview. Suppose you have an upcoming interview or interested in a particular company. In that case, you can leverage your connections to speak with someone who knows about the hiring process and can help provide information to succeed in the interview. Having social connections at the company you want to work for can also help you in job searching, especially if you don’t have much experience in the field.

3. Fake it ‘til you make it

Blankenship approves of the concept of “fake it till you make it”, as it has played a crucial role in her career journey, leading her to where she is now. With this approach, she was able to obtain job roles that seemed unattainable, and also enhance her professionalism to an extent that would have otherwise been unachievable. However, she cautions that one should not lie straightforwardly, as dishonesty tends to get exposed, resulting in job loss. Instead, applicants should creatively present themselves as having the required potential or experience suitable for the job role. The key is to identify managers or recruiters who are willing to provide opportunities to candidates with less experience and to project oneself is having the capabilities required for the job.

It is important to be honest about your job title when creating your resume. Blakenship warns against exaggerating your role, as this could lead to consequences of the hiring process or employment verification. For instance, claiming a senior-level position when you worked as a junior could harm your chances of getting the job. Therefore, it is advisable to accurately describe your actual job title to create a more authentic representation in your resume. Remember, honesty is always the best policy.

4. Grow your brand on LinkedIn

According to Blankenship, having a strong social media presence can give job seekers an edge in the hiring process as more and more companies examine a candidate’s social media profiles to assess their engagement and number of followers. Having a larger following could even be the deciding factor between two equally qualified candidates. For this reason, it’s essential to establish yourself as an expert on platforms like LinkedIn, thereby conveying to potential employers that you are the right candidate for the job. Recruiters and hiring managers often turn to social media to get a better understanding of who you are beyond your resume, making it an integral part of any job search strategy. As such, it’s crucial to ensure that your online presence is consistent and represents you in the best possible light.

According to Blankenship, establishing a robust brand and a strong network is a lifelong asset that never fades. Continuing to develop your brand and network throughout your professional career helps fortify your community, providing you with the ideal support system for future inquiries and job prospects. In other words, investing time and effort into building a reliable personal brand and network will serve as a valuable resource throughout your career.

5. Target companies that have a company culture of upskilling and personal growth

Blakenship recommends that companies with a strong focus on training and growth opportunities for employees are more likely to hire underqualified individuals compared to those that don’t prioritize these values. However, if a high-impact position needs immediate action, companies may prefer qualified candidates. Nonetheless, organizations with a well-established culture, particularly those focused on finding the right fit for a role, may consider hiring an underqualified candidate if they can demonstrate their capability to perform in the job. Therefore, it is essential for job seekers to showcase their potential and ability to meet the job demands during the hiring process, particularly in companies with a strong commitment to employee development.

6. If you land an interview be prepared to show them why you’re the right person for the role

If you are an underqualified candidate, getting an interview is just the beginning of your job search strategy. You need to put in a lot of hard work to impress the interviewer. This includes providing specific examples of why you are a good fit for the job, surviving the interview process, and effectively answering the interviewer’s questions. To achieve this, make sure to research the company and its culture, understand the interview process, prepare questions to ask, and know the key points you want to convey during the interview. Your success depends on how well you perform during the interview, so be ready to showcase your skills and qualities confidently and convincingly.

7. Channel your inner confidence

Blakenship is a firm believer that confidence is a key factor in making sales. He suggests that having confidence can greatly increase your chances of getting a job you might not have otherwise landed. Blakenship advises presenting yourself as the person you aspire to be, rather than who you are in the present. This means projecting yourself as someone with the necessary skills for the job, giving you a better chance of being hired. Therefore, being confident and projecting yourself positively can genuinely help you in your career and professional endeavors.

Applying for a job as an underqualified candidate

When applying for a job as a less experienced candidate, it’s important to maintain self-assurance without becoming overly confident or arrogant.

Blakenship’s approach to confidence is to have a clear understanding of your strengths, limitations, and potential areas of growth. This includes being certain about your skills, acknowledging your areas of expertise, being aware of the areas where you may need improvement, and trusting that you possess the ability to learn and develop the necessary skills.

By striking a balance between humility and confidence, you can present yourself as a capable and motivated candidate.

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