If You Think You’re Qualified For the Job, You’re Aiming WAY Too Low

If You Think You’re Qualified For the Job, You’re Aiming WAY Too Low

Yeah, you.

Creatives. You, in our industry. Creating the best logos, coming up with the best website designs, writing groundbreaking copy, you need to be doing more things before you think you’re qualified for them. Every job I’ve ever had, I didn’t think I was qualified for. Now this isn’t just imposter syndrome, which Psychology Today defines as

“a pattern of behavior where people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud.”

It isn’t just doubting your abilities the same way it’s scary to ask for a raise. It’s thinking everyone else applying is better. Here’s a secret: WE’RE ALL FAKING IT. Anyone doing something new and exciting in their career is nervous, learning on the fly, Googling industry jargon, and watching YouTube tutorials every day. Like we said in our blog about how universities are failing advertising students— what you’re capable of relies less on what you know and more on how quickly you can learn and change the game for yourself.

It’s hard, but worth it.

Here are some examples. As a college second-year, I applied to be Editor in Chief of our Her Campus magazine regional chapter. The only applicable thing on my resume was being the centerspread editor of my high school newspaper and some random writing and design samples. I got it. As a college third-year, I applied to be a part-time ghostwriter for a publishing house. I hadn’t graduated from journalism yet, and the stuff on my resume was all school material and personal writing samples. Don’t believe I was the best interviewee either. After three months I was promoted to Associate Publisher.

As a graduate, I kept applying specifically for things I thought were beyond my qualifications.

Another magazine editor in chief position. Ghostwriting freelancing, novel by novel. Tech writing. Social media manager. Public relations lead. Marketing & creative strategy director for a tech startup. Every single time I decided to go all-in and submit my resume, I’d hear the echo of one of my professors, something he said my freshman year that has stayed with me ever since:

“You don’t need to be 100% qualified for any position. Learn the jargon, practice interviewing, and then Google literally everything else on your first day.”

It once was a scary way to live. Now, it’s the only way I live. Stop selling yourself to boring, half-assed, easy jobs. Go for what you really want, no matter who you think you’re up against. You won’t get all of them. But it only takes one to get the ball rolling. Stop waiting until you graduate. Stop waiting until you take more GA courses. Stop waiting until you can say you have three years’ experience. Start getting published now, even in small publications. Win competitions that reward being bold. Get a web design award just for your online portfolio. Get logo inspiration from underdog brands, not the big players everyone else is trying to emulate. Stop waiting. And once you’re out there, hit us up. Rock Candy Media didn’t become the best ad agency in Texas by hiring the people with the longest resumes.


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