“I don’t think they want someone so old.”  

“I’m sure they’re looking for someone with more digital experience.”

“I don’t have any major donor experience, which I’m sure they want.”

“I don’t have a PMP yet so I bet they won’t consider me a serious candidate.”

I could list many more reasons people have given me for not applying to the job that sparked their interest.  Every time, I tell them “Don’t do the employer’s job for them.”

The employer’s job is to weed out candidates who don’t meet their desired profile.  But first the employer needs to see the total applicant pool.  In a previous post, I wrote about job postings as a fishing expedition, where the employer is casting out a net to see what they catch.

Job descriptions tend to be very inclusive of every single thing the employer/hiring manager can think of needing.  Will they find someone who meets every single required or preferred qualification, as well as having the right culture/personality fit for the company?  Sure it could happen but it’s unlikely.  Even if someone looks perfect on paper, s/he may not make it past the initial screening interview for any number of reasons.

To give themselves the most options, most employers look for candidates who meet at least 75% of those qualifications.  Then screening interviews take people out of the running – sometimes for skills, sometimes for attitude, and sometimes for culture misfit.  And sometimes the job description shifts slightly because someone comes along who offers a new perspective or capacity.  The employer’s job is to make those decisions.

What happens if you never submit your application? The employer has lost a potentially good fit.  The candidate pool is weaker.  The choices are fewer.  And you never know if you might have been the right fit for the employer – because you disqualified yourself at the outset.

I’m not talking here about jobs where you are lacking a fundamental skill or educational requirement or years of experience.  Those jobs provide aspirational goals for you to tackle.  I’m talking about jobs for which you are basically qualified and that appeal to you.

Really interested in a job? Apply! Use your cover letter to make the case for why your background makes you a solid candidate.  And then let the employer do their job.