Meaning of "being qualified for a job"

What do you understand by the phrase, “I am qualified for this job”? Poll to follow

My understanding is that “qualified” means having the requisite skills, experience, ability, etc. Essentially it means, “I am able to do this job.”

However, my Indian relatives understand “qualified” to mean holding the formal paperwork—degrees, certifications, licensures, endorsements, etc.—that some person in authority has declared it mandatory before a candidate can be considered for the job.

What do you understand by this?

US: both of the choices together is what I think of, depending on the specific job. If the job requires a degree or credential, then that trumps just having the skills.

In my view, you can have the degrees and credentials and still be unqualified, because you’re just really awful.

That may be true, but that’s not what I think of when I hear the phrase.

Australia: I’d say both are implied - skill/experience and qualifications.

US. I have the skills and experience necessary to successfully carry out the duties of the job. Papers don’t guarantee that. But it’s a perfectly reasonable measure in many areas.

Either, skilled at the tasks the job entails, or hardly about to say otherwise in the cover letter.

It depends on how old you are. We separate hiring into new college grads and experienced. NCGs are expected to only have the proper degree, and are not at all expected to know anything about the field or how jobs actually go. For experienced people the experience usually counts more than the degree.
If someone who has been in the workforce for 15 years starts bringing up their degree as a qualification, I’d be very suspicious.

There are some jobs which require specific qualifications, but these usually have term of art associated with them: a member of the bar, a credentialed teacher, a Professional Engineer, a registered this or certified that. If a member of such a profession told me that he was “fully qualified,” I’d assume he had the necessary education and that extra piece of paper. For most jobs, though, there is no such thing, and to say you’re a qualified – say, HR manager – is to say you’ve got the education and experience necessary to do the job, with exactly what’s necessary being ultimately in the eye of the beholder.

I view it as having the skills, which may require having the diploma (I am not hiring a “civil engineer” who doesn’t hold a civil engineer degree, period; for many other things, a specific degree is nowhere near as important); ads tend to shorthand it to having the diplomas.

I would express the second option by “I* have the qualifications *neccessary for the job” To me, UK English, “I am qualified” is inclusive of having the papers and/or the experience and the skills.

When I’m looking at a stack of resumes, how am I supposed to know you are “qualified” if you don’t have the relevent degrees, certifications or work experience?

On many job ads I’ve seen it will say “if you don’t hold the degree, explain why you are qualified”. This would be written up in the cover letter.

For me, it means that you either hold qualifications, or have relevant experience.

As a wild guess… not all jobs need degrees or certificates. If you’re hiring someone to scrub toilets having hands and ability to spray the tile clean on the tile as opposed to, say, in their eyes might be all the qualifications needed.

My guess is that would be covered under “relevant degree” in the post.


It means both. A person with a professional designation but none of the required skills or experience is not qualified. A person with the necessary skills and experience but without the required professional designation is not qualified.

If I had to pick one, I’d go with the first, since all jobs require some measure of skills and experience. Nevertheless, a skilled, experienced doctor who is not licensed to practice medicine is not qualified for a job practicing medicine.

If you look a the poll, “degrees and formal paperwork” and “skills and experience” are two different choices.

I tend to agree that both encompass the term “qualifications.” I consider a degree/certification a “minimum requirement” for jobs that require it. If someone says they are “qualified” I expect them to have the degree (where required) AND experience enough to do the job’s actual duties.

I hire people for critical positions. First and foremost before they even get an interview, we see if they have the proper degree, license, and other necessary certifications and papers.

If they’re qualified to interview for the position by providing the above proof, then I talk to them and see if they can actually do the job.