Just because the job posting features a lengthy list of requirements no real person can have, it doesn’t mean you need to meet each and every point. This is what an ideal candidate would look like and we all know that there are no ideal candidates – even if all the skills are there, nobody is an expert in all areas. Why should you apply for a job if you don’t meet all the listed qualifications? Here are 5 things to do before you decide whether to apply.

1. Ignore bonus requirements

Think about the job posting from the perspective of the recruiter. Sometimes they add certain terms to make their offer sound more attractive or prestigious – listing requirements for their dream candidate, they’re just as willing to interview workers with solid qualifications who don’t match the profile in a 100%.

If you see a list of skills at the very end of the listing, treat them as bonus competences that aren’t vital to the recruiting process. Instead, focus your application on core skills and make sure to showcase all of them through your resume.

2. Match your experience with the one requested

Another great tactic to deal with this list of skills and requirements is by connecting the value of experience you already have with the one requested. Develop a good argument on why skills gained in your prior employment make you a suitable candidate.

Starting your cover letter with the phrase ‘I know I don’t have the required experience’ is plain wrong. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, direct the attention of recruiters to skills acquired in different settings, which can be easily translated to the context of the job you’re after.

3. Focus on transferable skills

In order to come up with a set of skills gained through prior experience, you’ll need to think about your past employment in a more abstract way. This is how you can pick out these competences that are actually relevant to the position.

Here’s an example – if you’ve got experience in managing fundraisers and now want to use it to apply for a position of event planner, skills like raising money, managing vendors and building relationships with donors should be your key focus.

4. Show that you can face new challenges

It’s essential that you show a positive track record in your previous employment, which suggests that you’re up to extending your qualifications. If the position requires you to manage a group of 10 people, and you have experience in running multiple 5-person groups and tons of good feedback, make sure to mention it in your application.

5. Just ask yourself: Am I able to do this job?

Sometimes it’s not the question of wanting the job, but whether you’re truly qualified to do it. Even if you’re passionate about working with foreign languages, you’re going to make a poor translator if your knowledge is only conversational. If you’re interested in working for a specific company, you shouldn’t apply for a position that requires technical knowledge you simply don’t have.

When you’re not sure whether you fit a candidate profile it’s always good to take a second look at the listing and see whether you can reshape your resume to fit the position. The worst thing that can happen is not getting invited to an interview – and that’s something professionals can live with. Just send your resume – you never know, maybe you’re a match?

Tess Pajaron is a guest contributor to my Blog; she has a background in Business Administration and Management, and is a Community Manager at Open Colleges which is an online learning provider based in Sydney, Australia.


Annie Cerone