Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

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namajones
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Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by namajones »

What's your philosophy or approach to applying for a job for which you are mostly (but not entirely) qualified? I'm thinking in particular of a job for which I check all of the boxes except one (partial check). I'm tempted to apply anyway and let the employer discard me if he/she chooses. I never dissemble on my resume or application, nor do I even exaggerate, by the way.

I've read articles that suggest that some people tend not to apply for jobs except when they fully meet all of the skills listed, while others tend to apply for jobs for which they are mostly qualified.

What's been your experience with this, either from a job seeker's perspective or from an employer's perspective?

Thanks.
Last edited by namajones on Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Nyc10036
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by Nyc10036 »

Since everything is done online, I would apply if I were you.
You don't have anything to lose.
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SmileyFace
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by SmileyFace »

You should apply. There may be zero candidates (or zero good candidates) that check all the boxes.
My experience? I recently took a new job where I met about 75% of what they claimed to be looking for. At my last job I had to hire folks that were less qualified than I'd like due to the competitive job market.
Last edited by SmileyFace on Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Normchad
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by Normchad »

Nyc10036 wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:30 pm Since everything is done online, I would apply if I were you.
You don't have anything to lose.
This is correct. A lot of people are bad at writing those job ads. In a lot of cases, they are describing their perfect ideal candidate. In most cases, they won’t find that person, and will have to compromise somewhere.

So you should absolutely apply. You have nothing to lose. And you might be one of the most qualified applicants they see.

Good luck!
livesoft
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by livesoft »

I don't have experience directly, but my son applied for a job online that required him to be Red Cross CPR-trained and he was not. So he lied and clicked he was just to be able to click through to submit his application. He figured it would be easy for him to get that training. When he was called he told what he had done. They interviewed him and he got the job. And he completed the training before his first day on the job.
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RubyTuesday
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by RubyTuesday »

In high school my buddy told me when he filled out job applications, if they asked if he knew how to do something, his example was drive a fork lift, he would always say “yes”. He said the first thing they do after hiring you is teach you to drive the folk lift their way...

I don’t agree, but that always stayed with me.

As a candidate (or as a sales person) I try to address any potential gaps in my “partially checked boxes” by thinking of things that are related, similar, or use similar skills. Do a little research on any gaps and demonstrate familiarity.

As an employer, I had priorities among the needed skills and would accept deficiencies depending on the priority. But someone who knew their deficiencies and had prepared to address my concerns indicated great initiative and self awareness and would earn bonus points.
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Makefile
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by Makefile »

Normchad wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:32 pm
Nyc10036 wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:30 pm Since everything is done online, I would apply if I were you.
You don't have anything to lose.
This is correct. A lot of people are bad at writing those job ads. In a lot of cases, they are describing their perfect ideal candidate. In most cases, they won’t find that person, and will have to compromise somewhere.

So you should absolutely apply. You have nothing to lose. And you might be one of the most qualified applicants they see.

Good luck!
Yeah--the (current version of) old joke is "five years' experience with Windows Server 2019"
Topic Author
namajones
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by namajones »

Makefile wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:36 pm
Yeah--the (current version of) old joke is "five years' experience with Windows Server 2019"

:)

That's funny.
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rwcox123
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by rwcox123 »

It's a little different if you are applying for a Federal Government GS job. There, the HR filter will cast you out if you don't check all the boxes, and use exactly the buzz words in the position announcement -- don't use synonyms, because the HR people don't understand them!

I tell people to think like DJ Trump while applying -- you are the best at everything. Anyone ever asked you a question about subject X means you are widely thought to be an expert on X and consult with people all the time to help them with X.

Your first goal in apply for a Federal job is to get past HR to the person with the actual hiring authority. That person will actually judge you on your CV/resume and (hopefully) interview.
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greg24
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by greg24 »

In a career in IT, most of the candidates I've seen didn't meet all the qualifications.

Like someone else said, the qualifications are a wish list.
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namajones
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by namajones »

rwcox123 wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:47 pm It's a little different if you are applying for a Federal Government GS job. There, the HR filter will cast you out if you don't check all the boxes, and use exactly the buzz words in the position announcement -- don't use synonyms, because the HR people don't understand them!

