When Your Job Skills Aren’t a Perfect Fit

4 min read

When Your Job Skills Aren’t a Perfect Fit

Okay, it’s bound to happen. Sooner or later, you’re going to find yourself with a job description that is “almost” perfect for you but your skills might not be the total package. 

Believe me, I’ve been there and I know that it’s definitely frustrating. It’s like running a marathon race and falling short right before you hit the finish line.

Guess what?

It doesn’t have to be that way.

If you talk to most job hunting experts, they’ll tell you that you should apply for the position, even if you’re lacking in some areas. However, they’re quick to point out that there are some things that you need to do — and some things that you definitely shouldn’t do.

Make sure that your resume is one that’s functional. This is so that you’re emphasizing your experience. One trick that many successful job seekers have used is to “tailor” their resume for the various jobs they are seeking — moving from most advantageous in terms of landing the job to least important.

Highlight the specific skills that you’ve already learned in relation to the job description. Again, you’re going to want to make sure that they are relating to the job that you’re going for. This is definitely going to attract the notice of the hiring manager. They’ll be sitting there, looking at your resume in relation to the job you’re trying to land, and they’re going to say, “This applicant is definitely hitting the targets we’re setting up.”

Don’t over-inflate your skills on your resume or during the job interview. There are few things more embarrassing than trying to pull off something that you can’t handle and being called on it. The best thing that you can do, right off the bat, is be upfront about your experience. If you’re a little weak in an area, just point out that you’d be willing to do whatever it takes in order to get you up to speed in that field.

Write a compelling and interesting cover letter that is specific to the job. Hiring managers can spot “form” cover letters a mile away and they tend to just pass those applicants by — and with good reason. If you’re trying to land a job and you can’t even take the time to come up with a fresh cover letter, what is that going to say about how much you might want the job? Make sure that the cover letter is no longer than a single page and you’ll want to emphasize the areas where you’re suited for the job and ignore the areas where you aren’t.

Here’s a little trick that many successful applicants have learned: When you’re working on your cover letter, imagine that you’re the hiring manager and think about what you’d like to see in a good cover letter. The chances are that if you can come up with something that’ll interest you, the same will hold true for the hiring manager reading your letter.

Now, let’s say that you really want a job but you’re lacking in a certain area. For example, a friend of mine really wanted to land an job in a law firm but one of the requirements was knowing transcription techniques. In his cover letter, he explained that he was currently taking a course on transcription techniques, and he wound up getting what he wanted.

Another thing that many people neglect to do is point out any unpaid experience that they might have. In other words, if you’ve done some work for your local church or for a charity, mention that. When you engage in something like that, you’re showing your potential employer that you’re someone who sees beyond himself or herself and that’s something that just about every employer likes.

At the same time, you might also mention any hobbies or outside interests that coincide with the position you’re going for. When I was going for a job as a film editor, I pointed out that I belonged to a local video organization that during the interview, that was brought up and I fully believe that it helped me to land the assignment.

When all is said and done, what you need to do is look at where you are, look at the job you’re going for, and emphasize the areas where you and the job mesh.

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