Most of what you need to succeed in your work involves skills you never took a class to acquire. And that can complicate the application process. When you look at the qualifications for entry-level jobs, many of the items on the list may be things you have not yet encountered.
1.Focus on Your Transferable Skills
The requirements listed in job descriptions are guidelines, not hard and fast rules. You don’t have to satisfy every requirement or meet every qualification listed. If your skills are transferable and you are in the ballpark with the number of years of experience the company’s looking for, apply. Applying gives you the opportunity to be considered.
Demonstrate how the experience you do have makes you the perfect fit—even without meeting every single requirement. So instead of saying “I don’t have X skill,” say: “My experience executing on ABC would position me for success in this way. . .”
2. Don’t Hold yourself Back
Gender makes a difference when you look to answer the question, “Should I apply to a job where I don’t have all the requirements?” Men will apply to jobs regardless of their alignment with required qualifications. If they want the job, they’ll go for it. Let’s dispel the myth that you have to meet the 100 percent so many women are holding out for. Women are much more hesitant, and look for nearly perfect alignment before going for a job. If you are at least 60% qualified, you should go for it.
3. Read Between the Lines
Honestly, many job descriptions are merged together, based on what that company may have listed before. And in many cases, job descriptions are meant to weed people out who won’t even take the time to apply because they think they’re unqualified. Some qualifications are even contradictory Rarely does a person meet every single bullet, so if you feel like you meet the core competencies, you should apply.
4. Show your Value through your Cover Letter
The job description is basically the employer’s wish list for what the company’s hoping to find in a candidate; it’s not a checklist. An applicant may meet all the stated criteria but still lack some crucial quality that makes him the right fit for the job. If you meet at least some qualifications and are really excited about the position and confident that you would be a good choice, convey that enthusiasm in your cover letter. Draw the reader’s attention to your qualifications and highlight strengths that make you worthy of consideration. How would you contribute in a unique and positive way? How have you made a difference in other settings? Taking the time to personalize the cover letter can really pay off.
The takeaway? Being the “right fit” for a job is about so much more than your resume showing all the criteria posted in a listing. Polish that portfolio, pay special attention to the open position, and apply. You got this.