job application

Give it a go: Tips to apply for a position when you don’t meet the criteria

Have you ever seen a job you wanted to apply for, but you didn’t have all the requirements?

Many people think you should only apply for a job if you fulfil all the criteria listed in the position description. However, they are mistaken.

It is still worth applying if you don’t meet all the requirements listed in the job description. Employers set the benchmark high, setting the requirements they would ideally like the candidate to have. They will often find there is nobody who meets all the criteria they have outlined.  

According to SeekIndeed and Hays  this is what you should do if you want to apply for a job but don’t meet all the requirements.


Highlight transferable skills

Emphasise the skills you already have that would translate to the position. Consider whether any of your skills are similar to those outlined in the job description. If you lack the experience required for the position, consider highlighting relevant volunteer work.


Ask for a recommendation

You could ask somebody you know to recommend you for the position. If you don’t know someone, introduce yourself to someone who works at the company.


Match the company culture

Research the company thoroughly before you apply. The more you know about the company, the more you will be able to demonstrate how you fit into its culture. Try to align yourself with their vision and mission.


Show enthusiasm and a willingness to learn

Try to illustrate your passion for the role you are applying for. Highlight any day-to-day activities you undertake that demonstrate this passion. After all, skills can be acquired on the job, but enthusiasm can’t.

Let the employer know you don’t know everything but are willing to learn new skills. Sometimes, this is just what the employer wants to hear.


Focus on core requirements

Many job ads include ‘nice to have’ skills as requirements. If you don’t have these, forget about them and focus on the position’s core skills. Often, the most important requirements for the role are listed at the top of the job ad.


State your accomplishments

Highlight accomplishments that align with the position’s responsibilities.  Doing so will demonstrate that you are a competent candidate and can fulfil the position’s requirements.


Use keywords

Try to use keywords from the job description in your resume and cover letter. Highlighting your achievements with action verbs like “built” and “enhanced” to highlight your achievements will make your application stand out.


Be results orientated

Don’t forget the whole purpose of listing requirements in a job description is to find the candidate who will achieve the best results. Therefore, it is important to show the employer the results you have achieved to date.  Focus on the positive impact you have had in previous roles. Try to use qualitative data to illustrate the results you have achieved.


Ask the employer

If you aren’t sure whether to apply for a position, consider phoning or emailing the employer. Ask them how important a particular requirement is and whether you would be considered without it. You can use this opportunity to illustrate how you meet the other requirements of the position.


Make your story interesting

Let the hiring manager know your career goals and how this position can help you achieve them. Demonstrate how your experience uniquely prepares you to take on this role.


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