Don't Apply For a Job You're Not Qualified For

Posted by in Career Advice


When you're looking at job boards and other job listings, there will be lots of jobs that sound interesting but aren't jobs that you're qualified for. Should you apply for them? Some people say "yes", while others say "no". Personally, I think it's always a bad idea to apply for jobs that you either aren't qualified for or wouldn't want. It might be tempting to apply for the position of Vice President of a company, but unless you are an executive, you probably won't get the job.

For every job listing, most employers get tons of resumes. To make matters worse, almost 70% of them are from people who aren't qualified for the position. If the job requires a certain level of experience or education, and you don't have it, don't apply for it. It may seem like it doesn't matter. If you apply and don't get the job then no one gets hurt. The problem is that sending out resumes to these jobs is a waste of time and can even come back to hurt you later.

Here's a few reasons why you shouldn't apply for jobs you aren't qualified for:

It's a waste of time. It's much better to focus on the opportunities that you are qualified for. Spend time customizing your resume, writing a great cover letter and showing why you are a great match for the company. Sending out bulk resumes just wastes time and can make you lazy when you find a job you really want.

You might hurt your reputation. Many companies and recruiters keep resumes on file for a set period of time. If your name comes up over and over, with every job they list, they will begin to think that you are just desperate for any job and not really interested in their specific job opening. This can come back to haunt you when they have an opening that you are qualified for. Also, they may remember your name and assume that you aren't a serious job seeker.

It only increases your frustration. Sending out email after email and not getting a reply is frustrating. The more resumes you send out to jobs you aren't qualified for, the more frequently this will happen. Why torture yourself? Instead, focus on the jobs you want and spend your time in a more productive manner.

It wouldn't be a good fit anyway. So, what if you actually got the job you applied for? What if you had worked in middle management for a couple of years and applied for a job as Vice President of a company that isn't in your industry and actually got the job? Would you be successful? If you aren't qualified for the job, you probably won't be able to do a good job and it will just cause you more stress and headache and eventually, you'll be looking for another job. I know that lots of movies have been made where the main character pretends that they are someone else and has to do a job they aren't qualified for. They do things by their own rules and by the end of the movie, everyone agrees that they made a difference and they were successful. This doesn't happen in real life.

Do you apply for jobs you aren't qualified for? Why or why not? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    Thanks for all of the excellent comments. David - If you think that you have a shot at the job and that your related experience will help you bridge some of the gaps you have in your qualifications, then go ahead and apply, but make sure you write a heck of a cover letter making your case.
  • David A
    David A
    I thought the article was insightful and made fair points.  With that, there remains a fair amount of gray area in terms of intercepting qualifying and related experience.  Perhaps wishful thinking on my part....
  • Barbara S
    Barbara S
    Thank you for the information.  I found it to be very valuable.
  • Jorge R
    Jorge R
    All that you said it's true we should be focus on the things that we know we can do best and if we see that industry is changing  we should  change too., like going back to school or training to keeping our options open and learn from the pass.
  • Sedrick C
    Sedrick C
    I usually apply for jobs that say no experience needed and i will send a resume to the company but still get no response why is that?
  • Stacy G
    Stacy G
    Do not apply for nothing you can't be  trained to do.
  • Linda J
    Linda J
    Of course do not apply for something beyond your skill set, however there are plenty in my skill set, but these employers do not want a 50 something..I just went to an interview and everyone working there was a 20 something..this is ridiculous

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