I tell people to think like DJ Trump while applying -- you are the best at everything. Anyone ever asked you a question about subject X means you are widely thought to be an expert on X and consult with people all the time to help them with X.

Your first goal in apply for a Federal job is to get past HR to the person with the actual hiring authority. That person will actually judge you on your CV/resume and (hopefully) interview.
This must vary by agency. I know that I used to think what you just said, but then after I got into my current agency, I learned that all applications were forwarded directly to the hiring manager, so there was no HR filter or pre-screening.

Conversely, when I was a manager in an IT firm, HR did get in the way, and I found that annoying.
Kaizen Soze
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by Kaizen Soze »

Definitely apply. Is there anything you can do to turn the partial check into a full check, like take a class?

When I was hired for my current job I only checked about 1/3rd of the boxes. The hiring manager later told me I got the job because when he asked, "what can you tell me about 'xyz'?" I responded, "honestly, I've never heard of it [wasn't in the job description]. But if we meet again I'll start off by telling you everything I've learned between now and then."
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ResearchMed
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by ResearchMed »

I'd also consider including somewhere that you enjoy learning new skills/ideas/etc.

In some cases, a strong/bright person who can - and wants to - learn may be preferred over someone who has the rote skills but may not have much additional potential.

Some of that would obviously depend upon the specific job skills needed. Some things truly take lots of practice or study time. In other cases someone who is a quick study and has some appropriate background can learn fast enough and then keep improving, etc., and then perhaps take it all even further.

And yes, unless they "needed you yesterday", there's often time to brush up or even learn something new well enough for starters.
Just don't "lie". Be honest enough about your capabilities so they don't quickly start questioning everything they thought they knew about you.

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rage_phish
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by rage_phish »

I work as a corporate recruiter, and if we only interviewed people who hit every single bulletin point on a job listing, we’d have a lot more trouble filling roles

Apply. Worst thing that happens is you get rejected
Mitchell777
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by Mitchell777 »

I read an ad for my last job that had a number of boxes as you say that were "preferred". I met all those boxes. Only one box was listed as "required". It was experience with a specific software package. I did not have that experience but I had learned and used similar packages. I was not going to apply. Mentioned it to a friend and he told me I could learn that package and he'd help me if I needed. I applied. Told them I did not know the package but knew similar packages. The advanced degree may have put me over the edge, I don't know, but I got the job. Take a chance. All they can say is no and you will learn something if you get an interview.
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cheese_breath
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by cheese_breath »

Apply. Even if you're not totally qualified, you still might be the most qualified of all the applicants.
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Watty
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by Watty »

I don't know if it is common or not but I have heard that some employers intentionally list a long list of requirements that they know that no one will be able to satisfy.

That apparently makes it harder to sue for discrimination since the company can point out the job qualifications that someone who is suing lacked and say that was the reason that they hired some other person.
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anon_investor
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by anon_investor »

Normchad wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:32 pm
Nyc10036 wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:30 pm Since everything is done online, I would apply if I were you.
You don't have anything to lose.
This is correct. A lot of people are bad at writing those job ads. In a lot of cases, they are describing their perfect ideal candidate. In most cases, they won’t find that person, and will have to compromise somewhere.

So you should absolutely apply. You have nothing to lose. And you might be one of the most qualified applicants they see.

Good luck!
+1.
fortunefavored
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by fortunefavored »

I've never been qualified for any job I held in 30 years. The only thing I'd ask myself is "can I do this job?" - then I would apply.

That includes ignoring education, experience, etc.

Confidence beats competence any day, assuming you can get past the AI and HR filters (and there are tricks there too.. for years I was taking 1 class at a time so I could put "Pursuing Bachelor degree in xyz" which would bypass degree filters.. even though I never got a degree!)
Makefile
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by Makefile »

rwcox123 wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:47 pm It's a little different if you are applying for a Federal Government GS job. There, the HR filter will cast you out if you don't check all the boxes, and use exactly the buzz words in the position announcement -- don't use synonyms, because the HR people don't understand them!

