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Should I apply to a job if I don’t have enough experience?

If you are currently in your first several years in the workforce you will have seen job postings that you like, but that ask for 4 or 5 years of experience. With only one, two or three years under your belt, should you even bother applying?

The short answer? Yes.

Here are the reasons why you should apply for those jobs that are a stretch:

What’s the worst that can happen? You get rejected. That’s it. Well this is no surprise: you know the job is a long shot anyway. What’s the best that can happen? You get called in for an interview. Even better, you land the job. There’s really nothing to lose here.

Get over your fear of rejection. You will be rejected for countless jobs and opportunities throughout your life – being afraid of hearing ‘no’ shouldn’t be a barrier to making the attempt.

Get your foot in the door. You may not be the right fit for the job you applied for, but the company may like what they see and consider you for a similar position. By applying, you are making potential connections and getting your resume in front of the companies you’d like to work for.

When is applying a bad idea?

When you don’t have even close to enough experience. If you are fresh out of school and applying for jobs asking for 5 years experience, your expectations are too high. You will appear completely out of touch with how workplaces function and possibly come across as arrogant or entitled.

If the job is way outside your field. Missing a few years of experience is not as big a deal if you are already on the path to earning that experience, but don’t apply for a job that is outside of your career path. You need to show you have excelled at similar jobs, and if you don’t have much related experience, you simply can’t show that.

Make your application top notch.

The only way you will be considered for a position when you are under-experienced is if your resume proves you have the potential to do the job. You have to give great examples of how you excel at your current position and related positions, how you have gone above expectations and how you are a top performer. Without a stellar resume, your long-shot application simply won’t be considered.