You’ve probably heard that ‘reaching’ – or applying to jobs you are slightly unqualified for – is a good thing to do during any job search.
However, getting a response to your ‘reach’ is only half the battle. There’s no point in reaching with a resume if you can’t move forward in the hiring process. And, if you’re like most people, you’ll probably feel intimidated interviewing for a job when there’s a good possibility you’re up against people who are more qualified than you.
The good news is, the employer wouldn’t contact you if they weren’t interested so you must have something they want. It’s your job to simply prove their instincts are right about you.
Show you’re capable of doing the job
As an underqualified candidate, the first thing you must do is eliminate any doubts about a lack of ability to do the job.
A good way to do that is to try and get some inside information on what the job entails. If you know someone with the same job or someone who held the job in the past, reach out to them and get a sense of what you need to succeed in the position. If you don’t know someone directly, go on LinkedIn and see if there’s a relevant second-degree connection linked to a trusted contact and ask for an introduction from your mutual connection.
It’s also important to research, research, research. Brush up on industry jargon. Visit LinkedIn groups or internet forums and browse posts to see what people are talking about. Do a Google News search to find out any latest developments.
At the end of the day, it’s important for you to have a good sense of the job and what a typical day is like before you say one word to a hiring manager.
Showcase your transferrable and additive skills
If you’ve gotten a response to an application but you’re underqualified, there’s probably something different – in a good way – about your background. That difference might be a unique skill set or experience. If you want to move forward in the process, you’ll need to use that valuable uniqueness as a jumping off point.
Transferrable skills are skills that transfer from one job to a completely different job. For instance, management experience at a convenience store allows you to gain all kinds of organizational and interpersonal skills that are useful in a range of very different positions.
You can also move ahead in the process by showing how you can bring more to the table than what is expected. For instance, if you have extensive knowledge of a powerful but obscure software tool, you might talk about how you could use that tool to significantly boost productivity.
With enough valuable transferrable and additive skills, you can place yourself ahead of other applicants who simply meet the basic qualifications for the job and have nothing more to offer.
At SSI, we regularly help talented professionals get jobs they may not be perfectly qualified for on paper and succeed in those jobs. Please contact us today if you’re currently looking for assistance in your job search.