“Experience Required” part 1 of 4: Should You Even Apply? (When You Don’t Have the right experience)

Rahul Guttal


I’m sure you’ve looked at a job post and wondered: “Should I apply for this job, even without all the necessary qualifications?”

Our answer is yes, you should – if you’re at least a 70% fit. Here are 3 reasons why you should apply.

Practice interviewing


Imagine a project manager is in her role for 8 years and is suddenly let go from her company. She’ll now find herself prepping for interviews after 8 years! So when she goes to the first couple of interviews, she may not have the best answers because she hasn’t practiced talking about her experience at her last company. 

The same applies to you! If you haven’t interviewed in a long time, the first couple of interviews you do may not go that well because you may not have interviewed in years.

So the first reason why you should apply for the role is that you’ll get experience interviewing). This is vital to improve your interviewing skills and overall communication.

As you start interviewing at multiple places, you’ll get a sense of what questions to prepare for, what stories to share, and you’ll refine your ability to convince the company as to why you’re a good fit. You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll get with just a few rounds of practice.

Find your skill gaps


The second reason you should apply for a position you don’t think you have experience in is to find out your skill gaps. Applying for any job typically forces you to look at your skills and document them. This act forces you to build self-awareness, and you start to recognize your experience level.

When you apply for a position outside your comfort zone, you get forced to reconcile your skills and experience with the job. As a result, you start discovering areas for you to work on and develop.

Without this contrast, you won’t know what to work on next. That’s why we say it’s very healthy for you to interview for positions you might be under-qualified for.

Establish a relationship to the company and get referred elsewhere


The third reason is simple: you could get referred by the recruiter or hiring manager to a different position! 

Our founder, Peter, found this out first-hand. During his interview, the hiring manager made it clear that Peter wasn’t a good fit, but because the hiring manager liked him, he referred Peter to a different department. Peter landed his first biotech position this way even though he initially didn’t have the right experience. 

That’s the power of applying. You’re giving yourself a chance to create a relationship with the company. Even if you’re not a good fit, the manager might see some qualities in you and your experience that would fit somewhere else. So give it a shot! 

To summarize: YES! You should absolutely apply for the job if you’re at least a 70% fit. If there’s a job that requires 10 years of experience and you have 7, go for it. Even if you don’t get the job, you’ll still get experience interviewing, you’ll find your skill gaps, and you may establish a relationship with someone in the company that could refer you to other departments. It’s definitely worth the effort so that you land something you really want. Good luck!

Rahul Guttal