The job search process can be frustrating to those who come up short as a finalist candidate. Here are some thoughts that might help you in the future.
- Review the position description before interviewing so you can do two things: First, identify the skills or experiences where you come up short and prepare to respond positively to the question you know will be asked. Second, see if you can take a basic on-line course before the interview. Put it on your resume and say, “I’m taking a course on that subject and will be skilled in the basics.”
- Most candidates successfully applying for a job aren’t 100% qualified. If you are 100% qualified, chances are you’re making a lateral move and are overqualified. Being 75% to 85% qualified gives you room to grow.
- If you’re asked about a skill or experience you don’t have, never say, “I’ve never done it before.” Simply describe a skill, experience or result that comes closest, or an experience to a similar job skill.
- Another approach is to say, “I know you use Python in your operating system. I have used a Python equivalent and should have no problem with the transition. My program mastery is high and just a complex as Python.”
- If the job description is looking for someone with 5 years’ experience and you only have 3 ½ years, consider matching the results the hiring organization is looking for and suggest that your broad and deep experiences equally 5 comparable years. In other words, you’ve pack more experienced into a shorter time.
- Or, take your 3+ year experience and add any internships, summer work in the function, additional courses and any major school projects that parallels the job specs which all adds up to the 5-year requirement.
- Job descriptions typically define a hiring manager’s “perfect candidate”, who doesn’t exist except on paper. There is “wiggle room” for you except for highly technical jobs.
- Filling in a new skill or experience can be partially overcome by a targeted certification in a specific functional area. There are many certifications available on-line.
- Candidates are hired and paid for what they can produce and the results they can achieve, not for a specified number of years. Hiring managers know that some people have one year’s experience 10 times, rather than 10 years of experience with each one better than the one before.
- The most difficult transition is to move from an individual contributor role to a supervisor. You can fill in the gap by providing similar experiences you may have had as a volunteer leader, team captain or chair a committee of a non-profit organization. These positions of leadership have given you skills of organization, coordination of effort, guidance, influencing others, setting direction through persuasion and motivating others to achieve an objective.
Everyone comes up short at one time or another during their career. It’s nothing to get upset about, but it is something for which to prepare. Those who prepare are the winners.
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