3 Reasons Why You’re Qualified For That Job

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If you’ve been scanning the job boards at all lately you’ve seen tons of these things. They’re everywhere for every industry and every type of job. I’m talking about the job descriptions where they describe the company, describe the job and you get very interested. Then, they list a mile-long set of ridiculous “requirements” that pretty much looks like:

“Harvard Ph.D., Justice League member, beauty pageant winner, fluent in 8 Chinese dialects. Must have proficiency with sub-atomic particle accelerators. Minimum 25 years of experience, salary to start in the low $30’s”.

Totally absurd stuff, right?   But not far off. And what happens is you read the term “requirements” very literally, see a mismatch between you and what’s described and it scares you off from applying to a job you’d really like to go after.

So what do you do when you don’t fit all of the requirements in a job posting but really like the job? You apply. Here’s why…

When a manager gets an opening he/she sits down with someone from human resources to put together the job description that they will post and look for. What inevitably transpires is a brainstorming session in which every conceivable attribute you could possibly desire in the absolute most qualified candidate gets listed. And that’s what gets posted.

So first, understand that they will never find the person they’ve described. He doesn’t exist; it’s a fictional character. Without question, they are going to have to comprise against their job description when they make the hire.

Second, know that in today’s job market, which is healthy (current U.S. unemployment rate is about 4.4%), there are less unemployed workers to choose from. Companies aren’t going to wait to find someone who fits 100 percent of the job description. They’re going for approximately 70 percent to 75 percent of the job description and they’re looking for individuals who have high potential and are a good cultural fit.

Third, businesses are increasingly taking the view that certain basic skills can be taught, but job candidates must have innate “soft” skills, such as interpersonal skills, the ability to work well with colleagues and deal professionally with customers.

So when you come across one of these job postings, here’s my advice:

* Use The 70% Rule – You should strongly consider applying if you meet about 70% of the job requirements listed. While the employer is looking for someone who fits as many of the requirements as possible, they are also looking for good “people-people” who fit well into their culture.

*Don’t Ignore The Soft Skills You Bring To The Table – Strong work ethic, team play/collaboration and especially interpersonal skills can many times be the deciding factor in who gets the job.

*Make The Most Of Your Transferable Skills – Make a list of the generic and transferable skills you have that would benefit you in the job. Call them out in your application

*Highly Customize Both Your Resume And Cover Letter To The Job – Scour the job description, highlighting those attributes being looked for. Directly address them, using the employer’s words, with your skills and check them off as you go. Use your cover letter to directly address the three most important abilities being looked for.

*Go In The Side Door – Applying for the job as instructed, usually through LinkedIn or the employers website, is the least effective. Whereas ten years ago the average job posting received 100 resumes, today they get 500! But you have to do it. But don’t stop there! Use LinkedIn and Google to figure out who the hiring manager is and send them your resume and cover letter directly.

*Follow-Up – This is probably the step ignored by most job seekers. If you wrote the hiring manager, give them a couple of weeks and then follow-up with them referencing the resume and cover letter you sent.

So here’s the net, net. Next time you see a job you’re really interested in with a requirements list as long as your arm fear not. They’re not going to find the Superman (or woman) they’ve described. Take inventory of the requirements against your own transferable skills and craft a resume and cover letter that effectively tell your story.

If you meet 70% of the requirements and are a good fit for the company, you stand a good chance at getting an offer!

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