How ‘perfect’ a match do you need to be?
A lot of people are put off from applying for a ‘good match’ job because they don’t fulfil all the requirements.
If a job asks for 3-5 years’ management experience and you only have 2?
If a job specifies 5 different skills and you only possess 4 of them?
If a job requires particular sector experience and yours is slightly different?
While it’s true that some criteria are deal-breakers (and if the job is via a recruitment agency, all criteria might be), other jobs might well be worth a long shot.
A general rule: if you meet 70 – 80% of the requirements, and the application won’t take hours and hours, give it a shot.
Make the most of areas of convergence
Make that 70-80% match leap off the page. This is where you should be dedicating most of your effort. Stress achievements and results, and go to town on mini-stories that highlight right-fit skills, achievements and experience.
Don’t draw attention to the areas where you fall short, or start a cover letter with something like “Although I don’t have all the required experience, I…”
If you don’t have an exact match on a skill, highlight your ability to learn new things quickly, or offer alternatives as proof of your experience in a particular field.
Flag up other attributes that make you stand out. Stellar academic results, experience in a household name company are examples that can make you more desirable to an employer – even if not specifically stated in the job description.
Use positive language
Don’t let any lack of confidence creep in to your application. If you start doubting yourself, others will be able to read it as well. Don’t apologise for not meeting any of the requirements, but show how your experience and strengths compensate more than adequately. Take pride in your achievements, and draw attention to them.
Match your strengths and capabilities to the requirements in your cover letter, and reiterate your interest in the role. Keep it brief and upbeat and end on a positive note.
Photo credit: Eilonwy77