How to Apply for a Job When You’re Underqualified

Entering into the job market when you’re underqualified can be a difficult task – even many junior positions require a solid skill set and some work experience. Although an inadequate resume can make for a discouraging job search, there are still ways to use what skills you already have secure that first job that serves to boost your knowledge.

These 4 tips will help you apply for a job when you’re underqualified:

Emphasise your education

As a recent or upcoming university graduate, you have much to discuss about your education. Use this section of your resume to highlight your talents through identifying the type of projects you completed, the topics you studied and the grades you achieved. Discussing your education enables you to showcase skills such as team work, organisation, planning and meeting deadlines, which are all important skills in most jobs.

Draw on any previous work experience

Many graduates struggle to find work experience to put on their resume, which makes for a particularly empty page. One way to fix that is to emphasise your soft skills. Whether it’s volunteer work you did back in 2013, or helping your parents at their shop, or even taking photos of your ‘Instagram famous’ friend for their social media, all professions provide you with some form of skills. What you’ve gained from these experiences can include attention to detail, problem solving and written and oral communication skills.

Don’t forget your hobbies

Although many people dismiss hobbies as being irrelevant to careers, they can still be a useful addition to a resume. If you have any hobbies that are related to the position you’re applying for (e.g. a journalism candidate who runs a blog) then it is certainly worth mentioning them so that recruiters can see your skills and dedication to the industry. 

Be different

Recruiters receive resume after resume, and after a while it can get a little boring, resulting in some resumes being skipped over and forgotten. Spice up your resume layout to make sure it captures your recruiter’s attention and sticks to their memory. Begin your resume with a short description of who you are and what you can bring to the table. This description should highlight your level of education and most relevant skills and knowledge.

If you want the job so badly that you’re willing to do anything – then go for it. Don’t let your lack of professional work experience deter you from applying for your dream job. Concentrate on displaying your passion through your resume, and the rest will be learned while on the job. Show the appropriate level of excitement, lay bare how close you are to being the perfect candidate, and let recruiters see how hard you’re willing to work to get up to scratch.