Don’t match the job requirements for your dream job? No problem!
For jobs and careers, you may think that you can only get hired when you fit all the criteria set out in a job description. You assume that any learning on the job is merely to take you up to the next level and score a promotion. Once you fit all the criteria for the next rung on the ladder, you’re there.
Employers list their perfect candidate, but it’s only hypothetical.
But is it that simple? Since we’re always learning, surely there’s some wriggle room when you don’t fit the exact profile listed in a job ad?
It seems there is. Quartz recently called on people to ignore gaps in job requirements. When you spot a requirement that you don’t have–maybe even one that’s listed ‘essential’–you shouldn’t automatically give up.
Employers list their perfect candidate, but it’s only hypothetical. You may excel in areas they won’t realise until you show them what they’re missing. You may be so accomplished and experienced in most requirements that the employer may be willing to forgive one or two gaps, or feel it worthwhile to train you up where it matters. Win-win!
Don’t believe it? Well the Quartz piece refers to Facebook’s ‘requirement’ for a higher education qualification in computer science. Most people would assume a big tech employer would be unwilling to budge on a need like that. Yet they are happy to waive that to get the best person in the role.
Thing is, they’d have to apply first!
If you’re still feeling uncertain, I once read in a past edition of Martin John Yate’s ‘Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions‘ that “Everyone hires for the same job“.
That statement isn’t as crazy as it first sounds. While roles are clearly different, employers are nevertheless looking for someone who can fit in, analyse and solve problems, work enthusiastically, go that extra mile, adapt when needed, and so on. The specific requirements are like add-on areas that are important, but which can be added on at a later date if necessary.
You have to demonstrate your abilities, yes, but that’s not the same as giving a clear cut yes or no answer to whether you have a particular degree or a minimum number of years experience in a certain field. Since the yes/no questions don’t always need the yes answer, even when they are deemed ‘requirements’, you should have no reason to shy away from applying when you feel everything else fits.
So next time you’re nearly the right shape for the role, but not quite, just remember that the job ad is not the law. That job ad is merely an example that, for the right person, is up for negotiation.
Don’t sell yourself short. Gaps or not, you may be precisely the person they’re looking for. Let them know you’re out there.