Q: I don’t meet all of the requirements, should I still apply to the job?
Our answer is yes (kind of). Qualifications are a road map of what an ideal candidate would look like. Industry experience or a degree in a specific field rule out candidates who would require too much training, but they are not always hard and fast rules.
You should apply even if you don’t meet all the qualifications if:
You have related experience. Related experience in a different field might provide unique insight into the new industry you’re trying to break into. Political campaign interns haven’t necessarily worked at a marketing firm, but they will certainly have experience in social media and marketing after helping run a November election. Likewise someone who lacks the education requirements of a particular job but who has interned in the industry for over two years should not rule themselves out simply because they have yet to receive their degree. School projects, volunteer work, electives and extracurriculars can all enhance a resume or cover letter if the experience is related to the job you’re applying for. As Jaime Petkanics wrote on The Prepary, “when it comes to years of experience, numbers aren’t everything.”
You should probably hold off on applying if:
The job requires a strong technical or academic requirement you don’t fulfill. Technical training is intensive, if employers require extensive knowledge in a technical field it is likely they will not want to spend the time teaching this to you, or that your other experiences will apply.
Passion, enthusiasm, and a strong work ethic are all qualities that cannot be taught on the job but have primary importance for employers seeking top employees. Highlight the things that make you stand out, and make sure to specify how your experience relates to the work at hand. If they do require specific skills, take an online course to learn the basics before the day of your interview. Not only will this put you one step ahead of other applicants, it will show the company how dedicated you are to getting the position.