Post # 1
After 13 years in my field I’m ready to make a slight pivot using my skill set in a different capacity. But this has been a source of stress and anxiety for me.
I’ve come to the conclusion I’ve always applied for jobs I felt very confident I would get. Don’t get me wrong, they were still good jobs at respected companies, but I’ve never been a stretch situation where I have the lesser end of the years required or where I seem to be younger than my potential direct reports. Or where I have zero idea as to how the title translates to where I am currently at. Sometimes there are positions I have 90% of the skills but there are still thinfs to learn.
I’m trying to get in the headspace that there is no shame in exploring, especially when head hunters are reaching out to me via linked in (and my linkedin page is very clear about my years of experience and the nature of my work).
I know to make the pivot I want I need to grow a pair and be prepared for some rejection along the way. But I think I’m also terrified of getting in over my head and getting fired. Bees, share your stories!
Post # 2
I once read that men apply for jobs when they are 50% qualified, and women wait to apply until they’re 100% qualified. So by that logic, if you are just half of what they want, you’ll be fine 🙂
Also, what’s the worst thing that can happen? You apply, you get rejected, you move on. Say you don’t rejected and you get the job. Congrats! Your boss knows your skill set and work history, but she chose you anyway. You are now in training and are expected to make some mistakes along the way, just like we all do. Yeah sure maybe you’ll get fired if you just sit there and suck at the job, but if you put in the effort and communicate blockers and struggles to your boss, you could end up fostering an amazing new career! Or maybe your boss hates you and you’ll still get fired lol. But either way the absolute worst thing that can happen in either scenario is that someone essentially just tells you “no.”
Post # 3
Ok, so your title and your post seem to conflict. It sounds like you are applying to jobs where you meet the minimum quals, but maybe not all of the preferred quals (like having 4 years experience instead of 5, or not being proficient in every software they list or not having a master’s in the specific program, but having something sort of tangentially related)?
In my experience, preferred quals are more like an unrealistic wishlist. Like someone asked “what would your ideal candidate be like?” And they answered “well, of course they would have at least a master’s in this very specific thing and know all of these software programs so we wouldn’t have to train them at all, and they would have tons of experience elsewhere that they could bring here so they get up to speed faster…And of course they would also be willing to work at entry level for peanuts!” And most know they aren’t getting that.
The best way to combat that is head them off at the pass and have answers ready to explain 1) why you are the best candidate, and 2) that you are capable of overcoming those “shortcomings”.
If you are unfamiliar with specific software, have you used something similar? Are you a fast learner?
If you have too few years experience, Did you rise up quickly and have major accomplishments or responsibilities that someone with even the preferred number of years might not have had?
If you’ve never managed people older than you or been the new person in charge, how have you previously acclimated to new work environments and dealt with generational gaps before and how could you apply that here?
If you have a degree in X but they prefer Y, what skills did you take from X and how can you transfer them to apply to Y?
Really, it is just about being prepared, having tremendous self-awareness of your skill-set, and showing you have the critical thinking skills to take what you already know and apply them to a new situation competently even if you have never worked in that specific situation before.
Post # 4
Sorry I was unclear. I seem to match what’s written on the lower end of the job specs but in sleuthing who had been in the position before they all seemed much older and further along in their career by the time they accepted the job.
BUT I don’t know how much the needs of the job have changed over time and as I read through the job specs I do feel qualified and I get a slight tone of being future/industry evolution focused which I have seen can sometimes cue ‘younger with less baggage about how things were done.’
I think part of is moving in a slightly different direction where I have less familiarity about titles, salaries, etc. I’ve been in my industry my whole life so while there are some variances in title I more or less have a good sense of what I would be qualified for.
It could also be because I know of someone else who has applied for the role who is more senior than I am, BUT part of me hopes that because I was referred to the head hunter by someone I know that they wouldn’t suggest me if they didn’t think I could do it.
And part of it could be the age descrepency between me and my direct report (though their linked in profile leads me to believe that while they have a lot of work experience, it hasn’t been as tight to the nature of this role).
Post # 5
This is all sage advice. I’ve heard the same thing before, I think I just needed it repeated many times for it to stick!
Post # 6
I have felt unqualified for every job I’ve ever had :). Key word is felt. I have actually been perfectly qualified since I’ve done well in my roles once I was in them.
Job descriptions are intimidating. And in many industries, a Director at company A is not necessarily equivalent to a Director at company B.
Try to think more about what they need the person to do and whether you could get the job done well. If you know you can pick up anything you’re missing on the job, and still support any direct reports, you’re a great fit!
Post # 7
I recently just got a new job where they were explicitly wanting someone with 3 years experience in a particular position. I don’t have experience in the position they advertised for, but I have 7 years of experience in a similar role. I applied, thinking na, but I interviewed and got it. Like you I was approached via LinkedIn so they could see my work history, it was clear as day on my resume and they still hired me. Go for it. You’ve literally got nothing to lose!
Post # 8
I have applied for things in the past that I think I am even remotely qualified. So pretty much I applied to things I was exactly qualified and under qualified for and for experience even under qualified for.
Post # 9
These are all great points guys. And I 100% agree it’s more about how I feel than necessarily the reality. I think I also need to embrace failure a bit better and go after things that feel like a stretch.