“I don’t think I will apply for this position because I am not qualified or they won’t hire me” or “They are looking for this…and I have limited experience so I don’t think they will consider me.” What surprises me most about these two phrases is how we justify that we are ‘not’ qualified over what we can bring to an organization or position. We immediately look and focus on our weaknesses. This causes us to not pursue something that could have actually been an amazing experience.
Now don’t get me wrong. If you are 24, recently graduated from university and they are looking for the next CEO at Tourism Vancouver (and they are looking), I would be one of the first to say that you are not qualified and to perhaps consider building out your relationships in the hospitality industry as your starting point. Keep it real but this also means to keep it real to you. Look deep and hard at who you are and what you might be qualified for.
When someone says that they don’t think they are qualified and not going to apply, my response is simple – “why are you making that decision and not letting the employer decide if you are qualified?!” If you think about it, you have already said you are not qualified so you really should not apply because in your mind you are not good enough…well, you are! If you considered the position and they need to hire someone, why not you! Understand that if there is something you want to do or an organization you want to work for, you are on a crash course to that goal until you throw a limitation up and say that it is not worth it or that you are not qualified. It might not be today or tomorrow. It might not even be in the next year or so…but if you want something that bad, you will get it eventually. I applied 8 times to SFU and no interview, no word and no acknowledgement…but I persisted and got in the 9th try. I am actually glad I did not get the other 8 positions because the 9th was the one I was meant to have.
Instead of saying you are not qualified or there are better candidates, really look at who you are and what you have accomplished. Sometimes we are so focused on what we don’t have that we ignore what we actually do have. Our accomplishments sit idle at times as we concentrate on what we need to build upon. Is it not a lot easier to build on what we are good at rather than trying to get good at something we are not really interested in but think someone might like us to have a particular skill. I made a promise and deal with a Dean years ago when I was an undergraduate student at SFU that I will not get into the finance industry and he would allow me to graduate (well we did this with a smile)…I have held true to that and have a great financial planner. I will hire a financial planner but I would not trust my money with me.
The next time you see a job posting, I want you to look at it with the eye of “I think I can do this job because…” rather than “I won’t apply for this job because…” Focus on the opportunities and possibilities over the limitations and challenges.
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