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How To Apply For A Job When You Don’t Have The Required Experience

Source | FastCompany : By ISABEL THOTTAM

At one point or another in your job search, you’re bound to encounter this scenario: You’ve found the perfect job, and at first glance the description reads like it was made for you. It seems perfect. But then you keep reading, and under the requirements, you read that dreaded line: “Must have three-plus years of experience.”

“Companies want to know that you have successfully performed the job duties in the past,” says Alexandra Levit, business and workplace author, speaker, and consultant. “The less they have to train you, the better.”

Valid point. But it doesn’t stop you from feeling like all of your dreams have been crushed. You’re left wondering, “Is it even worth applying?” What’s the right call? We spoke with career experts to figure out what your next steps should be.


Ultimately, experts agree that even if you don’t have the required numbers of years of experience, it is still worth applying for the position—within reason, of course.

“If the company is looking for 10 years of experience and you have one, don’t waste your time,” says Don Goodman, career management coach and certified resume writer. “But if you have one to two years of experience and they are looking for three to five, that doesn’t rule you out, and you could be just as qualified.”

Miriam Salpeter, a career coach and consultant in Atlanta, says that if a candidate has skills that could be especially appealing to the employer—this can include significant volunteer experience in place of “work experience”—then it is possible the company will overlook the number of years of work experience and agree to interview you.


If you don’t have enough years of experience, experts say it’s your skills and ability to perform the job tasks that will help you land the position.

“You have to look at what the employer is trying to achieve,” says Goodman. “Ask yourself if you can you deliver what the employer is looking for. They won’t hire you if you can’t perform the skills needed to get the job done.”

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