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How do you apply for a position where you are underqualified?

 
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Hi guys!

I think this is a common barrier to most applicants. What I mean by "underqualified", is that you don't have enough experience or knowledge in a particular technology(e.g. EJB).

So for example, a company A hires a executive search firm B and that B is the one doing recruitment on behalf of the company A. How do you prove yourself worthy to both companies(you'll eventually have to meet with A after B) when you just don't have the knowledge/experience for the job but you think you could learn the technology fast and could be productive in no time? Thanks!
 
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Any half decent company knows the "requirements" are more guidelines. If they want 6 years experience with Java and you have 2 with C# and 3 with Java, I would still apply for the job. If they want 8 years development experience and you have 2, well I wouldn't hold my breadth, so use your judgment. In some cases you may want to explicitly call it out and explain why you feel you would be a good fit despite the lack of an exact fit (e.g. "while you requested 5 years experience with WebLogic and I only have 2, I do have an additional 4 years with Websphere"), in other cases (e.g. they want 8 years of experience and you have 7) just don't bring it up.

If your explanation is "I'm a fast learner" well, don't expect much. Everyone claims to be a fast learner. I say this because not only do I see it in many cover letters, when I ask people why I should hire them 95% of the candidates respond this way. (The other common answer, often given together is "I'm a hard worker.")

So if it's the first case where you feel you need to call out the diferent in skill set and convince them otherwise, you need to cite something specific that you alone can say (e.g. "on this project I didn't know X but quickly got to to speed"), otherwise you're likely going to sound similar to every other candidate and be ignored.

--Mark
 
Timothy Sam
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Hi Mark

Thank you very much! I think I just came up with a very good idea.
 
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Not number of years but what you learned and achieved matters more. Also depends on what you put on your CV and how well you fair in your interview(s).
 
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I am also sailing in same boat like Sam. I worked in 3 companies and in all of them, I had to work in MVC model 1 arch. When I discuss about model 2 and frameworks, business poeple turn them down saying, they don't face any issues as of now. They are earning expected profits now.

I know JSP/Servlets well, but no framework as such. If comany does not give me opportunity how can I get some hands on experience? If I look for new job, they expect experience rather than theoritical knowledge. Pity on me.
 
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Originally posted by Shiv Sidhaarth:
I am also sailing in same boat like Sam. I worked in 3 companies and in all of them, I had to work in MVC model 1 arch. When I discuss about model 2 and frameworks, business poeple turn them down saying, they don't face any issues as of now. They are earning expected profits now.

I know JSP/Servlets well, but no framework as such. If comany does not give me opportunity how can I get some hands on experience? If I look for new job, they expect experience rather than theoritical knowledge. Pity on me.


(For the record, in web programming, MVC = Model 2 and Client/Server = Model 1. Confusing terms won't help in interviews.)

If you're really interested in learning something new, you have to take charge. You can't expect a company to hold your hand through everything. Companies don't sit around thinking, "We really need to take someone under our wing so we can teach them Spring and Hibernate. That'll really boost our profits!"

So you have to show some initiative. There are countless resources available for learning on your own. Between books, online tutorials, and kind folks at JavaRanch, the sky is the limit of what you can accomplish. Apply yourself. Not sure on direction? Try a certification.

If someone is good at showing their initiative in self-study, it's a great sign to a company that the same person will show the same great initiative for the company's benefit.

I strongly agree with what Mark said. Everyone says they are a fast learner. If a person is such a fast learner, then it shouldn't take much self-investment (using free time) to have learned what it is I'm expecting them to know already. When someone says they are a fast learner they need to back up what they say with good examples, otherwise I can assume they are either (1) a liar or (2) too lazy to apply their fabulous learning skills. Neither are favorable qualities.

If a company won't talk to you because they require x years and you have z years, then that's their problem. It probably means they are incapable of recognizing true ability and have to base a decision on who has the greatest number of years with the snazziest companies. However, if a company will talk to you and you can't convince them that you're well qualified, then that's your problem. You need to show more proof.

If you really want something, you have to fight for it. But there's a community of folks here fighting together, so you're not alone. We're all in this thing together.
 
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Originally posted by Marc Peabody:
If you really want something, you have to fight for it. But there's a community of folks here fighting together, so you're not alone. We're all in this thing together.



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