Everything about the job looks promising. The company sounds great and they have the same values as you, the shifts fit your schedule, the wage is within your expectations, the job description is something you can do … then you read the list of requirements.
I need a certificate?
Experience? What does that mean? I’ve never worked in this type of role before …
With a disappointed sigh, you exit the screen and begin your search anew. This has happened to all of us, but while there are jobs you definitely need the right credentials for, in this day and age where experience can come from anywhere, those kinds of jobs are in the minority.
Don’t discount your existing skills and experience
Remember when you read the list of job duties and thought, “I can do that”? Why did you think that? Is it because you did something similar in a previous role? A hobby? While volunteering? The great thing about the human experience is we are always learning, whether we are conscious of it or not. If you only take away one thing from this article, let it be that your experiences from all walks of your life are valuable and relevant to the workplace. We even give them a special name: transferrable skills.
So maybe you never held that specific job title before, or your education is on something completely different – this is okay! When it comes down to it, many employers will choose someone who can do the job versus someone who was taught about the job. Of course, employers will not know you are capable just by looking at you. We wish it were that easy! You have to do the work of showing them why you are the right choice.
It’s up to you to highlight your qualifications for the employer
And no, I am not just talking about listing skills on your resume, though that is a good start. Employers go through countless applications and chances are other people have a list of skills very similar to yours. What they are most interested in, is whether you can walk the talk.
Were you a student for the past four years? You probably know a lot about managing your time and prioritizing tasks, and you may also have a pretty good handle on written communication. Make that stand out in your resume. If you can attach numbers to the skills, even better! Hopefully, you did enough to be invited for an interview. Use that time to elaborate further on how you utilized the skills they are looking for in specific situations. Again, those examples need not be from a workplace.
Culture fit is real
Employers agree that for many entry-level positions, hard skills can be taught. This is why they also consider an applicant’s potential cultural impact in the workplace, or simply put fit. This is based on a mixture of things, including values and beliefs, and is important to employers because they know that not everyone can thrive in their specific workplace culture.
It is important to know this for yourself too! There is a reason why companies include mission statements or list their core values in their job descriptions. If integrity is important to you, it might boost your morale to work somewhere that values it too. But be careful here, there is a fine line between being choosy and being discerning. Know where that line is.
Your values and beliefs are part of your unique self, so you should find ways to express this during the interview, especially if they line up with the company’s values. It is cliché to say, but be yourself! Sometimes, your personality and passion helps put you on the top of the list despite not having the “right” qualifications.
So before you let those requirements scare you away, remember that you have unique and valuable experiences that will more than suffice to put you in the running for that position. Go ahead and try! You might get surprised by the results.
Author: Nelsa Uson, Employer Liaison