How to Apply for Jobs You Think You’re Not Qualified For (But You Can Do Anyway!)

March 11, 2021
by John William Morales 
Jowi is a writer for a living and a pilot for life. He accidentally discovered his writing talent in College when he shifted to a degree in Humanities from Engineering. He dreams of combining his love for writing and flying by creating a book detailing his adventures while flying around the country.

If you look at online job boards like Upwork or Online Jobs PH, you’ll find online freelancing opportunities abound everywhere. However, I still encounter tons of posts on freelancer groups saying they can’t find a good job opening because they are not qualified.

However, unless it’s a high-level position requiring specific skills or licenses, many qualifications that employers look for are flexible and can be waived. They simply put this as a filter because it is what they think is suitable for the vacancy. If you can prove yourself to be up to the task, they’ll most likely forgo that in favor of results. So how do you get a position that, on paper, you’re not qualified for?

Demanding Requirements

Imagine you find an exciting job entry that is well within your skillset and scope of experience, only to discover they’re requiring 100 years of experience. Of course, it will be a bummer! But as someone who’s previously hired people, I find that attitude and responsibility to be more critical.

These qualifications are simply set because there’s no way to gauge your work ethic. Putting in years of experience working in the chosen industry as a requirement is one way to look at your grit, but it’s not really a good gauge of how you will perform.

If you can prove your performance – either through your portfolio or through demonstration – then X years of experience working in Y Industry shouldn’t matter. After all, in most businesses, your value is measured in your work output, not in your past achievements.

Nevertheless, there are some skills listed in the job which are crucial. A good piece of advice on suggests listing down all the skills you have and making a side-by-side comparison of the requirements. Chances are, some of the skills that you do have can be adapted to the company’s needs.

Always Be Truthful

Now that you’ve decided to send in your cover letter to that opportunity with a 100-year experience requirement, you should be truthful. If you lie that you know this and have been at this company for 100 years, you’ll be found sooner or later by your interviewer.

Being caught in a lie in your job application is always bad form – that’s why I recommend you don’t mention it at all in anything you send to your prospect. And if your interviewer asks you about that, be prepared to put a positive spin on it.

You can do this by pointing out your other skills, which are more critical for the position. Leverage them and demonstrate to your client how it’s harder to find people with your qualities.

For example, the job requires you to write product descriptions and upload them on Amazon. Even if you don’t have experience with the eCommerce site, if you show them that you’re an excellent writer, then navigating their page should be much simpler to learn. That puts you ahead of someone who knows how to use Amazon but cannot write at all.

Challenge Yourself

If you really like the opportunity you see but lack a specific qualification – then I suggest you learn it quick. Now that we have Google and YouTube, you could get a crash course in just about anything online.

Although it will not make you an expert, learning these new things allows you to be more familiar with the position. It gives you the chance to improve yourself and even impress the prospect by showing your initiative.

Many entry-level positions also isn’t a single-task job. You’ll most likely have numerous responsibilities – like researching, uploading data, responding to customer inquiries, making basic images, writing posts, managing schedules on Google and iCalendar, and even sorting through emails and the like.

As long as you can show that you can do the core of the job, whether being a virtual executive assistant, a customer service representative, a social media manager, or whatever position is being offered, you’ll be fine.

Qualifications like using a specific piece of software can be mastered on the job. By proving to them that you’ve previously learned a new skill required for your position, the employer will appreciate you more. They know that you’re not one to let new things stop you from doing your best work.

From An Employer’s Eyes

As I said earlier, employers put these qualifications to pre-filter the applications they’re going to receive. Don’t take it against the hiring person, as it’s hard to go through a hundred resumes for one position that you need to fill in a week or two. They do have other responsibilities, too, like payroll, scheduling, or even running the business.

The most important thing is that you look at the spirit of the job. By determining what kind of problem you’re solving for the client and then demonstrating to them how you’re going to do so, then you could probably get the job without the desired qualifications.

Once you’ve determined the need, put in the key phrases and words they’re looking for in your cover letter and resume, so it could get the attention it deserves. By proving you can commit, execute, and perform in the position, hiring managers will likely waive these qualifications.

When I see someone who has spent effort learning these things, even before getting hired, they’re more likely to catch my attention as I can see they’re self-starters. And even if they didn’t get chosen, they’ve added a new skill which they can then apply to other opportunities.

Always remember: attitude trumps knowledge. I’d instead hire someone who has grit and is willing to learn of their own accord than someone who is “qualified” but doesn’t turn in good work.

As online freelancers, basics computer skills are required in almost all job positions. We must be knowledgeable in Office Suite applications, internet research, and email. These are expected of us because the bulk of our work is done online. If you’re not sure how to use these tools, I recommend enrolling at the VA Bootcamp course.

It’s a complete and comprehensive training regimen teaching you how to use the most common tools you need to become a successful online freelancer. It also shows you how to create the perfect profile and cover letter, so even if you’re not “qualified” for the job, you can communicate your value to the client and get hired.

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by John William Morales 
Jowi is a writer for a living and a pilot for life. He accidentally discovered his writing talent in College when he shifted to a degree in Humanities from Engineering. He dreams of combining his love for writing and flying by creating a book detailing his adventures while flying around the country.

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8 comments on “How to Apply for Jobs You Think You’re Not Qualified For (But You Can Do Anyway!)”

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