“I would love to apply for that job…but I’m not really qualified.”

Over the years, I’ve heard people utter this phrase in some variation over and over again, and it makes me sad simply because it is rarely true. Now, granted, if you didn’t pass biology in college, you probably aren’t qualified to work as a doctor, but people don’t give themselves enough credit. When you combine your experience, your passion and interests, your education, and other pieces of the you-puzzle, you’re actually qualified for tons of jobs out there. You have all the cheeseburger qualifications you need to get started down a career path you love right now.

This burger must be especially epic. Just look at those flames.

Wait, what? Cheeseburger qualifications?

I swear I’m not pregnant, though I have been making some weird food references in posts here lately!

Think about the perfect cheeseburger. Or veggie burger, if meat isn’t your thing. Whatever. When you’re craving a cheeseburger and finally take that first bite, it is so good. My favorite time to eat a cheeseburger (really, it’s sad that I’ve mentally ranked cheese-burger eating situations) is at a chilly high school football team. You buy a burger from the boosters club and chow down as your teeth chatter and you cheer for your favorite players. Delicious.

But let’s think about a cheeseburger for a second.

First, you have the burger itself. Hamburger is not the best type of meat in the world in terms of taste or quality. It’s…well…the ground-up left-overs when you take out the steaks and roasts from cattle. It’s pretty low on the food chain.

Then there’s the cheese, typically yellow American. Really? Yellow American cheese? And I love this food? It’s not like the cheese is imported from France or handmade at a local dairy farm. Again, it’s the lowest of low in the cheese category.

Next, you have bread. Erm…ok, nothing special there. This isn’t like, brick-oven homemade bread from your Grandmother. This is just regular, processed buns. Often stale because they’ve been sitting out all night.

Even when you consider the “extras” you can use to top your cheeseburger, ain’t nothing special coming to the party! Ketchup. Onions. Lettuce. Pickles, if you’re really fancy-pants. These are all boring at best.

Yet somehow, when you combine all of these things together…magic. You have a juicy, melty, mouth-watering cheeseburger that pairs best with some potatoes you sliced and fried in oil and a coke. Diet coke if you’re like me, because in my warped min, choosing diet soda somehow makes a burger-n-fries meal healthy.

Your parts may not be impressive, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t a really good cheeseburger. You do have to consider the employer’s ad (they may specify that they’re only accepting candidates with master’s degrees, for example) and your abilities to do the job in question (again, if you don’t understand biology, you don’t qualify to be a doctor). However, don’t psych yourself out! You can be your own worst enemy when thumbing through job openings.

Sometimes, it’s even worth ignoring an employer’s initial instructions if you are confident that you can do the job well. Once, I applied for a writing job where it was required that you have at least one year of experience working in a certain industry. I didn’t…but I did write about the same industry in the past, with much success, and I have family members who do work in that industry to serve as my go-to resources for information. Cheeseburger qualification, maybe, but I ultimately got the job.

It takes balls to apply to a job when you know you’ll be up against more qualified individuals. Keep in mind that your experience and education aren’t the only things that matter to an employer, though. Do you mesh well with their other employees? Are you a team player? Do you learn quickly and take initiative? Are you a fresh perspective in the field?

All of this talk about qualifications extends to entrepreneurs as well. Once, I talked to someone who was extremely interested in a certain niche, but didn’t want to start a blog (and ultimately, an online business through the blog) in this niche because it was just an interest. Everyone else in that niche had professional qualifications.

Just an interest is enough! At least, it’s enough to get started. Your experiences in life, your point of view, your ideas…they qualify you. Saying that you don’t qualify is just talking yourself out of a good idea, and frankly, that’s a mechanism we all use when we’re scared. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.

You can.

All of this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work to improve your qualifications. We should all strive to be better in whatever we’re doing. Just don’t let your lack of degree in a certain field or lack of past experience working in a related job deter you from applying for jobs that you know you could do or opening a business you know could be successful. There are already a lot of people who will try to stand in your way. Don’t be your own roadblock.

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