July 29, 2013, 2:26 PM — You come across a job opening that even you will admit is a stretch for your experience, background or skills. Keep looking, right?
Actually, career experts say, applying for a long-shot position may be worth your while.
1. Compelling cover letter
You be underqualified when it comes to your resume, but a well-written cover letter can land you an interview. Instead of repeating what's on your resume, explain how your skills will deliver results for the hiring organization.
"One of the strongest things that any job seeker can do with a cover letter is not just talk about their past achievements but identify where they can be of value in the new organization," says Lynn Dixon, co-founder and chief operating officer of Hourly.com
2. Well-respected former employer
If you've worked for a well-known company in your field, that name on your resume could open a door that would otherwise be closed. Even better: A reference from that former employer could go a long way in shoring up gaps in your skill set.
3. On-the-job training
Studies show more and more companies are offering on-the-job training to candidates and may be inclined to overlook experience or skills you're missing.
4. Your reputation proceeds you
Provided you left on good terms, don't be afraid to aim high with a former employer. Hiring managers can talk to your former bosses and coworkers and can get a sense of whether you'd be a good fit, despite not meeting the qualifications on paper.