Why women should apply for jobs that they are not 100% qualified for

Why women should apply for jobs that they are not 100% qualified for

 Looking at a long list of qualifications can be daunting for some, especially if you don't tick all the requirements. However, a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review has shown that this is more of a deterrence for women. Women tend to take written job qualifications more seriously than men do and thus are less likely to apply unless they feel that they are 100 per cent qualified.

 In my 25 years’ of experience in Human Resources, I have found that women tend to be more self-critical when it comes to job applications and they are more likely to follow the rules, even if they think they could do the job. While both men and women will recognise that not meeting all the requirements is likely to mean they won’t be hired, men are more likely to apply anyway.

 With International Women’s Day around the corner, I encourage women to take charge of their careers, be confident in your skills, and view the hiring process the same way men do – worry less about the ticking all the boxes and the fear of failing.

 Here are my top three things to remember when looking at a job application for which you may not meet all the requirements:

 1.     Take a chance and apply

Go ahead and take a chance! Apply for a job that you want where you meet over 60 per cent of the selection criteria.  Don’t wait until you can meet all the criteria for a role – job adverts are written for the ideal candidate that rarely exists.

 Recruiters and managers know that it is very unlikely to find a candidate who fits the job description perfectly. They are almost always willing to trade off between various skills experience and attributes. Especially if during the interview process the applicant is well prepared, enthusiastic, and is a good fit for the culture of the company. This is why it is important that you apply for jobs even if you do not have all the specified requirements.  If you only apply for jobs for which you have the expertise, how will you grow your skills and experience?

 Think of the experience you have and show the person reading your application how it will help you succeed in the role. Be ready to talk about your strengths and explain why not meeting certain requirements will not impede you from doing the job well and achieving results.

 While technical skills are important, companies ultimately hire people who also fit in with the culture of the business. A good cultural fit is vital to the success of the hiring process because it can lead to greater job satisfaction, increased organisational commitment, superior job performance and decreased employee turnover. Technical skills can be taught, but it is difficult to change personal cultural fit.

 2.     Ask the Question

Many times in my career I have had to strongly suggest… encourage… push women to apply for a particular job, especially when they viewed it as a promotion.  A job which they wished for but declined to apply because they thought they did not meet all the requirements.  However, I believed that with their natural abilities and attitude they would grow into and be successful in the job.  Every one of these women was successful in these jobs and went on to even greater success in their careers. This principle is an essential part of enabling your career advancement.

 Whereas I have had many men pop into my office to informally ask my view on a role they were considering, rarely have I had women ask the same question.  If it is an internal position within the same company to at least ask the question “I see that there is a job advertised for xyz, what do you think of that as a next step in my career?”

3.     Build a Career Plan

The easiest way to know which jobs to apply for is to have a career plan in place. A career plan is a roadmap of how you are going to work towards getting your dream job. People who have written down clear career goals are more successful in the long term in comparison to those who don’t. Other benefits of creating a career plan include:

  • Increased self-confidence
  • Ability to make better career decisions
  • Achieving results more quickly
  • Opening more opportunities
  • Greater direction and focus

 If you are interested in creating a career plan that will enable you to apply for the right jobs and start ticking those career goals, you can book a workshop here. 

 Or find us on Facebook for valuable tips on how you can ignite your career in 2017!

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