Should I Apply? 3 Important Steps to Determine If You Qualify For A Job

Should I Apply? 3 Important Steps to Determine If You Qualify For A Job

If you’re on the hunt for a new job, we can assume one of two things. Either you don’t like where you are now and you’re looking for a way out. Or you’re okay with your job, but you’re yearning for something more fulfilling. Regardless of your reasons, you’re spending countless hours online searching for the next best thing in your career.

During your search, you may hesitate to apply for roles that spark your interest because you’re not sure if you qualify. You start asking yourself questions like, “Do I have enough experience? Do I have the right experience? Should I apply even though I’m lacking in key areas?”

When these moments occur, try using these 3 simple pre-qualifying steps to make this judgment call. This process will set the groundwork for how you navigate and approach new and intimidating job opportunities.

1. Create a Career-Impact Checklist

Creating an impact checklist is a great tool to utilize when you want to gauge how a role will move you closer to your ideal role. Think of it as a moral compass for your career. It will capture, streamline, and measure your career goals and aspirations against the job positions presented to you. This checklist only requires four questions and the answers don’t have to be convoluted. Just jot down a few sentences underneath each prompt:

  • What kind of work do you want to do?
  • What do you want your work to accomplish?
  • What does your ideal company look like? (company culture, compensation, etc)
  • What kind of impact would you like to have at that company?

This may sound simple, but these four questions carry a lot of weight. Keeping them in the forefront of your job search can help you decide which opportunities and organizations best align with your life’s work. Now, we’re not telling you to dismiss every role or company that doesn’t fit perfectly into your plans. However, this step will allow you to quickly identify which role and organization is the best fit for you.

2. Evaluate Your Resume; Read In-Between the Lines

Most job seekers are aware that their resumes should highlight their strengths, accomplishments, and passion. Your resume should document the story of who you are, who you want to become, and the steps you have taken to reach that goal. If you need support in this area, here are a few tips that will whip your resume into tip-top shape.

But here is the kicker. Though many eager candidates update their resumes, rarely do they take the time to actually evaluate them. Let’s dig deeper, shall we?

Evaluating the opportunity gaps reflected in your resume is a strategy you can use to enhance the effectiveness of your job search. What do we mean by opportunity gaps? Opportunity gaps are clearly identified areas of improvement that indicate what needs to be done in order to take you to that next level in your career. So, how do you pinpoint your opportunity gaps?

  • Evaluate each role and the responsibilities that came with it (as it pertains to your dream job). Write down the areas where you would like to grow, advance or shift professionally. If you’re tired of doing the same ol’ tasks you’ve done for the last few years, make a note of it on the side of your resume, and then cross it out to indicate you’re moving on to something more challenging.
  • If there are certain aspects of your past roles you would like to do more of or learn more about – highlight the duties you would like to take on in the future. If you’re thinking about shifting functions or careers(especially from the private to the education sector), first – circle all of the transferable skills that can be implemented in your next role. If you feel like you’re lacking in experience, education or skill set, write down everything you need to do in order to make yourself competitive in this new space. Then, set tentative deadlines and steps to proactively close the gap.
  • You’ll also want to list out what you liked and disliked about the previous organizations you’ve worked for. Think of the roles you’ve held and the actual responsibilities that came along with them. You know, the ones that weren’t included in the initial job description. How did you like the role and how it was structured? What was the leadership like? Did the company culture make you feel like you belonged? Was there room to grow and advance in a way that was conducive to your goals? All these questions are important when you’re looking to join a dynamic team at your future dream organization.

Documenting your evaluation process will help you map out what you really want to see manifested in your next role. This information is crucial as it will be the driving force behind how you execute Step 3.

3. Align Your Goals and Your Gaps With Your Research

Now that you have a clear idea of what you want to do and what you need in order to get there, use this information as your reference point during your job hunt. As you research new roles and organizations, compare them with the notes you took down on your Career-Impact Checklist and your resume. Bookmark the jobs and companies that align with your areas of growth and advancement.

Having your checklist and evaluation notes present during your job search can increase your focus and improve your decision making. Knowing exactly what you want to gain from a role and how you can contribute to an organization will allow you to narrow down, expand and/or eliminate your options in a clear, quick and confident manner. Plus, it will take the edge off of wondering if you’re qualified for a position. At that point, the question will shift from “Am I qualified?” to “Based on my goals, my areas of growth, and my experience – is this truly the right fit for me?” See! Way less intimidating right?


Until next time: Stand Out &  Do Good!