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3 Tips to Overcome the Fear of Applying

Bonny Calfy | October 28, 2016

Many job searches begin with daunting questions like: “Where do I want to live?” and “What is a reasonable starting salary?” And, one of the most unnerving questions, “Am I qualified?”

According to Harvard Business Review, the list of qualifications in a job search that keep 41 percent of women and 46 percent of men from applying is more of a general baseline, as opposed to a set-in-stone requirement. Don’t let the “qualifications” section turn you away from applying for a job. Instead, build your confidence in, and – potentially land that dream job by – doing these three things:

  1. Focus on Your Soft Skills

You don’t have five years of experience? So what? Show employers that what you lack in experience you make up for in your communication techniques, teamwork skills or whatever your talent may be. Highlight these skills in your résumé, then expand on a couple of them in your cover letter. Let employers know about a time in which they positively impacted your work.

For example, if one of your skills is willingness to learn, discuss a time that you didn’t know how to do something and the process you went through to figure it out. Experience is necessary, according to CareerBuilder, 77 percent of HR professionals believe that soft skills are just as important as hard skills, you can’t afford to throw your soft skills out the window.

  1. Network

Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know. If you come across someone who has the exact job you’ve been looking for, don’t be afraid to contact him/her and ask how he/she got there, as well as what he/she thinks about the job. Don’t forget to mention that you are beginning to look for a job and what you aspire to do. That person may be able to put you in contact with someone who has an opening for the very same position.

The most important thing to remember when networking is to be genuine. Even though you are meeting people who could help you get your foot in the door, focus on building life-long professional relationships by keeping in contact with them afterwards. You may find networking difficult or intimidating, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says, 70 percent of jobs are found through networking, so it doesn’t hurt to try!

  1. Understand Your Limits

While the qualifications section is pretty flexible, it is important to remember that those numbers are there for a reason. For example, if the job requires that you have 10 years of experience and you only have two, it probably isn’t the job for you. If you had eight years of experience, however, it would be a little more realistic for you to apply. Also, keep in mind that if a job is looking for someone who is proficient in a certain program, you shouldn’t apply if you’ve never even heard of it. If you have some experience in it, go ahead and apply! Employers don’t expect you to be absolutely perfect, but it’s important to have some sort of idea about what they are looking for in a candidate. According to a good rule of thumb is: If you are 70 percent qualified for the job, you should apply. This allows you room to grow and learn.

Applying for any job can be intimidating, especially when you are fresh out of college or feel as though you are lacking experience. Don’t let that deter you from applying for your dream job. Focusing on your soft skills, networking and understanding your limits could help you land the job you’ve always wanted.

About the author
Author picture, Bonny Calfy
Bonny Calfy
As Paycom’s recruitment marketer team lead, Bonny Calfy writes about such topics as human capital management, company culture, talent acquisition and career advice. Her brand-awareness efforts at Paycom have included launching Paycom Careers’ blog and social media channels, and producing several recruiting videos, all to help attract top talent nationwide. Outside of work, Bonny enjoys reading, fishing and spending time with her son and husband.