Should I Really Apply if I Don't Have all the Requirements?

Have you ever seen a job listing and thought, “Hey, I could do that!” but then got discouraged because you didn’t meet everything on the list of requirements? Well, guess what? You’re not alone.

Many people looking for jobs won’t apply if they didn’t meet everything on the list. But here’s the thing: most employers are actually okay with you not meeting every single requirement. Meaning, they’re still willing to consider you! So we encourage you to apply to the jobs anyway, the worst that can happen is that you don’t hear back from the employer.

Still wondering if you should really apply to that job though, even if you don’t think you have the skill or certificate that the job ad claims that you need?

Okay, then let’s address some common questions and misconceptions:

  1. “What the heck?”: You might wonder, “Why even have those requirements if they’re not set in stone?” Well, sometimes employers list all of the requirements that they’d prefer their candidates to have, but it doesn’t mean you actually need to have, or be proficient at, every single thing. Usually, the most important stuff is at the top of the list on their job ads, so we recommend focusing on those, first!

  2. “But what do the employers think?”: Well, think of it this way, when employers start getting applications, they might realize they don’t need everything they asked for when the right candidate applies but doesn’t necessarily meet all of the requirements. They might be okay with someone who’s missing a few things but can learn quickly on the job and is open to training. For example, if you don’t know a specific computer program but you’re good with similar ones, they might still give you a chance and provide onsite training as part of your onboarding.

  3. “What if I don’t have all of the skills listed on the ad?”: Still feeling unsure about applying for a job where you don’t meet all the requirements? Don’t worry, lots of people feel the same. Take a quick look at the list of skills on the ad, and think about whether you could learn the missing skills and how you’d do it. If you still meet most of the criteria, go ahead and apply! Even if you don’t end up getting the job, you are still gaining valuable experience, and it provides you with opportunities to practice your interview and networking skills.

  4. “What about applying as a woman entering/returning to the workforce?”: We want you to know that it’s especially important for women to believe in themselves. Often times, women will doubt their abilities and end up not applying for a job they’re interested in, while (typically) men are more likely to give things a shot.

We know that getting rejected from jobs stinks, especially after putting in so much effort. But don’t be afraid to ask questions or show that you’re interested! If you’re not sure about a requirement, reach out to the employer, or maybe one of the staff members working at the business, already. Building a good connection and enhancing your network in the labour market can make a big difference.

Remember, there’s more than one way to impress a potential employer! If you show you’re eager and willing to learn, they will likely give you a chance even if you don’t check every box on the job ad. So, go ahead and apply – you might be surprised!

Here are additional resources to help you get started on those job applications!

Kootenay Employment Services offers several online tools, one of which is our resume and cover letter builders. Get started on your resume today!

Kootenay Employment Services has a collection of articles on various career advice topics, one of which may give you a hand with applying for jobs! We have an article on preparing for interviews to help you get started.

Indeed is a job-seekers’ website with job postings from across the world. They are a widely used platform for job seekers and employers, alike!

Kootenay Employment Services also has an online job board! Take a look at what’s available in your region today, and start applying!