Can I apply for that?

Career Blog

Published: April 20, 2015 by Jill Klees

“How do I know if I am qualified to apply for a position?” I get asked this question more often than you’d think. While the answer seems simple, there are most definitely key factors to consider.

Students and recent grads contact me out of frustration and disappointment from applying for positions and receiving no response back from employers. Over time, this can take a toll on your level of confidence, as each time you apply for a position you are a hopeful that you will at least receive a phone screen.

When there is a consistent lack of employer response, my first thought is either the resume is not doing its job or this person is applying for positions they are not qualified to do. To rule out a resume issue, review the Resume section on the iSchool Career Development pages and check out the most recent LIS Resume Career Workshop recording for tips on targeting your resume.

If it might be a job qualification issue, review the tips below to see if you need to alter your job search strategy. When applying for jobs:

  1. You must meet the minimum or required qualifications in order to be considered.

TIP: this is an easy first step for employers to screen out candidates. If you do not meet the minimum requirements, save yourself the time and don’t apply.

  1. You meet at least 75% of the preferred qualifications.

TIP: employers often (not always) list these qualifications in order of importance so if you only meet the bottom qualifications, this position might be a long shot. But if you meet most of these qualifications, than go for it and apply.

  1. You meet the education requirement.

TIP: this is an easy requirement for employers to quickly verify. Be sure you identify if your MLIS needs to be completed prior to applying or if the employer will accept applications from those close to graduation.

  1. You have followed ALL application requirements and answered ALL supplemental questions completely.

TIP: not following employer application instructions is an automatic weed out of the candidate pool.

  1. You want this job! Does your resume demonstrate you can do it?

TIP: your resume needs to make a positive impression fast! Imagine you are choosing from the pool of candidates, would you pick your resume out of the pile? Consider ways you can boost your chances of getting your application documents into the “Call Back” pile.

In the end, if you honestly feel like you can do this job and you have followed all 5 tips above, than apply for the position knowing that you did your best. You will receive a much higher return on your investment of time when you adopt a purposeful and intentional job search strategy.