How bold are you when you apply for a job? Some people apply to everything hoping to get something, whilst some people apply for only the roles that they know 100% that they can do.
I’m sure that many of you have heard that men tend to apply for a job when they match 60% of the requirements whilst women don’t tend to apply unless they tick every single box on the advert. It’s a generalisation, so it doesn’t apply to all men or women but it’s an indication based on research.
With many being impacted by the current world situation and finding themselves on a job hunt, I wanted to share some empowering tips and pointers for anyone (not just women) who tend to undersell themselves.
Richard Branson says: If someone offers you an opportunity and you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later
As someone who tend to doubt my skills and capability, I take great inspiration from this quote and I’ve been trying to apply this type of thinking for the past 3-4 years. Because, many people (me included) tend to forget how capable we actually are. When we know something or when something comes natural to us – we take it for granted. So my first tip to you is:
- Remind yourself of your value and all the things you can bring to the table! I’m not just talking hard skills such as years of experience working with a certain software or how many projects you have run but also things that you might not immediately think of. Ex. How you always tend to look for improvement in a process, How you in every workplace tend to effortlessly bring people together for collaboration, How you see patterns in things and can draw parallels others miss. If you are struggling with this – ask a colleague/former colleague to help you. Then make sure these things are showcased in your CV.
As someone who has worked within Recruitment and Talent for almost 10 years I can tell you that many managers create a unicorn avatar in their adverts. The description in the job posts that you read can easily scare anyone off from applying. Many think: “How the flying flamingo can I tick all these boxes?!” Here is a secret: Most managers are perfectly aware of the fact that they probably won’t find this unicorn. It doesn’t put them off trying, but most of them (not saying all but MOST) are open to applicants that can do SOME of these things. Some managers are keen to find someone who can grow into the role (even if the job advert doesn’t reflect it). So here are a couple of more tips:
- If you can do the most important requirement, don’t hesitate to apply even though you can’t do it all! Obviously use your judgement here. If it’s a Java Developer role and you have never used Java it might not be a good use of your time to apply. But if they ask you to know Java, Spring and Oracle and you know 2 of 3 or even 1 out of 3 – why not give it a go? You might get an opportunity to learn something new!
- Draw parallels – don’t forget that you might have capabilities and experiences that you can apply to new tasks and situations. Ex. Applying for a sales role for the first time? Why not highlight that you successfully negotiated new contracts with all your suppliers while working in a bar saving the company x amount of money? Look through your experiences and really reflect on this – you can most likely find more than 1 parallel to underline!
Another thing that I learnt while partnering with managers across all levels and many sectors, is that many managers put attitude, mindset and motivation on top of their requirement list. Not all, but the ones you want as your manager tend to really value the personality aspect and culture fit. I was once partnering with a manager recruiting for a role that was fairly technical, his ideal candidate had a solid number of years’ experience working with a particular software. One of the applications was a junior applicant with limited experience in this technology but she had nailed the cover letter. She had researched the company and our values – then effectively given concrete and specific examples why she wanted to work for us and how she was aligned with all the vales. She got an interview and ultimately got the job!
- Make sure your personality shines through! Research the company you’re applying for and make the application relevant to them and the role. Why are you right for them – and they for you. Use your interests, certain projects, examples and situations to show WHO you are and why you are a good fit.
The unfortunate truth is that many recruiters have extremely high workload. So when there are 250 applications for a role, they don’t have much time to spend on each one. Keep this in mind when structuring your CV. Ex. In one of my CV review sessions, I had a client who was applying for a management role for the first time without direct management experience. However, he had mentored junior members and taught new recruits for a long time. When looking at his CV, the only indication of this was a small bullet-point under his work experience at the end (easily missed). We re-worded it, expanded on this experience and summarized it at the top of his CV. He got an interview for a management role within a week!
- Make sure your application is structured and very easy to read. Have a few bullet-points at the top that immediately inform why you are relevant to this job (try to avoid a long text)! Make sure your most relevant experience is at the top for each role.
So, I hope you take these tips and information to heart and go out there and apply for the jobs you want. Do be put off by the unicorn requirements – show them how you can bring value in your own unique way! You got this!
A former manager to me used to say: if you don’t ask, it’s always a no. So go out there and ask to get interviews – the worst that can happen is that they say no. And that doesn’t mean that you are not awesome!
Have you gotten an interview already? Congratulations! Why don’t you book some interview coaching to increase your chances! Find the package HERE!
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