By Damilola Faustino
Job postings usually start the same way: first, the overview of the position, followed by a list of required skills and desired qualifications. It can be extremely frustrating to know deep down that you’d be great for the job, even though you don’t fit all the requirements. The good news is that it’s still possible to get the job. Here’s what you’ll want to do:
Understand the job and your skills
You always want to understand the job you’re applying for but when you’re trying to position yourself outside of your normal area, it’s even more critical than usual. That’s because you’re selling your specific, transferable skills — not your previous titles. And the better you understand the job description, the more you can hone in on what you know is important to that job. You have to throw the skill set that you know they’re looking for back at them.
Cut the jargon
Certain specifics may be very, very impressive to people inside your industry, but to people outside of it, those details are meaningless. Remove them from your curriculum vitae and cover letter.
Appeal to their humanity and their ego
Finding a point of human connection can go a long way toward getting someone to take a chance on you. That’s true if you’re chasing your first internships, but it’s also true if you’re trying to change career directions. Acknowledge that person’s recent accomplishment, or what that person has done for the company. This will give you a huge chance of getting the job and also you are letting them know that you are following events related to the company.
Ask the hiring managers what they need
Just as it’s important not to get hung up on the job description when you think about applying, it’s important to completely ignore the job ad when interviewing. Instead, you should ask your interviewers probing questions to learn more about what is and isn’t working at the company and what the hiring managers truly need help with. Then speak to how you can help.
Don’t count yourself out
The recruitment process of putting out job ads is faulty. The manager writes a job specification that describes an imaginary, magical person who doesn’t exist on this planet and it is published. If you were to ask most hiring managers if they care about somebody that has every skill listed, versus somebody that has four or five [relevant skills] with a good attitude and a good work history, they’re all going to say they care about the type of person, not some brand new technology skill. If you’re 60% qualified for a job based on its description, you can just apply.
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