An Intimidating Skills List On The Job Description? Do Not Let It Intimate You. was originally published on Ivy Exec.
Are you ever intimidated by the skills and experience requirements when scrolling through job postings? Perhaps you think there is no way you’ll ever acquire the expertise to land your dream job. Or maybe you’re discovering postings that seem at your career level but require far more skills than you possess.
Other job postings may be downright unbelievable. You might ask yourself, does anyone at my level have everything they’re looking for?
The answer is no, probably not. Hiring managers don’t expect candidates to have all the experience listed on the posting. Instead, skills on job postings are typically more like a wish list than a hope that a single candidate will possess all those skills.
“The requirements in job postings are a composite of someone’s idea of the ideal candidate. I’d think of them as guidelines intended to give you a sense of the profile of a person who would be right for the job, rather than a rigid cut-off. If you match 80% of the qualifications and believe you can demonstrate that you’d excel at the job, apply,” said Alison Green of Ask a Manager.
Of course, you shouldn’t apply to a position for which you’re grossly unqualified – you probably shouldn’t waste your time on a senior-level position, for instance, if you’re newly mid-career, for example – but you get the idea.
The bottom line is that some people are confident in applying for jobs that lack some of the required skills. So, this confidence, rather than being more qualified than someone else, encourages one person to apply while someone else with an equivalent skill list will decide not to.
“A study that was conducted reported that men apply for a job or promotion when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply if they meet 100% of them. What condemned women was not their ability to do the work, but rather the lack of confidence and the decision not to try,” said Mei Ibrahim of Sanabel Consulting.
What should you do if you come across a job posting with an intimidating skills list? Here, we’ll talk about how to apply for a job if you’re missing some of the requested qualifications.
Identify the actual must-haves of the position – and separate them from the “bonus” skills.
Every job posting has two key features: must-have and nice-to-have skills. While hiring managers may be especially excited about candidates with “bonus” skills, they will focus most on those with the required skills.
So, read the job posting carefully and decide which skills are required. What experience is necessary to do the job well? What kind of background would prepare you for this role? Then, you can decide if you should spend your time applying.
Highlight the most important aspects of the job posting that you do have.
Once you decide to apply for a position with an intimidating skills list, it’s essential to focus on the experience you have that they want. Include your most relevant experience first, even using creative formatting to emphasize those qualifications.
“Bullet points help make it easier for the hiring manager to read…Use boldface, bullet points, or another device to make them stand out. They should not get lost in long sentences or buried in paragraphs,” advises Steve Milano.
Explain how your skills and experience are transferable for the position.
If you think you’ve been successful in a position, you likely think you have the experience for the job, even if you’ve acquired this background in unconventional ways. So, share this experience!
The key here, however, is explaining how your experience is relevant to the background the company is seeking in candidates.
“For example, if the position requires five or more years of job experience but you only have three, you may choose to focus on your volunteer work or internship opportunities to make up for the lack of experience,” Indeed said.
If you don’t have a skill, consider mentioning that you are learning or will learn it.
If a skill seems minor in the job posting, feel free to leave it out of your application materials. But suppose a qualification seems necessary and you don’t have it. In that case, you may want to mention that you are willing to develop this skill even if it means additional professional development or coursework.
If you’re excited about the position, convey that in your materials.
Excitement can make up for missing skills, too. If you’re passionate about a position, demonstrate that in your cover letter. If you have a few things to learn, your interest and enthusiasm can go a long way in proving to the hiring manager that you’re willing to go the extra mile if awarded the position.
“But if you’re more or less qualified and you’re enthusiastic about the job and the organization, this will hopefully come across in your application and help to compensate for the few qualifications you lack,” suggests the Job Network.
Applying for a Job with an Intimidating Skills List
Hiring managers don’t expect candidates to have every job qualification listed on a posting. Instead, they want to create a “wish list” of skills while also describing the position’s essential functions.
If you are excited about a position and believe you’d do a good job, consider if you have the essential skills required. While you shouldn’t waste your time applying to jobs you’re wholly unqualified for, you should be confident in throwing your hat in the ring for roles where you possess most, or even some, of the skills on the posting.