You finally found your dream job online and ALL they ask for is for you to have 15 years' of experience in extreme bungee jumping, three PhDs, buy them two puppies, and you have to be able to juggle four 10lb bowling balls for 20 minutes. Do you apply if you don’t meet these requirements? Probably not.
Of course this is the most EXTREME example, and sometimes jobs do ask for a lot from a job seeker, but most applicants really do second guess themselves out of an opportunity by not knowing if they are fully qualified for a job that they may deem to be "out of their league".
Say for instance a Customer Service job is asking for a candidate with 3 years' of experience in office administration, an Associate degree is preferred, and you must be proficient in Microsoft office. If you’ve recently graduated, whether it be high school or college, and only worked part-time as a nanny. Guess what? I say go for it! Remember jobs are willing to take candidates that MOST match the job description that they are looking for and if you (or myself *shameless plug*) structured your resume to highlight your abilities to make copies, scan documents, answer phone calls, schedule meetings, navigate Microsoft Excel, Access, PowerPoint and Outlook, and the Associate degree is *PREFERRED* not REQUIRED.
Remember take note of the context and my favorite tip to give job seekers is that "It’s not WHAT you say but HOW you say it."
Now, there are exceptions to the rules. If a job is asking for you to have very specific requirements such as: “Master’s degree in Cyber Security along with a CISSP, CISM or CEH certification with one or more years' experience in higher education” I typically do not advocate for an applicant to apply if they do not have at least most of the required elements and even then it is still very tricky. Detailed job descriptions are usually looking for a specific candidate with those exact, or even exceeding, the requirements. This can deter certain applicants that may come close to meeting their expectations but say you’re about to earn your Master’s degree in Cyber Security in two months and have been working at your college’s computer lab since undergrad should you apply to this position? Absolutely! Because you meet the rule of thumb and have most of the requirements. Also, most jobs will give you 6 months or up to a year to get the certification that they are seeking. Using the same example, if you have your Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science with a CompTIA Security+ certification and 5 years’ experience as a Systems Administrator in an office. You may want to be a little hesitant to apply to the position because most of your abilities do not match the qualifications they are seeking.
At the end of the day, your ability to market yourself will be the driving force on whether or not you qualify for a position but still be realistic about the job requirements compared to your own abilities.
When in doubt, schedule an appointment and call me!