I hear some people saying they don’t want to apply for a specific job because they don’t think they really want to work at the specific workplace. Maybe they’ve heard negative things about it from former employees, or they think it’s too big or too small, or for some other reason.

Yet they identified the job as something of interest. There was an element in the title or job description or both that attracted them.

Now, if someone says they don’t want to apply for a job because the pay is much too low or it turns out that they don’t have at least 50% of the required qualifications, or it’s in a city to which they will not move – then by all means, don’t apply. That wastes your time and the employers’.

However, if there is no concrete reason not to apply, then I urge people to go ahead and apply.

Applying for a job is beginning your end of the conversation. It is not a commitment to accepting a job. It is simply the start of a possible longer communication and maybe relationship. Your application is your expression of interest in what the employer has to offer, and indicates your willingness to engage with them.

It is helpful to think about the reasons you ARE interested and focus on those. If you get an interview, you will have an opportunity to gather more information about the job and employer. Prepare for the interview by creating your own “must have list” of what you must have in order to do your best work. Most people “must have” a certain role and perform specific kinds of activities, work in a specific kind of culture and physical environment, get a definite compensation. I have written several earlier posts on the Must Have List and how to use it.

Having your own sense of how and where you do your best work – meaning where you are happiest – allows the interview to be two-sided. You are checking out the employer just as they are checking you out.

You won’t have that opportunity if you never apply. So go for it! Make your application the strongest it can be by following recommendations on preparing a fantastic marketing-style cover letter and resume.

The worst that can happen is you don’t get called for an interview. In that case, the job wasn’t for you anyway.