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In this episode, one woman shows us how applying for a job she didn't meet the qualifications for was one of her best career decisions ever. Learn how to better negotiate your salary with the tips in this video:

Through weekly video essays, "Making It Work" showcases how *real* people have upgraded their personal or financial lives in some meaningful way. Making your life work for you doesn't mean getting rich just for the sake of it. It means making the most of what you have to build a life you love, both in your present and in your future. And while managing money is a crucial life skill for everyone, there's no one "right way" to go about it — you have to figure out what works best for *you,* full stop.

Video narration by Heidi Kwiat

Video by Grace Lee

Based on an essay by Kimberly Bui

The Financial Diet site:

Statistics show that men will apply for jobs when they are 60% qualified.

But women will only apply if they are 100% qualified. Up until recently, I was a part of that statistic.

A few months ago, I was talking with my male coworker in a different department. We realized that we were in very similar stages of our career. We both had senior level positions open up in our respective departments and the opportunity to advance, even though we didn't fully meet the qualifications.

When I asked him if he was going to apply for the position, he replied, absolutely, with zero hesitation. He had already told his managers at his last performance review that he was aiming to be a senior consultant within a year. And this was his opportunity.

His answer shocked me. It was just so direct. I, on the other hand, wasn't so sure if I wanted to go through with a job application when I knew I didn't stand a chance of getting it.

He encouraged me to apply for it anyway. But I still had my doubts. For one thing, I knew I wasn't going to be the strongest candidate.

I knew the other candidates who would be applying for this position. And the majority of them had more education, experience, and seniority than me. This was also a supervisory position in my department.

And two of my colleagues had already been acting in the position for over 18 months. Lastly, a couple of the candidates had already completed the related certificate program that I was only halfway through. The odds were not in my favor.

Over the next few weeks, I debated on whether or not I wanted to try to go for it. And I reluctantly submitted my application on the last day. A week later, I received a request to schedule my interview and test.

By this time, I had silenced the self-doubt and proceeded with studying for the interview and test. And I do mean study. Not only did I need to prepare for it like any other interview, but the work required a lot of technical knowledge.

So I had to study for the test part as well. In the end, I didn't get the job. But after the interview, my managers met with me to discuss my application.

They told me that even though I didn't get the job, I had an excellent interview and tested extremely well. They encouraged me to keep working on improving my skills. A few months later, I had my performance review.

After we went through the typical stuff, my managers lingered and finally asked me how I would feel about starting an acting position. My managers explained that while my supervisor will be taking on additional responsibilities, her portfolio would need some help. Since I had been working on improving my qualifications and did so well during the interview process, they decided to promote temporarily into an acting position part time for the next six months.

This question completely took me aback. Of course, I was delighted and accepted. However, after it sank in, I had a throwback to that moment when I was reading the job posting and wondering if I should even apply.

At the time, I kept asking myself, isn't this a waste of time? Little did I know that I would be promoted a few months later because I had raised my hand and said, yes, I want this. Pick me.

This experience brought to light my biggest career struggle, moving up the career ladder. While I've always been able to get a job, I struggled with advancing my career. It's a catch-22.

I can't get a higher-level job because I don't have the experience. But I can't get the experience unless I actually work in a higher-level job. While I was content with getting almost any job when I was starting off in my career, I'm now looking to break free of the entry level roles I've been doing for years.

I've always felt the need to prove that I belong in a role or a career. And that's limited me to only applying for roles where I knew I could excel because I already had the skills. This has potentially cost me opportunities that could have helped me accelerate my career more quickly.

Even when I was preparing for the interview, I was still internally pushing the narrative that I didn't really deserve this job. But I would use it as a learning experience. I had decided to go through with the interview.

But I was still shielding myself from pursuing a promotion I knew I had earned. I should have gone for the job, because I'm really good at what I do. And my interview and test results showed it.

This situation taught me something I had never experienced in my career before. And that is clearly voicing my goals and taking ownership of my worth, even if it feels uncomfortable. As I head further into my career.

I'm going take a more proactive role in how my career progresses and not let it be based on a set checklist that I feel like I have to tick off. I'm also going to allow myself to be more open to ambition and disappointment in my career. People always say, ask for your worth.

But for me, my insecurity skewed my perception of my worth. It could have been so easy for me to say, well, I'm not fully qualified for this and there are plenty of better candidates, and to get stuck in my own imposter syndrome. However, I've learned that stepping into my imposter syndrome and facing the fear is way better than avoiding it.

Did I feel like a fraud in my new position? Yes. But would it have been better for me to stay where I'm comfortable just to avoid that uncomfortable feeling?

No. I'm starting to accept that leaning into the uncomfortable parts of personal and career growth is just a part of the ride.