You Don’t Have to Meet All the Requirements to Get Your Dream Job

It’s happened to just about everyone: you’re excited reading the listing for what you think is a great opportunity. And then you get to the requirements section and realize you’re missing a key skill (Agile Consultants).

Don’t despair, at least not yet. Many companies will consider candidates that don’t check all the boxes if they can stand out in other ways. Here’s how you can get the job you want if you’re falling short on the requirements:

1. Focus on Value

Employers know that skills can be taught, but things like culture fit, attitude, and overall value cannot. Use your cover letter to build up your value and emphasize your contributions, awards, and other abilities so that recruiters can overlook the fact that you are missing one of the requirements.

2. Emphasize Transferable Skills

If you meet at least 75% of the job requirements, go ahead and apply. Chances are, a lot of the skills you already possess will easily transfer into the role. And what you don't already know, you can likely learn via training or an online course. (*Hint: LinkedIn matches your profile with jobs posted and informs you of the skills you have to meet the job! Add those into your LinkedIn profile). 

3. Get an Internal Referral

If you can find a direct connection to the company, consider it an end to the recruiter’s desk (reach out to employees on LinkedIn!) Companies love using internal referrals because the quality of the candidate is usually higher and the costs are usually much lower than going through an expensive job-posting-and-interviewing process.

4. Consider the Negotiability of the Requirement

Some skills are non-negotiable, but some aren’t. Consider the specific skill you're lacking to see how great of an impact it might make on the hiring decision. One hack to do this is to copy and paste the job posting into a word cloud application (<--- My FAV!) to see which words stand out the most. This will show you which keywords are most likely important to the company and to the role.

Get Ready: You’re About to Get Hired!

The requirements listed in a job posting aren't always hard-and-fast rules. In some cases, the recruiter is tasked with writing a job description based on their best knowledge of the job, not what the job actually requires.

Don't be afraid to apply if you don't meet all the requirements. The worst that can happen is you get turned down. But the best-case scenario is that you at least get a chance to prove why you’re the best choice.

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