Main image of article Poll: How Many of You Would Apply for a 'Stretch Job'?

Last week, we offered some quick advice about applying for tech jobs you’re potentially underqualified for. Bottom line: if you highlight your transferrable skills, personal projects, and learning agility, you often have a solid shot at landing a “stretch” role. But how many tech professionals are actually attempting this?

To answer that question, we tossed up a poll on LinkedIn. As you can see from the chart below, many of the 1,284 respondents are willing to apply for positions they’re potentially underqualified for, although a sizable percentage will only target specific jobs. (One quick caveat: we don’t have granular insight into the respondents’ backgrounds, and chances are good that many of them aren’t tech professionals—but that being said, a high number of those following Dice on LinkedIn likely work in tech.)

Whether you’re a brand-new technology professional without any work experience, or a mid-level specialist who wants to make a big leap into a new role, there are some key ways to present yourself as more than a match for any job on offer. For example:

  • Highlight your soft skills: No matter what the role, effective mastery of “soft skills” such as empathy and communication is key. In your resume and application materials, show how you’ve used your soft skills to help previous employers, personal project groups, and others achieve their goals.

  • Pull achievements from everywhere: You can use successful school activities, personal projects, and open-source collaborations to show that you have what it takes to get the job done, even if you lack formal job experience.

  • Online courses and certifications: If you show you have the knowledge (and can demonstrate it during a technical interview), you may have a solid shot at landing the role, especially if you’ve specialized in a more esoteric aspect of tech such as machine learning

  • Personalize your resume and application: You’ll want to show the hiring manager and/or recruiter that you care very much about that specific job for reasons that tie into your personal and professional history. Remember: passion goes a long way toward helping you nail a position.

Given the current demand for tech talent, many recruiters and hiring managers are willing to give candidates a solid shot, even if those candidates don’t necessarily align with every aspect of the original job posting. As our poll shows, many tech pros are also happy to apply for those “stretch” roles… after all, what do they have to lose?