Because everyone should dig their job

Don't Let the Requirements Spook You

By Sarah Landrum

Fewer things are more deflating than scrolling through a job description, feeling good about all the qualifications you meet, until you see, “Creative and fictional writing experience required.”

Your heart sinks. You only have business and proposal writing experience! Dejected, you go back to the search page, and start over.

How many job opportunities have you passed up on because you thought you weren’t qualified? Most job descriptions list so many requirements and qualifications, no one could adequately fill the role.

More likely than not, you actually are a good fit for that position, but because you’re discouraged that you don’t meet all the requirements, you don’t even apply. You miss out on a great opportunity for yourself.

It’s time for you to stop being turned off at the sight of an ocean of requirements. There are plenty of ways for you to separate yourself from the crowd and land a face-to-face meeting, even if you don’t meet every single one of the qualifications listed.

1. Make a Direct Connection in the Company

It’s time to put those networking skills to use. Finding a connection, or an advocate, within the company you want to work for could take you a long way.

Networking is critical in finding the job you want, as well as building your professional career from that point. Executives and managers hire and do business with people they like and trust – relationships are the catalyst for success.

If you already have a relationship with someone within a company, your chances of being noticed increase.

A friend inside the company can give you information about the position you want that might not be in the job posting itself, advise you and help prepare you for an interview and even give you the name of the hiring manager.

LinkedIn is a phenomenal way to get connected with other professionals, especially the ones who work for the company you would like to work for yourself. All it takes is a little digging.

You never know who you know might already be connected to the business you’re trying to get a job with. Comb through your contact list on your phone, Facebook friends and old classmates from college, and see if any of them have any connection to your desired company.

If you can’t dig anything up online, it never hurts to take a cup of coffee to the gatekeeper at the front desk, and put on your friendliest face.

2. Demonstrate That You Can Do the Job

Hiring managers and CEOs just want results. If you’re the one who will get them the results they want, then show them how you’ll do it.

Complete a project for the interview. This requires a little bit of research into the industry, and a lot of legwork at the front end. For example, if you’re applying for an advertising sales job, put any and all of your previous sales know-how to use.

First, make a prospect list of all the businesses you will try to sell to. Next, come up with your proposal. If you have the time, customize each proposal to have different industry statistics and closing elements, based on which businesses you have on your prospect.

If you haven’t gotten an interview yet, mail or email this proposal to the hiring manager specifically, not just to their building.

This will certainly make you stand out, as it demonstrates your ability and willingness to work hard to succeed at this particular job.

3. Use Your Cover Letter Wisely

You cover letter is your first chance to say something directly to potential employers about what qualifies you to work for them, and what kind of worker they would be getting in you. Don’t waste that letter.

Far too many job hunters treat the cover letter as just side dish, with the resume being the main course.

You cover letter shouldn’t just be a repeat of your resume, but should tell an owner or hiring manager what specifically about the job appeals to you and fits in with your skillset and experience.

in short, a cover letter can accomplish what a resume cannot – explain why you want that job, describe your skills and experience in detail, discuss traits that would make you a valuable asset and even explain gaps between jobs that a resume can’t answer.

Of course, make sure it is a proper introduction. It should be formatted correctly, be concise and conclude on a high note.

Employers should have a very high opinion of you when they finish reading your cover letter. The end goal is to use this tool to make your job application stand out above the rest.

4. Be Enthusiastic

Remember that some of the most valuable employees a company can have aren’t always the ones with the most skills or qualifications. They are the ones who genuinely care about their job.

Even if you don’t meet 100 percent of the requirements, be enthusiastic. When you’re speaking, get yourself excited about the job – be so energetic it gets the interviewer excited about the idea of you working for them.

It happens a little more often than you’d think – hiring managers will see that enthusiasm and decide that maybe you are the one they need. Skills, after all, can be developed through time.

Passion and energy for a job are a little harder to come by.

Of course, being enthusiastic isn’t a total guarantee that you’ll get the job, so if you get turned down, don’t take it personally. Rather than walk away dejected, ask for feedback.

Being willing to accept and apply constructive criticism will help you improve your interview skills and professional development. It could also make quite an impression on the person you just interviewed with.

You might not get the job this time, but the next time there’s an opening, the manager you just spoke to might remember you, the one who eagerly sought out feedback and wants to improve.