Should I apply for a job if I dont meet the requirements?

Have you ever seen a job advert and think ”wow” Id love to do that job or ”that sounds ideal for me” only to then check the requirements and realize that you don’t tick all of the boxes and then get disheartened?

Perhaps you feel you don’t have the specific experience the job description states is needed, or you lack a particular technical skill that is listed. The chances are that because of this, you didn’t apply for the role.

The next time this happens to you before just moving on assess whether the skills or competencies you lack are fundamental key requirements for the job – if not, do you possess the other required skills to ensure you can do the job successfully?

Of course, if you see a job advertisement and there are not just one, but several key requirements that you don’t meet – then it’s probably best to not apply.

You need to judge if you meet enough of the criteria and feel that the aspects that you do fit are what appear to be the key elements.


Here are the reasons why:

1. It’s unlikely that the employer is looking for an exact match

Remember that when the hiring manager was writing this job description and listing the requirements for their desired applicant, they had their ‘dream’ new hire in the back of their mind. It’s therefore highly unlikely that any candidate will meet every single one of the criteria. For this reason, there can be a certain level of flexibility surrounding job descriptions. The hiring manager will most likely be open-minded when reviewing job seekers and applications, considering potential rather than looking for an exact match. See the job advert as the employers ”wish list”.

2. You’ll be able to learn certain skills ‘on the job’

Applying for a job that you don’t meet all the requirements for means this position would enable you to learn new skills and competencies. That may include particular technical skills, a program you’ve not used before, or even a soft skill you’ve not needed to exercise yet in your career.

As an added benefit, given that you’ll be upskilling in the role, you’re likely to remain longer term, since you’ll grow and develop over time. Some hiring managers therefore find candidates who can grow into the role very appealing prospects.

3. You can bring other qualities to the role

As mentioned, there will be other unique and relevant qualities you have that will differ from what the hiring manager was perhaps expecting. These might more than compensate for any skills, competencies or experience you lack on the basis of the job posting alone, especially if the hiring manager is looking to add diverse skills or more varied qualified candidates to their organisation. With diversity of thought a growing focus, your additional skills could be viewed as beneficial and a way to bring unique viewpoints to the team.


There is plenty of reason, then, not to shy away from a job opportunity that you don’t meet 100 per cent of the criteria for. Don’t allow imposter syndrome or a lack of self-confidence to discount you from applying for jobs you would almost certainly be able to do well.


This all being said you will need to add a bit of extra motivation on to your application as to why you have applied and feel you should be considered. When doing this try not to highlight the aspects where you fall short, instead highlight the areas you have experience in and what you could bring to the role.


Some key tips are:

  • Demonstrate your willingness to learn
  • Use key words from the job description in your Cv and email/cover letter
  • Provide examples of past work that aligns with this role
  • Show your passion for the industry in your application

Some of these tips will be easier to convey in an interview but you need to get to that point so really think about your application, research the company and remember to sell yourself!



Adapted from an article written by Nick Deligiannis