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When you come across a job you want to apply for, chances are you don’t fit every requirement listed. However, it’s important you remember that many postings are based on guesswork and are designed to discourage applications from completely unqualified candidates. Therefore, it may be in your best interest to apply anyway. Here are some tips for determining whether to apply for a job even if you don’t meet all the requirements.   

Determine Whether You Can Perform the Work

Read the job description thoroughly to get an idea of what the role entails. For example, if the description mentions “PR experience,” think about writing press releases, pitching media and representing the company’s brand. If you can imagine yourself fulfilling the responsibilities, go ahead and apply. However, if the position requires ten years’ experience and you have only two years’, the role is most likely too senior for you and you shouldn’t apply.

Disregard Preferred Qualifications

If you meet most of the job requirements but don’t have every preferred qualification, apply for the role anyway. Preferred qualifications are just that – preferred. As long as you possess the basic skills necessary for completing tasks, you can always participate in online training or take a class to acquire those skills. Also, because employers can’t put off making a hiring decision until they find a candidate who fits every listed qualification, you’re better off applying.  

Focus on Transferable Skills

Ensure you focus on how lessons learned from past experience can be applied to the role you are applying for. For example, if you have experience with fundraising and asking individuals to donate, it may be beneficial to a sales position. If you managed a group of volunteers at a nonprofit organization, you can manage a team at work. There are always opportunities to transfer your communication, interpersonal and teamwork skills to a new role.


If you know someone who can introduce you to a hiring authority and advocate on your behalf, it won’t matter as much if you don’t meet all the requirements listed in the job posting. Also, if you begin building relationships with hiring managers through regular LinkedIn communications or participation in seminars, conferences or other professional settings, managers will be more inclined to offer you an interview when a position opens up.

Use these steps to determine whether you should apply for jobs you may not be fully qualified for. For help securing an accounting, finance, business or IT role in the Boston area, reach out to MFA Talent Management.