Showing How You’re Qualified (Even if You’re Not)
Have you ever found the perfect job opportunity for you, get your resume and reference materials all ready to send out, and then see that you don’t fit one of the required criteria for the position? Most job applicants have found themselves in this situation at one time or another, and it can be quite an interesting dilemma. On one hand, you think that you’re perfect for the opportunity and that you would do an excellent job if they would just give you a chance. On the other hand, you clearly don’t have everything that they are looking for. What should you do?
There are a number of paths to choose from. You could lie on your application and make it seem like you have just what they want on your side. This can be a really tempting thing to do. You are qualified for the job, but you’re missing one or two little things. However, we highly recommend that you do not ever do this. Lying on an application or a resume can be grounds for immediate disqualification from the position. And if you do get hired, your company can immediately fire you for your deception. Don’t do this.
The best course of action is to be honest. Show what your strengths are, and if you have a deficiency on your application, in your cover letter you can demonstrate how your strengths more than make up for your weaknesses. For example, if an employer lists that they want you to have two years of supervisory experience, but you only have six months, explain to them why you are still qualified for the position despite this. It can be a tall order to do so, but when done correctly, it allows you to separate yourself from the other applicants. And if you do this well enough, you might even show why you are a far better candidate than the others because of, or even in spite of, your lack of credentials.
Do keep in mind that this won’t work for all positions. If you are applying for a job where a medical degree is needed, but you don’t have one, no amount of compensation is going to get you the job. However, something like a software programmer position might ask for a Bachelor’s degree in computer science. But, if you have the requisite skills and don’t have a degree, you probably have more on the job experience than the other candidates do because of the fact that you are self-taught. Use this information to your advantage.
This strategy won’t work with every employer, and it won’t necessarily get you the position that you’re applying for, but it does level the playing field and increase your chances of getting hired. And if you do find that you’re not getting positive responses for prolonged periods of time, you can always take matters into your own hands and work on getting the background that the types of jobs that you are looking for want you to have. Take night classes to get a degree, or volunteer with a non-profit group to get more experience. There are lots of little things like this that can help you to build a background and beef up your resume and help you get one step closer to your dream job.
When you’re honest and show what your strengths are, the company might decide that some skills are more important than others. Not everyone is perfect in every area. And the skills or background that you are lacking might be something that is easily learned as you go. Be honest and upfront, and if you’re right for the company, they will be smart enough to recognize that fact.