Click the play button below, or subscribe and listen through our podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or Spotify.
As you can probably imagine, a lot of the people I coach are currently on the hunt for a new job. Some of them are desperate for a new job, like, yesterday … and others are happy where they’re at for now, but know this isn’t their “forever” career, so they want to be open to new opportunities.
Whatever your reason for looking for a new job, I wish I could tell you with complete sincerity that job searching is usually a breeze … but most of the time, that’s a big fat lie.
Now, I’ve taken enough clients successfully through the job searching process that I know for a fact there are ways to make the job hunt significantly simpler, more effective, and generally less miserable. (We actually provide a detailed worksheet in our Passion Profile Short Course all about “Job Searching According to your Values,” which has been a game-changer for our clients.)
But most of the time, job searching kinda sucks. Not to be a total downer, but I think most of you would agree that it can be time-consuming, frustrating, and overwhelming … and worst of all, it can make you question yourself and your abilities.
THE BIGGEST COMPLAINT I HEAR ABOUT JOB SEARCHING
I’ve heard just about every complaint you can imagine about job searching, but the one I hear the most is also the one you have the greatest ability to change.
More than anything else, I hear clients tell me, “I found a few jobs I would absolutely love, but I’m not qualified for them, so there’s no use applying.”
Odds are, you’ve been here before. You find an incredible-sounding job, but it asks for 6-8 years of experience, and you only have 4 … or it’s in a different industry than you’re in now … or there are a few bullet points in the job descriptions that you’ve never done before.
So you write it off and settle for something that you’re less excited about, but 100% sure you can do.
In my experience, women seem to do this more often, but I’ve seen plenty of men limit themselves this way, too.
And that’s exactly what’s happening when you do this — you’re hugely limiting yourself from potentially amazing opportunities!
WHY WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES
It seems obvious why so many of us do this. If we’re not fully qualified for the job, then it’s a waste of time to apply, right? We don’t want to waste our time or the employer’s time.
That seems like a logical reason, yes, but I don’t believe it’s the real reason we hold ourselves back.
What’s really going on is … well, it’s 2 major things:
1. We’re terrified of being rejected.
And the more you want a particular job, the worse you believe the rejection will feel. So if you don’t think you have a really good chance of getting the job, you’ll likely play it safe and protect yourself from massive disappointment. You may use “I’m not fully qualified” as an excuse to stay in your comfort zone.
I get it. Rejection stings, and no one wants to feel disappointed or unwanted.
But after the temporary discomfort of rejection fades away, you’re actually no worse off for having applied to an exciting job and getting turned down. In fact, it’s the exact same outcome as not applying at all, except that you have no regrets because at least you gave it a shot.
So worst-case scenario, you feel bummed for a day or two, but then you’re right back where you were before.
Best-case scenario? You get your dream job!
If you ask me, that’s worth potentially hearing a few “no’s” along the way.
2. Our self-doubt takes over and we feel inadequate for the great job.
We assume there are tons of other applicants out there with all of the qualifications (and then some!), so we figure, “Why bother?”
Well, I’m telling you, you should bother! Why? Because you’re probably forgetting a huge factor in getting hired.
THE HUMAN FACTOR
Most of us forget that the people looking at our résumés, interviewing us, and making a final decision are humans. And they want to connect with other capable, enthusiastic, personable humans.
I, for one, used to unconsciously think of the hiring process as an impersonal computer algorithm that impassively compared all the résumés and spits out the “best” logical candidate.
(And yes, there *are* algorithms that companies sometimes use for initial screenings, but the actual decision about whether or not you get hired is made by a human being.)
Hiring is a much more emotional process than most of us believe, so you can’t underestimate the power of your “soft skills.” As in, the natural, innate personal characteristics and strengths you bring to the table that have no place on a résumé.
THIS IS GREAT NEWS
Who you are as a person matters when you’re applying for a job, and often it can overcome other “hard skills” where you may be “lacking.”
Your natural optimism and dedication to your team can be more valuable than never having used Salesforce (they can teach you that!).
Being a natural connector and a people-person can make you a better leader than someone with “official” management experience.
Being a fast learner and a self-starter is more valuable to an employer than someone who meets all the job criteria, but is unmotivated and set in their ways.
THIS SERIOUSLY WORKS
I just recently coached a client who was considering not applying for her dream job at an amazing start-up because she only met 75% of the requirements in the job description, even though she knew she could do the job extremely well.
I told her to definitely apply anyway and to be completely candid about her enthusiasm and love of the company in her application and interview. (You’d be amazed how far authentic enthusiasm can get you in the interview process.)
I wasn’t surprised when she emailed me ecstatically a few weeks later to tell me about her job offer.
THE BOTTOM LINE
I won’t deny that there are some jobs that you’re straight-up NOT qualified for. You won’t catch me applying to engineering or accounting jobs anytime soon (that really would be a waste of everyone’s time!).
But if you really believe it could be a great fit, but you’re not 100% qualified … apply anyway.
If this has inspired you to apply for a job you thought you weren’t “good enough” for … leave a comment to let me know!
Kristen (& Rachel)