5 Steps to Figuring Out if You're Qualified for a Job Before You Apply

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
July 14, 2024 at 4:37PM UTC

When you’re just starting out in the job market or looking for a new role, you may be wondering, “What jobs am I qualified for?” Chances are, you have many skills but may not know which ones can apply to the professional world. Quizzes can be helpful but don’t necessarily tell you how to find your perfect fit. If you’re wondering where to start, keep reading.

How do I know what job I qualify for?

You may have ideas about what jobs appeal to you, but how do you know whether you’re actually qualified? Or, maybe you don’t have the slightest idea of what jobs match your interests. Here are some ways to get your job hunt off the ground.

1. Determine which careers interest you.

If you’re not sure how to apply your interests to a career, this is an important first step. Make a list of the activities you like to do and passions you have. They don’t have to be career-related. Once you have your list, research how people apply your interests to the job world. For instance, if you’re an avid reader, you might want to look into publishing. 

Consider the topics that inspire and challenge you. If you have a college degree, your major can be a good place to start, although you don’t necessarily need to find a job that’s related to what you studied in school. Look to your hobbies and the way you spend your free time, too.

Use multiple methods to research careers, rather than simply doing a Google search (although this can be a good place to start). Reach out to people in your network, as well as friends and family. If you have some potential careers in mind, see if you can do an externship or speak with someone in the field. Informational interviews can give you insight as well, and LinkedIn is also a good place to start networking with professionals in different industries.

2. Assess your skills. 

Of course, interest alone is not enough to land you a job. You need to have the skills, too. 

Even if you haven’t had a lot of work experience, you still have plenty of skills. Consider:

• Skills that you developed in previous roles, such as summer jobs, work-study or internships

• Transferable skills

Soft skills

Make a list of your skills, and then think about how they align with the careers that interest you. This will also take some research because you probably don’t know everything that’s required for different roles. 

3. Ask around.

Even if your friends and family members aren’t career counselors, they can still be a valuable resource for determining which jobs you’re qualified for. Try asking what they think your best qualities are and even what job they picture you having and doing. They may offer different perspectives and insights on what qualities they admire most about you, which can help you determine jobs for which you’re best suited. 

4. Note the qualifications required of jobs that interest you.

You can find out what qualifications you’ll need for the careers on your list by perusing job boards, company websites and job search sites. Look at the requirements, as well as the preferred qualifications. Keep in mind that these requirements aren’t always set in stone, but they’re a good starting point. Plus, you should be noting trends across different listings — so if, say, a proficiency in Adobe Suite is a must-have across all or most job listings, then you know it’s a skill you need to have for that job. 

If you don’t have a particular position in mind but are interested in a certain industry, keep your search terms broad. 

5. Make a plan.

Ultimately, you want to find a job that matches your qualifications and interests. Once you’ve narrowed down your list to a handful of potential fits, think about what you need to do to land a job or even an interview. You may have most or all of the necessary qualifications, but you’ll still need to put in some time and effort. 

For example, even many entry-level positions require an internship. Look into whether you need to complete one prior to landing a job in your desired field. You should also note any missing qualifications, such as courses or certificates. Even if these aren’t required, they will boost your candidacy. 

Write down your goals, and then map out a plan to achieve them, accounting for missing skills, work experience and other factors that will help you land your dream job

How do I get a job that I am not qualified for?

1. Don’t take the requirements in the job description as the be-all and end-all.

Often, employers post wish lists of requirements. Even if your experience and qualifications don’t match what they’ve stated they’re looking for exactly, don’t get too hung up on your missing skills. Apply anyway; many times, the winning candidates don’t have resumes that match the precise job description but make up for it with additional experiences or other skills. 

2. Spin your experience.

You may well have applicable experience, even if not explicitly so. For example, perhaps you’ve coordinated a group in a club or organization in college, which you could describe as managerial experience in your resume. The main objective is understanding which experiences and skills can apply to different roles. Chances are, you have many transferable experience and skills; you just need to consider how to phrase them.

3. Demonstrate your enthusiasm.

While your excitement about a role probably won’t make up for a complete lack of experience, it will help you win over a recruiter or hiring manager who is considering inviting you in for an interview. Make sure to convey your passion for the job in your cover letter, going beyond your skills and experience to explain why this role is truly your dream.

Of course, some jobs simply require certain skills or experience. For example, you can’t become a physician without attending medical school and completing a residency program. However, there are certainly gray areas for many professions, and you shouldn’t assume you can’t land a job that asks for certain skills you may be lacking.

What are the easiest jobs to get with no experience?

In today’s job market, even many entry-level positions require internships or even full-time experience in the industry. However, that’s not the case with all jobs. The following jobs require little to no previous experience. (Keep in mind that while the below jobs don’t require extensive experience in the role, some do require courses, on-the-job training or certifications.)

Customer service representative

• Real estate agent

• Oilfield worker

• Driver

• Web developer

• Claims adjuster

• Library technician

• Administrative assistant

• Construction manager

• Security guard

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