You're dying to apply for a killer job you just found. It looks nearly perfect. But there's one tiny problem—you're underqualified.
Do you go for it, or let it pass on by?
It depends. And, while there's no perfect answer or formula for this, here are a few instances in which you should (and shouldn't) take a run at a job that looks amazing, even it feels slightly out of reach.
Should: You're just a bit shy on years of experience
The job description asks for seven to 10 years of experience. You have just under six, and a little more if you count the (entirely) relevant internship you took on while finishing your degree.
Dear heavens, go for it. Now, you'll want to make sure and make it clear that you've got the knowledge, business acumen, and maturity of someone with that seven to 10 years of experience (your cover letter is a good place to strongly hint toward all these things), and you may want to include that internship (just in case they're officially doing the math), but don't let a small shortage scare you away.
Shouldn't: You're not even in the ballpark
Now, if you're only a year or two into your career, you may be wasting your time going after a role that requires several additional years. Is it impossible? Maybe not, but it's improbable, especially if you follow the "normal" application process of uploading your resume through an online portal.
Instead, I'd consider working to uncover a similar, but maybe earlier stage opportunity at the same company or, if you are hell-bent on taking a run at it, find a direct "in" at that organization. You're going to need an opportunity to state your case directly with a human decision maker (because the resume scanning software will more than likely rule you out).