By Paul Rojee

Engineering jobs are notoriously competitive and often have extremely high standards of qualification for candidates. If you're applying for an engineering job, it's not uncommon to find yourself feeling a bit underqualified for the position. Luckily, there are several ways to deal with this anxiety and play up your strengths to improve your chances of getting your dream job.

Understand What It Means to Be Underqualified

There is a vast difference between being underqualified and unqualified. A legitimately unqualified person will have few or none of a company's stated requirements for a job. In general, it’s a bad idea to apply for jobs that you are unqualified for: it’s a waste of your own time to fill out an application for a job that you are not likely to get and hiring managers will be less likely to review your application if a subsequent job that you are qualified for opens. Even if you are hired for a job for which you are unqualified, there is a high likelihood that you will be unsuccessful, and that is a major career setback.

In contrast, someone who is simply underqualified will meet most of the job qualifications, but may be lacking in a few areas like personnel management or expertise in a particular computer program. If you have the necessary skills to do the job effectively but lack a master's degree in your field, for example, you are underqualified, rather than unqualified. This distinction is important since an underqualified candidate can still get the job with the right approach. In simpler terms, think of this as a stretch as opposed to a leap.

Highlight Your Experience and Skills

When preparing to send your resume in for a job you feel underqualified for, you should tweak it to highlight the experience and skills you have in the field. Rather than focusing exclusively on technical skills, be sure to highlight your soft skills, such as communication and teamwork, as well. By building up your resume this way, you can play to your diverse strengths instead of focusing on your few weak areas.

Be Ready to Learn

One way in which being underqualified actually benefits you is by providing you with the motivation and opportunity to learn. Clearly communicate that you are eager to learn and ready to adapt once you enter the position. This will tell hiring managers that, though you may be underqualified now, that won't be the case for long.

You Might be More Qualified Than You Think

When businesses list job requirements for a position, they're sometimes describing an ideal candidate that doesn't actually exist. Hiring managers must sort through a group of imperfect candidates to find the best one. Bearing that in mind, it's entirely possible that you are the best candidate. Don't let being an imperfect candidate get you down, since it's almost guaranteed that none of the other candidates are perfect either.

If you have a chance to apply for your dream job, don't let being underqualified stop you. Highlight your strengths on your resume, show a willingness to learn, and interview with confidence and your chances may be better than you think. Take charge and have our experienced team at Micro Tech Staffing Group help you find your dream engineering job today.


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