Why I want the job I’m not qualified for


I just read “How to get a job you’re not qualified for” on Penelope Trunk’s blog: Brazen Careerist. I think this may be just the thing I need to hear to keep me from feeling utterly overwhelmed and hopeless in the anticipation of venturing into the career world. She explains that only taking jobs for which you’re qualified flattens your learning curve and prevents you from taking on new challenges.

This makes sense. At the least, I want to believe it makes sense. I have high aspirations and I feel like my experience and work is relevant, but it doesn’t conform to any of the interesting job postings I’ve reviewed lately. I’ve worked a variety of jobs, from receptionist at a paper box manufacturer to children’s birthday party host at a community rec center. I’ve served Mexican food and read children’s books. I’ve sorted legal documents and edited sermons. None of these jobs technically provide the 2 to 3 years of industry experience that most listings seem to demand. I do think, however, that my diverse range of work experience has taught me some valuable things – how to work with customers, manage my time independently, and not to be afraid to ask questions. Most importantly, I’ve learned how to adjust to new positions and challenge myself to excel.

But if I believe in myself, is that enough? Frankly, I’m still feeling rather terrified at the thought of marching confidently into an interviewer’s office, resume in hand, and proclaiming myself “a better candidate, better than they know they need,” as Trunk described it. But I can follow her advice by developing my own interests and projects, taking my education into my own hands, and just applying. The more I learn, both in class and in my own research and online exploration, the more comfortable I am with the prospect of jumping feet-first into “the real world” and refusing to take the job I’m “qualified” for.


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