(Not) the perfect fit: Landing the job if you don’t meet all requirements

It will undoubtedly sound familiar: You scour the internet in search of the perfect vacancy and finally seem to hit the jackpot. The job description sounds like music to your ears, and you can already envision the smell of your new office. That’s until you reach the endless list of impossible demands, and you decide to leave it at that even if you felt like you were really close. If this sounds like you, chances are you’re selling yourself short. Today Josie will show you what considerations to make and whether or not you should apply, even if you don’t tick all the boxes.

Let’s start by debunking a myth: the ideal candidate for a position does not exist. Even if that were the case, these candidates are often not what companies are looking for, ironically. The reason is those job seekers who do fit the overall picture are often the ones who underachieve at the expense of their own development. Simply said, exactly because these candidates already possess the total package, they tend to get bored with their jobs a lot sooner. And that’s why it’s the candidates who just miss one or a few aspects who want to learn a lot are the ones who pick up quickly and more than make up for it by their motivation. Of course, there are also temporary positions where the full package is requested, for the simple reason that you have to deliver right away. However, if you’re applying for a permanent position for an indefinite period, that one blemish or lack of a particular skill could even work in your favor. Our first advice is not to be held back too quickly by ‘hard requirements’ mentioned in a vacancy.

The unwritten recruitment rule

Recruiters know all too well that the right candidate is not always the one able to meet all demands an organization asks for. To get a framework, in general, you can make use of the 80% rule. If you recognize yourself for at least 80% in the outlined job description, you should definitely give it a go. Just make sure you’re able to compensate for the other 20% by mentioning skills, qualities, or other competencies that are not mentioned in the vacancy but can prove a valuable asset for future employers. What also helps is that in a lot of vacancies there tends to be a distinction between hard requirements and certain skills being described as ‘being a plus’. If a distinction is lacking, it’s up to you to decide on the main and side requirements for yourself. This means that if they ask for a specific education level, you obviously need to comply with that. On the other hand, if the vacancy demands a certain hard skill that can be picked up through a course or experience, you can always pick it up at a later stage.

Emphasize the skills you possess

Once you outweighed your chances and decided to give it a go – despite not being able to fulfill all the impossible demands – you can use Josie as a final checkup to see if you’re ready to send in your application. By uploading your current resume and LinkedIn profile, you will immediately get a ‘career score’ to give you a rough indication of how desirable you are for the job title you wish to apply for. You can even go to the Demand Insights page and have a look at some of the most important skills needed for that title, even if these skills were not listed in the vacancy. It could be that it turns out you have some extra cards up your sleeve and actually possess a few ‘forgotten’ skills. You can use them to your benefit by adding them to your resume in the ‘Assistant‘, which also allows you to spot any other noteworthy points of interest for recruiters you may have forgotten about yourself. Once your profile is double-checked, it’s time to write your cover letter. One more piece of advice we’d like to share is definitely not to lie about meeting all demands but to don’t overstate it either. You need to emphasize what skills you do currently possess, but you can also think of examples from the past that show your capabilities that might be relevant for your desired new position. More often than not you can translate your experiences from past jobs into the one you’re applying for – even if you’re changing industries entirely. And, last but not least: always show your willingness to learn, since it’s one of the top soft skills all future employers will be on the look for.

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