Saturday, January 30, 2010

Should I Apply to a Job If I Don't Meet All the Requirements?

 Recently, a resume client asked me this question:
I am very, critical of myself. I probably would not apply for a job because I don't have all the criteria [listed in the ad]. Should I even try?
HR professionals and hiring managers typically write the job listing ad based on the full job description of the position. This generally includes a very detailed, clear outline of duties and requirements to make the hiring / screening process as direct and focused as possible. It helps identify candidates and weed out those that lack the essential qualifications. If a manager has done their job right, the job description has been written in conjunction with the incumbent who holds that job and a comprehensive job analysis. You are more apt to make it to the interview stage and probably the hiring stage if you possess all the required skills, knowledge, experience, and qualifications.

Okay, so what do you do?

One of the most important factors in your job hunt is your transferrable job skills.
These are the skills you’ve acquired all your life through your education, hobbies, parenting, interests, and career. These skills are both transferrable and applicable to the job you seek. Typically these skills are communication, interpersonal, teamwork, and leadership skills. Make sure your resume and cover letter highlights these skills.

Experience Needed

You don’t have job experience in the field? What about your experience you’ve gained in school, special courses, and volunteer experience. It doesn’t have to be paid experience to list it in your resume. This is especially important if you’re changing jobs or attempting to break into a new industry.

If you can’t get hired in the industry or type of job you want, seek out internships and pro bono work with companies. Contact human resources and managers at the companies for which you’d like to work, let them know you’re interested in learning more about their business and gaining experience and you’d like to establish a part-time, short-term internship. Check with the career services office at your local community college or university and use the web including,,, and to find internship opportunities. Contact local non-profit organizations for internship and volunteer openings. You can stay busy during your job hunting and gain critical experience, skills, and contacts to further your career.

Resume Functionality

Make sure your resume is formatted correctly in order to showcase the skills you do have for the job and downplay the areas you may lack.
A functional resume will work more effectively than a chronological resume in these cases as your skills and achievements are much more important than your job history. RP Executive Resume Consultant specializes in functional resumes for job and industry changers; please contact us at

Use your resume to show that you are able and willing to learn. Input statements that indicate you are willing to pursue additional training and certification. Tell prospective employers in your resume and cover letter that you are a quick and enthusiastic learner. Being enrolled in specific licensure programs and workshops will prove you’re committed to learning and growing professionally. Check with your local colleges and professional organizations to take courses to enhance your growth and development and hire-ability.

When to Do and When to Don’t

Do not apply to jobs in which you are fundamentally under qualified for, but do keep in mind that job postings are many times an employer wish list. Don’t apply if you have none of the job requirements, but if you shine in some of the qualifications you should consider it. Most hiring managers truly don’t expect applicants to meet every requirement in their ad so if you can illustrate that you are strong in some of the areas listed, you have a good chance of getting called in for the interview.

Final Thoughts

Most importantly, keep a good attitude and be optimistic. Don’t forget to follow up your resume with a phone call to employers. Building rapport will go a long way as people like to hire people they like. Follow up telephone and face-to-face interviews with thank you letters. And most of all, don’t give up – you have dreams to pursue and your diligence and confidence will make it happen!

Ramsey Penegar is an executive resume consultant and is certified as a professional resume writer by the Professional Association of Resume Writers. She has developed more than 575 resumes for executives all over the United States and for international clients as well. With more than 10 years experience in marketing and sales, she has the skills to build effective job search marketing campaigns and attention-getting resumes.

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