Applying for a job can be a daunting task – especially in today’s market, where companies have high expectations in terms of educations/experience, even for entry-level roles! Fear not, this article is here to quell that fear, and give you the knowledge required to apply for your dream job!
The reason companies ask for a certain number of years of experience is for them be certain that you have and therefore can perform the job successfully. However, this needn’t be a limiting factor anymore. The following are some things to keep in mind while applying for a job that you are under-qualified for, in terms of experience at least:
First, assess whether you can succeed at this job. If the responsibilities are far above what you’re comfortable with, maybe another job is better suited for you. However, if you meet 75% or more of the requirements, then it is worth trying your hand at it.
According to industry experts, companies are willing to hire you even if you don’t meet all the necessary years of experience. A role that requires 6+ years of experience is unlikely to be given to a candidate with 2 years. However, that candidate may be the most eligible for a position that asks for only 3 years.
Before you apply, introspect on the following:
- Have you done similar work?
- Are you confident that you can take on the responsibility?
- Is this a job you can perform successfully?
Prove your Ability
Without the required experience, you must possess the skill and knowledge to handle this job. Recruiters are most interested in whether you have the ability to perform in this role. Let them know that you have valuable skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and decision-making. Employers are looking for the best person for the job, not the best resumé.
Remember, you need not know everything about the role or have all the necessary knowledge for the job. Employers realistically expect a learning curve, and you can learn how best to cater to your responsibilities on the job. Be enthusiastic about this process and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’re not expected to know it all.
Tailor your Resumé
Recruiters screen hundreds of resumés daily. To make your resumé really stand out from the crowd, tailor it to fit the role you are applying for. Highlight your career progression, skills and key qualities that are stated in the job description and showcase achievements that will further your prospects.
Include any transferable skills that you might have acquired in previous jobs/college, as well as experience that may not be in the same job but in relevant settings.
Finally, when possible, describe accomplishments in quantitative terms (like units sold, money saved, amount of data processed, or the number of projects delivered). Don’t forget to spell check — you want it to be perfect.
Include references from your previous endeavours, to boost your resumé. As stated above, employers are looking for the best people to fill a position. This includes personality traits such as adaptability, willingness to work in teams etc. References are the best way to let your prospective employers know that you are the right person for the job.
Career experts say that a referral, someone who can attest to why you’re worth considering, can greatly influence your chances of landing the job. This is especially helpful if your contact is on the inside, i.e., already working for the company. Employee referrals provide a solid boost to your odds of being recognized and selected for further rounds of the recruitment process.
Include a Cover Letter
When applying to jobs online, it’s easy to fall into the sticky web of a three-step application. You find a job, attach your pre-populated resumé, and hit submit. But recruiters want to know you, not just your achievements. Your cover letter is how that happens, and it’s sometimes just as important as your resumé.
Write a cover letter that shows your unique personality, explains how your skills apply to the position, and describes the specific outcomes of work you’ve done. You can mention internships and college leadership roles if you’re just starting out.
If nothing else, a cover letter shows that you are invested enough to take the time to write one. Make time to draft a thoughtful message. It can give you the edge you need to get to the interview stage.
Job-hunting is hard, especially when most people are struggling to find opportunities. Although much of the process is out of your hands, control what you can by preparing, exploring many different options, and keeping an open mind. And don’t take it personally if you get rejected. It’s just part of the process, for everyone.