Q. I know that I should only be applying for positions that I am qualified for, but I found my dream job. Problem is it requires an MBA and I don’t have one. I feel like I am a perfect fit for the role but am afraid I won’t even be considered. Should I even bother?
A. Definitely bother. But go in eyes wide open.
Long gone are the days when companies could inflate requirements in order to secure ridiculously over-qualified candidates. Nowadays, when an organization requires, say, a specific level of education, it is generally bound to hire a candidate that meets that qualification. There are ways for organizations to hire a candidate that does not meet the required qualifications, but it is not likely.
Having said that, there is no reason to not apply for your dream job and make the case for why you are a strong fit despite lacking a key qualification. Here are two tips:
• Make sure your resume is extremely accomplishments focused and that it is precisely targeted to the role you are pursuing. You need to make sure that readers can easily determine just how well suited you are for the position.
• Tactfully address your lack of a qualification in the cover letter. To be clear, I almost never recommend speaking to the lack of a qualification, but this is a one-off case. Even still, you want to speak directly to the lacking qualification but move right on to why you are still a strong candidate. In this instance you might say something like:
“I see that the IT Manager position requires an MBA. While I don’t offer an MBA, I do bring a BS in Computer Science and 18 years enterprise level technology management experience, over 10 years more than the 6-8 years of experience you are seeking.”
When a seemingly perfect opportunity arises, go for it. Just be prepared to go the extra mile to overcome a qualifications gap and be extremely realistic about your chances. You go in with a significant disadvantage, but you’ve got nothing to loose.