You’ve spent hours searching for that perfect job. Hours turned to days, days turned to weeks. You searched through company websites, Facebook and newspaper ads for anything that remotely matches your level of qualification. While scanning the career section in the newspapers, a vacancy grasps your attention. You start to read the details and this job is really beginning to sound like the right fit for you. You already begin to envision yourself working at this establishment, what branch you’ll prefer to work if given the option and even how you’ll get to work. Then you get to the last few points of the job description and—oh no!—you realize you don’t meet all of the job qualifications! You started off with it in the palm of your hands, now it’s slipping away.
But don’t give up just yet!
A lot of persons think that because they don’t have the full qualifications, it is no way possible that they can land the job. Recruiting managers are not expecting a client that meets every last one of the qualifications. There may be an applicant who has two Bachelor Degrees, a Master’s Degree, zero years of service but ready and rearing to come into the job market. Another may have 7 O’ level passes, 10 years of experience in an institution full-time, while helping out part-time at a Non-governmental Organisation (NGO). On one hand, a recruiter may jump at the former applicant’s resume upon seeing their qualifications, while another may focus on the experience of the latter and the fact that they do voluntary work. The fact is that you have to make what you have work for you. Finding a job in today’s overcrowded market is by no means an easy task, but in situations such as these, take it as an opportunity to show them what they’re missing, and explain why you are the best fit for the job.
If you managed to get an interview, chances are the recruiter knows that you are missing one or two qualifications, but they still saw something special in your resume and want to give you the opportunity to wow them.
Follow these 3 steps and use your powers of persuasion to convince them that you can, not only do the job, but do it well.
Explain how your existing skills can apply to the requirements
Go through the job description carefully and for any qualification that you do not meet, think of an instance previously where you did something similar or relevant. Think about your transferable skills that can apply across industries; skills such as project management, communication, research, and relationship-building. Are you a good writer or effective public speaker? Have you ever taken a project from planning to execution? Were you the team leader in your big final year project while pursuing your degree? The aforementioned are not specific to any one industry and can be used in any area you desire to go into. Use it to your advantage and don’t hesitate to make mention of them.
Show them what they didn’t even know they needed
Rather than focusing on your qualifications, turn the conversation towards what you can do for the company. How can you make someone’s life easier? How can your knowledge improve their products or services? Get them excited about what you bring to the table, even if it’s not what the recruiting manager initially had in mind. What they are certain of, is that they need help, and fast. Instead of worrying about the requirements and those you may be lacking, take a good look at the company and their goals. Show them what you can do to help them achieve these goals that they didn’t even think of.
Get some new skills…and fast
Getting proactive about professional development speaks volumes and will go a long way. Take a short course; it could even be an online tutorial to understand the basics. When questioned about this in the interview you will be able to show them that you’ve taken the initiative to obtain the basic knowledge required, and it just may be enough to impress them. To add to this and further drive the point home, indicate your flexibility and willingness to learn or gain additional training. You just may fall under the category of “underqualified…but trainable.” Employers will be pleased to know that you are an enthusiastic and quick learner who can rapidly get up to speed with the knowledge and requirements of the job.