Recently I was browsing the careers website of a company that I'm interested in working for (because I like the industry).

They were advertising a role as a Solution Architect. As a developer with one year experience, I'm probably not qualified for this role.

However, the advert didn't explicitly request x number of years, or experience with specific technologies, but rather experience designing architecture solutions, and soft skills like stakeholder management.

This is experience I can say I've developed in my current role.

The question is - are there any long term negative consequences of applying for a job that I'm probably not experienced enough for?

  • (1) Worst case: you'll get ignored because you're totally unqualified - that's just about the only consequence. For almost all of them, you are not even worth a form email rejection. (2) Not-so-bad case: you have some relevant experience that you can claim, and maybe they're willing to take you aboard as entry level or junior level if they think that you are bright. If you don't send in your resume, you'll never know if you could have had a chance. In this not-so-bad-case, the worst that happens to you is that they say "No". In both cases, you have nothing to lose by sending in your resume. Apr 11, 2014 at 2:29
  • No. Maybe you'll learn something. At worst you just won't be offered the job. Just don't pretend to be qualified if you're not. Instead point out that you're enthusiastic and a fast learner.
    – aroth
    Apr 11, 2014 at 3:15
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    I don't think it's a duplicate. That question was about interviewing for a position where the company had searched them out (and they hadn't applied), and this is about even applying. Apr 11, 2014 at 16:14
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    @VietnhiPhuvan, If you really want to work for this company, you probably don't want to get on their "rejected" list, so there is some risk here.
    – cdkMoose
    Apr 11, 2014 at 17:56
  • @cdkMoose: I am not excessively worried. My quals usually just get better and stronger with every week or month that passes :) And even if I am rejected at any time, there tons of companies out there. I screwed up an interview for a top technical caliber position at a top company once. It was an unfortunate outcome but I learned a hell of a lot in terms of what I additionally needed to do and know to be successful if I were to interview for a similar position anywhere else. If I run into a wall and bang my head into it, I get up and try again: this time, I am looking for the door :) Apr 11, 2014 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


Short Answer: As long as you're honest, there usually aren't any negative consequences, though you'll likely not get the job.

Longer answer:

Coming from someone who's applied to many, many jobs he's not qualified for, the most likely response you'll get is no response, or the "thanks but no thanks" email 3 months later.

Hiring managers have a general sense of what kind of skills and experience they're looking for on a candidate's resume, and will only get back to you if you seem to match what they're looking for. The interview comes next, which can further weed out candidates who wouldn't be a good fit for the team.

My point is that if they don't think that you would be a good fit for the role, either technically or professionally, they will likely not extend you an offer. If they do extend you an offer, they think that you do, in fact, know enough technical knowledge to satisfactorily perform within the job.

This is, of course, assuming that you're being honest with the hiring manager and the company you're applying to. All in all, the only negative consequence that can result from applying for a job you aren't qualified for is if you are being dishonest about your skills or experience, both of which will be verified anyway. After all, reputation means quite a lot when searching for jobs, and the last thing you want to be known for is being dishonest.


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