Should I Apply if I'm Not Qualified?

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Although it is often recommended that you apply for each internship you are interested in and feel qualified for, is it wise to apply for positions where you don’t meet 100% of the requirements?

Let's suppose you only meet 80% of the qualifications or perhaps you don’t meet any of them at all; there may be times when we would recommend that you go ahead and apply anyway. At this point, you will need to ask yourself why you are thinking about applying and if it makes sense for you to try? If it does, go ahead and apply since you can always decide later to withdraw your application.

Preparing Your Resume

When preparing your resume and cover letter for an internship or job, you will first want to look at the position description and then review the qualifications. If you feel that you meet the majority of the qualifications, it is probably wise that you go ahead and apply in hopes of getting called for an interview. By targeting your resume and cover letter, you will be matching your skills and qualifications to the employer and the specific position available. If you find that you lack the specific skill they are looking for, you will want to highlight your transferable skills, which could also get you called for an interview.

Applying for an Internship

By asking yourself why you want to apply, you may find your answer. Does the internship look appealing and are you excited about just the thought of applying? Is the internship in an industry or career field that you’ve always wanted to enter? Do you feel that the internship will be a good stepping stone that will give you the experience you need to apply for more advanced positions decide to go ahead and apply in hopes that the employer decides that you are a good fit for the organization.

When applying for internships and jobs, it's also important to remember that you have no idea of the competition you are up against. Employers may find that your background and personal attributes will be a great fit for the company, even though you may not feel qualified for the job.

Do You Need to Meet All the Qualifications

Many students believe that they must be highly skilled to apply and they must be able to meet all the requirements of the job. The thing that’s important for students to keep in mind is that internships are learning experiences and that employers don’t expect their interns to have all of the knowledge and experience they would need if they were applying for a job. Often employers will start with a phone interview to see if they feel you are qualified for the job.

Internships are a way to gain the knowledge and skills required when they are seeking a full-time job; therefore, as a student, at least apply, so you have a chance of gaining the experience you will need to get hired once you have graduated from college.

While we can debate the issue of applying for internships that you don’t feel qualified for, it’s important to realize that it’s not always the most qualified candidate that gets the job. As mentioned above, if you establish a great rapport with the interviewer and exhibit the most enthusiasm and confidence, it is highly likely that you will get hired even over other candidates that meet 100% of the qualifications. Going into the interview with a positive attitude, motivation, and a strong work ethic you will increase your chances exponentially in getting hired for the job.