I remember scrolling through Job sites to apply to become a Talent Consultant and I was afraid that I didn't have the right experience for the role. I was fresh out of University and didn't have any experience in Recruitment whatsoever, so I was quite hesitant to apply, but I applied anyway and two months later here I am!
You've likely experienced the same thing. You see that a job you want to apply for requires you to have ten years of experience and you only have five; or there are a couple of skills or boxes that you didn't tick on the job description so you didn't bother, because why would a company hire someone who is 'underqualified' for the role, right?
Many candidates may feel inadequate thinking that they are 'underqualified' for a role. They start to think that other candidates are probably more qualified so they don't apply while they continue their endless search for the "perfect" role. There are many reasons why people feel that this way, however the biggest culprit is the job description.
I remember reading my fair share of job descriptions when I was job hunting and would often stop reading as soon as I saw that I lacked experience with a particular skill.
Job descriptions are essentially describing the 'ideal' or 'perfect' candidate. This ideal candidate on paper may scare a lot of people, however there is no 'perfect' candidate. Just by looking at a job description, it's easy to say that you may be underqualified but the only people who truly know are the Recruiters and Hiring Managers.
There are two main aspects of a candidate that hiring staff and recruiters look for, which is their experience and their fit within the work culture. Work culture is something that is specific to each and every single company and, as important as one's hard skills might be, their lack of soft skills could outweigh what's on their CV.
So your CV isn't a 100% match to the Job description? The people at the end of the line making the decisions are humans, not computers deleting our CV's as soon as they see a mismatch in skills. They want to relate to other humans with great soft skills and a personality which can benefit the work culture. Not to forget an adequate amount of experience along with it!
There is a difference between 'underqualified' and 'unqualified'.
As much as I advise you to apply for a role despite how qualified you think you may or may not be, it is good to be realistic about the roles you may be applying for.
For instance, If you are an 80-90% match for a role then definitely apply. However if you have a 30% match, maybe it's wise to step back and look for another position. It would be hard to succeed as an accountant with no prior accounting experience or someone with no political experience trying to become the US president. And frankly, applying with the minimal experience is not only wasting the Recruiter's or Hiring Manager's time but yours as well.
So the way I see it is to be realistic with the roles you apply for. However, you should never count yourself out of the race before it has even started. The worst thing they may do is to reject your application or perhaps even qualify you for another role.
You won't know if you don't ask!
"Most of us forget that the people looking at our resumes, interviewing us, and making a final hiring decision are humans.”