Don’t Apply For Every Job. Do These 5 Things Instead.
When searching for a new job, it can be pretty tempting to apply for each and every position that piques your interest. And that inclination is certainly understandable – who hasn’t gotten swept away with visions of a total profession overhaul? But while it’s certainly worthwhile (and even advisable) to cast a wide net, there are a few things to consider before spending valuable time and energy indiscriminately submitting applications for which you are unqualified.
Since there is likely a large pool of qualified candidates for any given position, unqualified candidates who don’t meet the position requirements are unlikely to be considered. If, knowing that, you are confident that you would be a good fit, consider doing the following to increase the odds of your application getting noticed.
- Bridge the Skill Gap – When making a career change where you have a sizeable skill gap, a professional career coach is your most powerful ally. They will help you build from your foundation of core skills and identify areas of focus to help secure your dream job. They will also assist in identifying and utilizing resources – such as local college courses, certification programs through professional associations, etc., that will help mobilize you towards your ultimate goal.
- Write a Winning Cover Letter and Re-Format Your Resumé – Use your cover letter explain why you are in fact uniquely qualified and should be considered for the job. Keep it positive, focusing on your past achievements and the myriad of transferable skills that you will bring (more on that below). Also, create a chrono-functional resumé that de-emphasizes job history in favor of skills that are applicable to the desired job. It should highlight outstanding skills and achievements and, again, emphasize your transferable skills.
- Highlight Your Transferrable Skills – If you have exceptional transferable skills, you are better positioned to make a case for why you should be given a chance at a job for which you are otherwise underqualified. Examples include:
- Strong work ethic
- Analytical skills
- Planning and organizational abilities
- Problem-solving skills
- Written and oral communication skills
- Ability to work well under pressure
- Ability to multi-task
- High level of conscientiousness, with exceptional attention to detail, accuracy & discretion
- Ability to work well both collaboratively and independently
- Leverage Your Connections – Unleash the power of your professional and personal network. Having an “in” by getting a personal introduction from a mutual contact goes a very long way. If you don’t have a mutual connection to help facilitate this, consider requesting an informational interview. Not only will you gain valuable insider intel and direction, you will also have an opportunity to grow your professional network and to position yourself as a potential future colleague. Also, never underestimate the benefit of securing great recommendations. Being emphatically endorsed by a past manager or someone of equal high-level caliber will show that you are a candidate worth considering.
- Go the Extra Mile – Consider doing something unconventional and above and beyond the status quo. Examples include:
- Create a slide-deck presentation with ideas that you would bring to the role.
- Present a portfolio of work samples that showcase the many facets of your talents.
- Consider volunteering to work on an unpaid trial basis.
So, if you find that, on-paper, your qualifications are lacking for the position you covet, consider taking these preliminary steps. The extra time and effort in doing so will be well worthwhile, as you will greatly increase the likelihood of getting your foot in the door and being considered!