How to sell yourself when you don’t have the exact experience required

Most job seekers have had this experience: You found a job you thought you were perfect for, but you didn’t have the exact experience the post describes.

Do you simply move on? Or still apply and hope the employer sees potential in you? According to career expert Amanda Augustine of TopResume, you do the latter — but only if you’re willing to sell yourself.

Here, Augustine gives CNBC Make It three tips for selling yourself to a potential employer, even if you don’t have all the qualifications they’re looking for:

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | beautiful pictures

1. Be proactive in building skills

During your job search, Augustine recommends gathering three to five job descriptions that represent the type of position you’re seeking. Even if you don’t plan on applying for every job, she says putting these descriptions side by side will give you a clear idea of ​​the common skills employers are looking for in a particular role. this.

If there’s a skill gap, she says take a quick online course at a site like Lynda.com. The idea, she says, is not to show that you’re an expert in a certain field. The idea is to be able to demonstrate working knowledge of the skills that employers are asking for.

When you go into an interview, Augustine says you can say to a hiring manager, “I understand you’re looking for this, and here are the steps I took to gain those skills. ” Then, she says, you want to show off the skills you already have that will help you meet the requirements of the job. “If you do this,” she explains, “you’re miles ahead and will impress recruiters.”

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2. Maximize the organic experience

If you’re a recent college graduate, you may have come across beginner jobs that confusingly require three to five years of experience. It’s frustrating, but don’t panic. Augustine suggests you pull out a pen and paper and think about everything you did in college to help you “build the skills that make you attractive to employers.”

This includes internships, volunteer experience, and local organizations you’ve joined, she says. Even senior classes, Augustine adds, have called on you to undertake a major research project or do influential work in the community.

“It’s all about positioning,” she said. “Your resume is a marketing document, and you want to position it for whatever you’re after. That means tapping into what employers are looking for and offering those something they don’t have.”

The same idea applies to more seasoned professionals. If you’re applying for a job for which you’re not 100% qualified, highlight your strongest skills and biggest accomplishments to date, so the employer can focus on those skills. .

3. Find an advocate

Data from a report by Hewlett Packard looked at why people, especially women, don’t apply for jobs unless they’re 100% qualified. According to women leadership expert Tara Mohr, those surveyed indicated that they felt they needed to meet all the standards not only to do a good job, but even to be seen as hires.

Mohr writes in the Harvard Business Review: “They do not see the hiring process as a process where advocacy, relationships, or a creative approach to building a person’s expertise is can be overcome.

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According to Augustine, it’s important to note that you’re 10 times more likely to land a job when you’re in a relationship with someone at the company. So in addition to building on your best skills and experience, she says you should rely on family, friends, and your alumni network to see if anyone is at a particular institution. or in your field can help you get the job done.

Augustine said, “It’s okay to reach out to those people and ask for pearls of wisdom. “They can help you finalize your application at a company, and they can help you figure out what you should emphasize.”

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