It happens all the time: you’re searching for a job, and you find the perfect position. Only there’s one problem. You don’t quite meet all the requirements listed in the job description. It’s a bit of a reach. Should you walk away, or take a chance and submit an application? We suggest you do the latter, and we have some tips for how to put your best foot forward.

  1. To apply or not to apply?

That is the question. According to The Muse, most hiring managers list everything they hope for in a candidate in their job descriptions, knowing that most candidates, if not all, won’t meet every requirement. When making a decision about whether or not to apply, ask yourself two questions. Could you succeed in the position, and do you believe you’re a good match? If you answered “yes,” apply, especially if your skills and experiences match 75% or more of those in the description. As Elizabeth Saunders of Real Life E says, “If you only apply for jobs where you fit the description exactly, you’re not giving yourself any room to grow.”

  1. Putting Together Your Application

If your resume lacks some elements included in the description of your “reach” job, your cover letter can help you shine. Instead of hedging your accomplishments and experience by acknowledging that you don’t meet all the requirements, focus on the experiences you do have, particularly those in which the skills you’ve gained match or transfer well to the job description. Focus on key words from the description that resonate with your experience. If the majority of your skills are transferable, focus on connections between them to incorporate them into your cover letter.

  1. Acing the Interview

So, you wrote a killer cover letter, and now you’ve landed an interview! Remember, despite lacking some of the requirements of the “reach” job, the hiring manager saw something in you that stood out. To prepare, make sure you have answers that not only speak to your skills (both transferable and those listed in the job description), but also demonstrate how you plan to approach learning the skills you don’t yet have. Research what is required of the tasks that correspond with the skills. Writing for The Muse, Sara McCord suggests, “you can compensate for being lighter on skills or experience by seeming totally immersed in the company and industry.” For example, you may have never organized an event,  but you can do the research and talk about what you have learned.


If you’re looking for jobs where you can grow, contact Staffers today! As one of the leading staffing firms in the Jackson area, we specialize in office clerical. We’re here to help you jumpstart your career!

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