Somehow you just so happened to stumble upon the perfect match for your next career move.
While looking at the job description, you instantly fall in love with the culture, the types of projects you’d be working on, your potential responsibilities and you’ve just about planned what you’ll wear on your first day of work. Until, your eyes glaze upon that one glaring detail that makes your stomach drop: “Must have at least six years of experience.”
But, before you toss the position out of the window, wait one second. Just like you have dream jobs and wish lists, companies have dream employees and a long list of wishes they hope new team members can fulfill.
Don’t let that discourage you. If you’re only 1-2 years behind the requested experience, if you meet at least 75% of the listed requirements, and if you’re confident that you can excel in the role, you should still apply.
You should still apply if you’re underqualified.PIXABAY
Why not go for it?
Here are three strategies you should implement to land a position you feel might to be out of your league:
Before you rule out a position and deem it out of your league, put on your reading glasses and take a deep look at the job description. Read in between the lines and ask yourself, “What are they truly looking for in this position?”
Look for reoccurring skills and traits they seem to emphasize in the description. Identify the types of problems they want you to be able to solve if you were given the position.
This may take a little more digging if the job description isn’t as comprehensive. But if that’s the case, search around the company’s website and look on LinkedIn for people who work at the company, in your desired position. Get a sense of their main responsibilities. You can also look at people who work at other companies in the same position to get a general understanding, if necessary.
Then, once you have a good sense of the role, narrow down the top four qualities you notice are crucial to do the job well. It’s likely not the MBA degree or the six years of experience.
For instance, you might find instead the main focus is that you must be able to develop marketing campaigns and strategies, collaborate with different types of teams, have strong analytical skills, and be meticulously detailed oriented. None of which have anything to do with your credentials.
Ultimately, if after an extensive look at the job description, you can confidently say, “I can do that,” then don’t talk yourself out of it any longer.
Go the Extra Mile
Once you have your eyes set on the prize, it’s time to show and prove. While this is my suggestion for any position you desire, it’s 10 times more important to take this approach when you feel you might be underqualified for your dream role.
Forget sending off a general resume into the black hole of rejection. Instead, you need to update your resume to make sure it clearly aligns with the top four qualities you discovered.
Think about the accomplishments and experiences you have that show that you’ll be able to fulfill the requested duties. Maybe you haven’t collaborated with several different types of teams before, but you’ve collaborated with several different stakeholders on the same team and you successfully accomplish a major project because of your efforts, that still counts.
Consider those transferable skills that you’ve developed and made sure your resume clearly articulates those experiences.
Next, instead of writing a sleep-inducing cover letter, or not writing one at all, write a pain letter. This is a letter that addresses a major problem or challenge that the company or team is facing and details either how you would specifically solve their problem or how your experience qualifies you to solve it. This extra step shows the hiring manager that you understand the company, the position, their challenges and their needs. Plus, it allows you to bypass the long, sometimes superficial, list of intimidating qualifications.
Lastly, aim to send your application to a human being. If you truly want to sidestep the masses, do some digging and locate the supervisor of your desired role. Thanks to the Internet and LinkedIn, this is super easy. Once you find your future manager’s name, search for their email address on the company’s website, then send an email with your pain letter and resume, expressing your interest in the position.
Get in the Room
Of course, your ultimate goal is to land an interview and amaze the interviewer, but when it comes to getting a job offer for a position you feel underqualified for, the next best thing is to get coffee with someone who works at your dream company.
Again, nothing beats human connection. People want to work with people they like. Believe it or not, that’s more important than any technical skill and accreditation you could ever receive. So, the quicker you can expand your network and connect with someone who works at your dream company, the better your chances of landing the position.
Sure, you may not have a cousin, college friend or uncle who works at your desired firm, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from reaching out to people who do work there. Find people at the company whose career journey inspires you, and invite them to meet you for coffee, on you.
Most importantly, stop talking yourself out of positions you know you can do well, and start talking yourself into them. You’ll never know what’s possible for you if you never try.
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