Say you apply for a job and you’re ecstatic because you meet every single required qualification. You go through three rounds of interviews and are feeling pretty good about things. Then you get the rejection letter: “Thank you for your time, but we’ve selected another candidate who we felt was a better fit.”
How can someone else be a better fit than you, you wonder, when you have the ideal experience for the position? It’s a question that’s plagued countless job seekers. It also brings great hope to many, however, because it means people are applying for and getting jobs even when they may not meet every requirement in the job description.
So how can you determine if you should apply for a job? Furthermore, once you’ve applied, how can you be noticed as a top candidate? Here are four simple yet effective pieces of advice from the career coaches at GetFive.
Make sure you can perform job duties
Read through the job description and consider whether you would be able to perform the majority of the necessary functions. Imagine a typical day and how you would feel tackling those types of responsibilities. If the job requires good writing skills, do you have experience writing materials necessary to the industry? What’s more, do you enjoy doing those types of tasks? Take time to really think about your abilities, but know you don’t need to be a master of every notation on the job description.
Don’t get hung up on requested skills
You should meet most or all of the required skills, but there is some flexibility here. For example, if the job requires 10 years of management experience, you shouldn’t automatically dismiss the possibility of scoring an interview if you have just seven. Additionally, don’t worry too much about the preferred skills section. These lists include “nice to have, but not necessary” skills. If you have them, be sure to point it out. If not, ignore them — it won’t eliminate you from the running.
Fill holes with transferable skills
Feel you’re a little thin in the experience section, but still really want to apply for a certain position? Focus on your transferable skills. It’s important to connect the dots between the experience you have and what the position calls for. Even if you don’t have the experience, if you can convey how you can handle a certain responsibility based on transferable skills, you’ll pique the interviewer’s interest. The catch: Provide concrete examples to show you have what it takes.
Show confidence and communicate well
Why do under-qualified candidates beat out overqualified ones? Because they show confidence and drive. Employers want to hire someone who is excited about the position and will bring new energy to the table. Conveying your passion while communicating clearly and professionally will leave a lasting impression that can supersede your shortcomings.