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Not Qualified For A Job? Don’t Apply.

Does the title of this post sound a bit restrictive to you?  If so, you may be part of a large group of job seekers wasting an incredible amount of time.  How so?  If you apply for jobs in which you are quite obviously un-qualified.

When I post jobs onto various job search networks, I am still surprised at the response.  I would estimate that 70% of the professional resumes I receive are from well-meaning people who were clearly un-qualified for the position.  I’m not a recruiter, but I am trying to filter jobs on their way to the hiring manager.  But, hey, I understand how it feels to be out of work. You see a job that fits a few concentric circles outside your experience and you have to apply, right?  Well . . . no.

The two most common issues?
1.  The job requires certain experience, education or training which you don’t have  . . . and you apply anyway.
2.  The job is for a Vice President and you are a Manager (or the opposite) . . . and you apply anyway.
So, you may ask, what’s the risk?  If I don’t get the job, who gets hurt?  At least I tried!
Here are a few of the risks and penalties of applying for jobs when un-qualified:
– A cluttered submission process for truly qualified candidates.  And that will be you someday.
– Hiring managers, HR people and recruiters bear the brunt of your impulsive effort.  It takes a long time to look through stacks of resumes.  If you abuse the process, someone may remember your lack of focus.
– Ever feel like no one is getting back to you?  No feedback?  You become frustrated in the lack of feedback and lose steam in your search effort.  Just think if my 70% number above went away.  The feedback loop would get much stronger for the remaining candidates.
– Wasted time on jobs that you won’t get instead of doing really important things like building a solid strategy and networking for the jobs you really should be targeting.
– If you simply send your resume it may seem like a pretty easy, low energy effort.  The problem is the simple approach + a lack of qualifications equals a lack of reasons for a recruiter to see you in the role.
So, how do you know if you are unqualified?  Well, as simple as it sounds, read the job description. Those are written with you in mind – with the hopes that you will take it to heart.  Ask a friend to review the job against your qualifications and give you honest feedback.  Finally, build realistic and specific job search objectives.  Once built, you will be better suited to tell people what you are looking for as well as have a guide for positions to target.
Now I’m not saying to see the glass as half empty – there is some room for aspirational thinking.  But not if the job description says “must have” and you don’t.

Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Cover Letters And Resumes

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