I tell people to think like DJ Trump while applying -- you are the best at everything. Anyone ever asked you a question about subject X means you are widely thought to be an expert on X and consult with people all the time to help them with X.

Your first goal in apply for a Federal job is to get past HR to the person with the actual hiring authority. That person will actually judge you on your CV/resume and (hopefully) interview.
That's an interesting point. I've always understood that resumes should be one page, two pages at most. But then I have some acquaintances in the government/government contracting space and apparently they don't abide by this--the longer the better. And I've even seen some absurd looking "lists of skills". For example, they didn't just say they know "networking" but know "IP, UDP, TCP, ICMP, HTTP, TLS" and they don't know "scripting" but "bash, csh, ksh, sh, tcsh" and so on (that was an extremely cut down version), with all these acronyms/abbreviations filling up the page.
HornedToad
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by HornedToad »

If you meet about ~60-65% of the requirements then feel free to apply.

Let the hiring manager filter you out if you are missing anything critical.
getthatmarshmallow
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by getthatmarshmallow »

namajones wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:28 pm What's your philosophy or approach to applying for a job for which you are mostly (but not entirely) qualified? I'm thinking in particular of a job for which I check all of the boxes except one (partial check). I'm tempted to apply anyway and let the employer discard me if he/she chooses. I never dissemble on my resume or application, nor do I even exaggerate, by the way.

I've read articles that suggest that some people tend not to apply for jobs except when they fully meet all of the skills listed, while others tend to apply for jobs for which they are mostly qualified.

What's been your experience with this, either from a job seeker's perspective or from an employer's perspective?

Thanks.
Turn down offers, not opportunities.
Wings5
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by Wings5 »

cheese_breath wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 5:54 pm Apply. Even if you're not totally qualified, you still might be the most qualified of all the applicants.
Agreed. Also, before you check "no" on a box, think about all the other experience you have that may . . . technically . . . suffice for that qualification or experience.
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Topic Author
namajones
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by namajones »

getthatmarshmallow wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 11:13 pm Turn down offers, not opportunities.
Well said, although I will add that as with almost everything, there is a balance. I have noticed over the years that once an offer is extended and turned down, however politely, it probably will not be extended again.

Thanks for all of the feedback, everyone. I did apply. I simply addressed the one shortcoming (language proficiency at a certain level) honestly. The shortcoming is not central to the position, so far as I can tell, but should be a "nice to have," although it's not listed as such. In any case, they can decide.

Once I apply for a post, I tend to move on and forget about it unless I'm contacted. Next... :)
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namajones
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by namajones »

Makefile wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 10:55 pm That's an interesting point. I've always understood that resumes should be one page, two pages at most.
I have always ignored that advice and simply listed all pertinent experience (I have a lot) as succinctly as possible. If it works out to 3 pages, 4 pages, 5 pages, so be it. What's a page these days, anyway?

In any case, my willful ignoring of that advice has not hurt me, so far as I can tell. In a ~37-year career (so far), I have worked for 15 different employers (yikes) and have been unemployed only for about a week. Admittedly, about half of my jobs have been in academia, where resumes can run on to 10 pages or more. But I have never really modified my vita much for corporate or government gigs, either.
badger42
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by badger42 »

There has been a number of studies about this. Women tend to apply to job roles where they meet 100% of the qualifications, men tend to go for about 60%.

Job descriptions tend to be wish lists and hiring managers are frequently bad at prioritizing what they really care about. When in doubt, just apply, but be honest with the interviewers - "I haven't worked with x but I have worked with y which is similar and have no doubt I could pick it up quickly".

Also be aware of that anything that is under a federal contract is likely to have to hold a hard line on minimum qualifications (not the desired or nice to have stuff) due to OFCCP compliance.
badger42
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Re: Applying for jobs for which you are mostly qualified

Post by badger42 »

Also on resume length - relatively recent grads should have a one-page resume, full stop. Senior / experienced people should have a two-page resume. Three pages makes me question your communication skills because you really should be able to tell me why I should give you a call in two pages. Longer than three pages goes in the virtual trash can.
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