“I will not apply for this job, they asked for 6-7 years of experience and I have 5.”
“I was invited for an interview, but I have no chances – they are asking for French as a mother tongue and I am not a native speaker.”
These are some examples of dialogues I had with people that are applying for jobs. Again not thinking out of the box stops some people from having a good job.
A perfect candidate does not exist! It is the most important rule when looking for jobs. Of course you need to strike a balance between e.g. applying for a job of a senior project manager while not having any experience and applying for a job where e.g. you have 5 years of experience instead of 7 or you have experience in a different industry.
If you fulfill about 75% of the must have requirements, it is worth trying, especially when you know you would be an excellent candidate for the role. How should you prove it?
Adapting your CV and emphasizing your strongest skills in liaison with the job advert would be the first thing. Writing an interesting motivational letter that shows your passion and enthusiasm is another. Remember to speak the similar language as your potential employer.
Hard skills are very important but your transferable skills are also crucial during your job search. These are the skills that you learnt during one job and that you can transfer and use in another job e.g. your assertiveness, negotiation skills, leadership skills etc. If you are able to show them during your job search, it will be highly appreciated by your potential employers.
Use examples from your previous jobs that showed how you acquired new skills thanks to your soft skills. When I was applying to my first job as an IT recruiter, I had no experience in recruitment. I got the job anyway. How? I proved them I was capable of being an IT recruiter by showing my personal skills that were important in this job and also talking about my technical background. I also gave an example from my previous job where my lack of a specific software knowledge was compensated by knowledge of a similar application. Remember that showing that you are a problem solver opens many doors.
Get some new skills or certification during your job search. For example, if you have some experience in online marketing and you notice that most of adverts say you should have Adobe certification in In Design, start learning this program on your own. Next time you apply and get an interview, you can tell them on which level you know the software but you did not use it in your previous job. By explaining you are investing your own time in courses or self studying, you are showing your motivation and initiative.
As a linguist, I am very careful when talking about language skills. I met some people that say they are fluent e.g. in French but then not being able to conduct a simple conversation. Lying about any of your skills can jeopardize your job search. Instead of saying English – C2 or “native level”, it is better to say “fluent” if you are not 100% bilingual. If you only have a pre-intermediate level, do not say you are advanced. But there is another extreme – I know many people who did not apply for jobs because they were not native in a specific language. It is a big mistake in most cases – if you are fluent in a language, you should apply anyway. When you get an interview and show your level, the interviewer will be able to evaluate if your language skills are enough for a specific job. Moreover, if you show them example from your previous employment where e.g. you started with B1 level in German and with hard work and practice you improved to B2, it will be another winning card during your interview that will show your initiative and hard work skills.
I do not want to tell you that you should apply to all jobs that you see. You will not see me applying for jobs of a Graphic Designer or IT Engineer 🙂 But if you really believe you could be a great fit and added value to the company, but you fulfill only 70-80% of requirements, apply anyway. You’ll never know if you have a chance unless you try to get that chance 🙂