Imagine this: after searching for a long time, you finally come across an attractive job advert. You would even dare to say that it describes your dream job. But when looking at the job offer in more detail, it turns out that your profile does not match with the desired profile. Now what? Will you apply anyway, or take the risk of getting your dream job pass you by? Hear from staffing specialist Walters People what you can and cannot do.  

Be realistic 

First of all, it is particularly important to be realistic. Of course, you cannot work as an engineer, lawyer or nurse without the appropriate training and qualifications. These are professions that require specific knowledge and skills. If you lack those, applying for such a job is a waste of time. Not only for you, but also for the employer. Do you dream of working in such a 'specific' job? Then there is no other option than to start or complete the appropriate training.  

Compare your profile with the profile they are looking for 

Fortunately, there are also certain profiles that can be successful in multiple roles. Think, for instance, of all-round marketers, or professionals with an accounting background. To have a chance of getting the job for which you do not qualify at first sight (because you do not have the required diploma for example), it is best to compare your own profile with the profile the organization is looking for. This will allow you to discover what is expected of you and what requirements you do and do not meet. Make a list of the things you are sure will exceed your capabilities. In each case, write down what you are willing or able to do to obtain those skills.  

Next, identify the strengths you can use to compensate for the requirements you do not meet. Think of it as a kind of analysis from which you can deduce whether you have a chance of getting the job. Maybe you do not have the right diploma for a specific job, but you have built up a lot of knowledge and experience through a previous job, or through your hobby? Make sure to add this to your list as well.  

CV and cover letter 

Once you have done this analysis and you are convinced that you do want to apply for the job, it is time to present yourself in the best possible way. Customize your CV and cover letter according to the position you are applying for. It is important that they are particularly convincing, as you will be at a disadvantage compared to other candidates who have completed the appropriate training. So read carefully which criteria are necessary and indicate clearly if you meet them.  

Then try to focus as much as possible on your strengths and skills and as little as possible on your education. Give concrete examples to reinforce your strengths. This could be a project from a previous job that you are proud of, or you can mention your previous manager as a reference. Despite a different level of education, you undoubtedly have many qualities. It is up to you to make those stand out.  


Being invited for a job interview is already a good sign. It means that the employer wants to give you a chance to 'defend yourself'. But do not assume that the prize is already won. You will be asked many questions about the reason for your application and your education. Anticipate this by preparing your answers thoroughly. If the recruiter asks you to explain why you think you still have a chance for the job, explain again that you know you do not have the right education, but that you think that is exactly what your motivation shows. Very often that motivation is what can make the difference.  

Dare to bluff 

Finally, do not be afraid to 'bluff' a little. This is usually a slight magnification of your achievements or strengths, without exaggerating too much. For example, you can confirm that you did not get the right training but compensate by adding that you have learned a lot by experience and provide concrete examples. But remember lying on your CV or in a job interview is an absolute no-go. If your lies come to light, not only is your reputation ruined, but also your chances of landing that dream job.  


Want to know more?

Download our complete interview guide to be fully prepared for your next interview or take a look at the career advice page on our website! If you're looking for a new challenge, check out our latest vacancies

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