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  • Writer's pictureSarah McGill

You DO NOT need to meet all the listed criteria to apply for a job!

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

Whatever your thoughts on Kanye West throwing his hat into the ring to run for President of the US are, you have to admire his self-belief.

He did not sit down with a job description for the role of the President and put a tick next to all of the requirements for the role. Yet he went for it, despite that. In fact, possibly because of it?

There are many very successful people that were 'unqualified' for the role that they have. Position's that they wouldn't have got had they tried to meet every criteria.

Erin Brockovich is an excellent example of someone who's CV would have been immediately discounted (she is someone who I admire enormously). Johnny Depp had no previous acting experience before auditioning and landing his first-ever role in Nightmare on Elm Street. Charlie Mullins became a plumbers apprentice at the age of 15 and had nothing at all on his CV to suggest that today his net worth would be £70 million as the owner of plumbing company Pimlico.

Yet many of us would not consider applying for a job if we don't meet the list of requirements.

According to the findings of a Linkedin survey, women apply for 20% fewer jobs than men because they feel they need to meet 100% of the criteria on the role description.

While men apply after meeting about 60%.


84% of companies in the U.S are willing to hire and train a candidate who lacks required skills, according to a recent survey by global staffing firm Robert Half.

The assumption that you must meet all the listed requirements before applying for a job is nonsense!.

Sarah Belcher, director of gives some very useful tips for applying for a job that (on paper) you are not fully qualified for.

"It’s important to remember that you will actually have a lot of transferable skills.

Have a think about other areas where you may have used appropriate skills that you could apply to the role, not necessarily gained in a work environment"

Sarah's top tips when applying for a role that you do not meet all the criteria are;

Spell out your experience in the requirements that you do meet. Showcase that with your key achievements in past roles and summarise the key points at the top of your CV.

Show how you have adapted and learnt in the past to demonstrate how you would do so in this role. Perhaps you have covered for a colleague and had to learn on the go, or previously changed industries and hit the ground running turning it into a success. Don’t forget to mention this in your CV summary.

Emphasise your personal qualities and cultural fit with the organisation. Do your research and summarise the parts of their culture that you believe in. Often cultural fit can be more important than technical skills and experience.

Own it. Acknowledge the gap in your skills and show how you are prepared to do the work to close it before and then once in the role. It’s important to do your research before even applying for the job.

Don't assume a cover letter will be read. If it’s important it should be on your CV somewhere, all of the points above need to be included. Particularly highlight your key achievements and minimise irrelevant descriptors. Don't forget your CV makes your very first introduction and so take the time to introduce yourself for each role, tailor your CV to the specific requirements of the job as the skills needed will be slightly different each time.

Go for it!


Posted by Sarah McGill of

A British brand offering luxury laptop bags for women

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