It has happened to all of us, we find this ad for a job that we always wanted. We are so ready to apply for it. We’re so excited, until we see the qualifications. Our hearts sink to our toes. We do not have all the required qualifications for it.
Before throwing in the towel, we should still consider making a bid for that job, even if it seems as if you have an uphill battle to get it. Each job opening is different from the next, despite the job title being the same. Nothing ventured is nothing gained. You may be the person they are looking for, despite the skill set and experience they require for the job. All you have to do is to convince them of that fact.
Here are 5 things you can do that those who get the job use to set them apart from highly qualified candidates.
1. Stand out
From the get go, try to write a unique cover letter or a resume tailor-fitted to the company where you want to work. Though you are already starting at a disadvantage because of lack of experience or skill set, highlight the skills you have already.
If you are looking to work in graphic design, make a unique graphic cover letter. Make a one-page cover letter that shows why you are the right person for your job. Cover letters should not be a summary of your resume. Use the jargon of the industry you want to work in and show your enthusiasm to work for the company.
Include a few samples of your work in the resume. Remember not to make your resume too long. It is not your portfolio. Use strong and positive words when you highlight a skill that they need, despite lack of other qualifications or experience. Quantify your achievements.
2. Do your homework
Go beyond reading up on the company where you want to work. Read the news about it, dig deeper into the industry it operates, check their work environment to see how well the employees interact with each other and how satisfied they are with their job.
Doing your homework and digging deeper beyond the company’s online profile can lead you to opportunities that the company has yet to discover, or a solution to a problem that they are working on. Something that you can use as your foot in the door to getting hired. Your insights may be your ticket to getting that job.
3. Reach out
Don’t just rely on cold submissions. By this, I mean don’t submit your resume to their human resource department. Ask your friends, family or acquaintances if they know someone working for that company instead. Also check LinkedIn to see if you have any connections to that company. Whoever you meet prior to the interview is a great resource in finding out more about the company and perhaps a good word from them for you.
4. Make yourself relevant
Granted, you are not exactly what the company is looking for, be it lack of experience or missing a skill set, just don’t even pretend otherwise.
The more important thing you can do is to connect your experience and qualifications to what the company needs. Even if your experience comes from working in another industry, if you are able to connect that to the company’s goals, the interviewer will be more amenable to overlooking the skills or experience you lack. Also emphasize that you are more than willing to train to catch up to the other skills needed on the job. Don’t bother highlighting skills that are not needed for the job. Keep to showing the skills and experience that are relevant.
5. Be enthusiastic
Show how much you want to work for the company. And show it right away, from your cover letter to the interview. Keep on displaying your interest in the job by following up on interview schedule, showing up early for interviews, and the enthusiasm in your tone. Never let them doubt your interest in working there.
Featured photo credit: Steve Jobs and Bill Gates/Joi Ito via flickr.com