How to Get Jobs You're Not Qualified For

It's the employer's job to decide whether you're qualified enough for them. Not yours. You don't know the company intimately, nor the hiring manager's spoken and unspoken needs. They do. When you don't meet the exact requirement and you decide not to apply to a role you know you could do well, it inhibits growth. So, you apply. Because you're about growth. Often, of the rapid, ambitious kind.

You’re smart, hardworking, and driven. A natural leader, people (except slackers) love working with you. You’re confident and magnetic. You have high personal standards, so you’re not satisfied when your capabilities are under-utilized. You're ready to level-up and you have even clarified your vision. Well done. Your next career move may be an ambitious one, but you know you can knock your target role out of the park. That’s just who you are. So why aren’t you getting more traction in your career transition?

You’re Not Owning It Yet

The way of being that got you to where you are, is not the way of being that gets you to where you’re going next. You get that, intellectually. We’ve all heard it. But it really matters. That drive of yours, it seeks expression, increased impact, contribution, and the good stuff like respect and compensation that comes along with it. Your energy wilts when you consider the concept of settling. Because you know you’re meant for even greater things than you’ve already accomplished so far. So, how do you “own it” when it comes to something you’ve never done, especially if others see you as unqualified?

Connect with the Next Version of Yourself

Think about the you that you’ll be when you have the role, the lifestyle that you want. What does that version of yourself do, wear, say? How does that person spend their time? It doesn’t need to be completely fleshed out, but start imagining that picture of yourself. If your goal is to be fit and energetic, the next version of you probably doesn’t keep the pantry stocked with Cheetos®. In your case, perhaps the next version of yourself is more assertive, confident, or articulate.

Start Acting Like That Person

Want to be a CEO? You need more visibility, relationships, and vision. Successful executives don’t hang out all day in the details. Ready for your next interesting job title? How would you act now, if you saw yourself as that person already? How would you dress? How would you walk through a room at a conference or networking event? What impression would you leave people with?

It sounds like fake-it-til-you-make-it, but it’s more like, practice-embodying-it-til-you-own-it. Because once you own it, once you believe it, your network, your interviewers, your professional associations...they’ll believe it too. Once you own it, not only do your words change, your body language changes. It matters, because we assess people on visual cues more so than on content.

Visual Cues Indicate Success

How you can tell which concert pianist will win a music competition? By looking at them perform. By only looking at them perform. As in, without sound. If watching silent videos of musicians (versus actually hearing them play) is the best predictor of who wins, what do you want a silent video of yourself to look like? Begin acting like that person.

Prepare to Get Called Out As you practice being the version of yourself that thinks, speaks, and behaves in a new way, you can expect people in your community to comment on it. “Look who’s dressing up all of a sudden!” or, “You're applying to CFO roles without a CPA license?” The answer is an easy, confident, “Yes.” You don’t have to explain anything because if you’re owning it, there’s nothing to defend. The initial comments or skepticism that arise as a result of you doing things differently is a natural consequence of changing yourself. More importantly, it’s a great way to practice while the stakes are lower. Your “yes” to the people in your life will build your confidence so that by the time you’re interviewing, you’re already accustomed to acting like the person the hiring team needs.

As a coach, I see you as the fuller version of yourself, the version of you that you haven’t yet committed to. It's obvious to me why you are perfect for the role you really want, the one you’re supposedly not qualified for. I help you connect the dots of your experience, personality, brand, and that you realize you are qualified. That allows you to be that person in order to be paid to be that person. If you'd like a personal super fan who will help you build a bridge to where you want to go, I hope you'll reach out to set up a free chat.

In your corner.

Emma Garrett is an Executive Career Coach, helping high-integrity leaders position themselves for what’s next in work and life. If you're exploring your next chapter, consider scheduling a free call to share your situation and goals or checking out Emma Garrett Coaching.