Why You Should Go For The Job Even If You Don’t Meet The Description Qualifications
You come across a job posting that sounds perfect for you — great benefits, a solid company, a position nicely in line with the next step in your plan. But then you read the qualifications listed in the posting, and you realize you’re missing a few. We have all been there. Don’t close out of the posting just yet, though. Here’s why you should apply even if you don’t fit every single part of the job description.
First, we want to clarify that if you meet no qualifications in the job posting, you’ll be hard-pressed to expect a reply from the company. If you find yourself in this situation, just use it as motivation to gain some of the experience needed to eventually fill the role (or a similar one).
But what about those who are missing just a few characteristics in the job description? Well, the listed qualifications on job descriptions are not always the be-all and end-all. There’s room to explore the possibility that though you may not have the exact experience the company is asking for on paper, you could still be qualified… if you can prove that you can do the job.
Here are four tips for navigating the situation and leveraging what experience and skills you do have to help you get that job.
1. Prove that your skills are transferable.
That description might say that ideal candidates have at least three years of coding experience, but you have two years of coding experience and have helped your current company redesign its website’s front page as a project. Maybe a company wants a designer with experience using Adobe Photoshop, but instead of Adobe, you used similar programs and have the graphics portfolio to prove it. These are excellent examples of how you can describe your skills in context to make up for the “number” or the recommended experience. If you can manage to make a connection between a skill you gained and the skill the company wants you to have, you can consider yourself qualified.
2. Offer to complete a pre-interview project.
If you’re able to get into direct contact with someone at the company you’re applying with, you could offer to “show and tell” your skills instead of saying that you simply don’t have all of the boxed checked on the job description. Especially if you’re in a creative industry, highlighting your strengths visually could give you a leg up — possibly even over those with more on-paper experience.
3. Use keywords.
Just as you search certain terms while job searching, companies and recruiters search certain terms to find good candidates. So know what keywords can sum up your experience quickly while attracting the eye of your desired employer. For example, if you’re trying to get an editing and writing position, you not only want to include the words “editor” and “writer,” but you also want to consider other hot words like “SEO,” “newsletter,” “social media” and “aggregation,” if applicable to you. Get specific, and try to include as many keywords as you can in a cover letter or initial message without sounding spammy.
4. Admit what areas you need to (and are willing to) grow in.
Sometimes, you can’t just transfer a certain skill to an attribute the company is looking for. If you’re applying for that editing position but the company wants someone with video experience as well and you haven’t ever picked up a professional video camera, that’s not a detail you can necessarily skip over. Sometimes, it’s better to admit that you don’t have experience in certain areas but make it clear that you’re willing and eager to learn the skill quickly if given the opportunity to have the position.
Remember: it truly is unlikely that a company will only take candidates with the exact qualifications that they list into consideration. There are other factors to hiring a good candidate, like personality, whether the candidate is a good culture fit and what skills and experience he or she brings to the table that can help the company grow. You still have a shot even if you feel like you’re taking a shot in the dark. And who knows… you might just get what you want.