Applying for a job beyond your comfort zone

Author: Mark Danaher

Applying for a job beyond your comfort zone

Purpose

How to get your dream job?

I have been working with many clients lately who have been afraid to apply for a job outside of their qualifications and experience. They have been fearful that they may not meet all the requirements requested in the job description.  According to Tara Sophia Mohr’s article in the Harvard Business Journal, 46% of men and 41% of women “did not apply for a job because they felt they would not hire me since I did not meet the qualifications and I did not want to waste my time and energy.”  More women than men clients have doubted their ability to land a job when they do not meet 100% of the requirements. My male clients are willing to take a chance even when they may not satisfy all the requirements. 60% of the men apply for a job they are not fully qualified for, while most of the women do not apply unless they meet all of the requirements. I am coaching women and men to be more confident in their skills, experiences, and perceived lack of experiences.

It is important to remember that the job description for a position may have been written by a professional who has not worked that position. They may be looking at other companies and taking responsibilities from those job postings while also seeking input from department leaders. Company personnel put out these unrealistic job postings for a dream person who does not exist, knowing that they may not get that dream person for the position. There is no perfect candidate out there, and typically there is no candidate who will meet every requirement on a job posting. I encourage my clients to read the job description and interpret their skills, experience, and lack of knowledge and understand that they can still apply for this position beyond their comfort zone.

Here are three things you can do when you see a job posted

Visualize

It is essential to review the job description and determine if you can visualize yourself doing this job based on the requirements listed. Can you see yourself carrying out the role of a project manager?   Visualize yourself carrying out the functions from managing employees to ensuring that the projects stay on track and on budget.  Please do this for the various requirements and see how it feels. Once you do this visioning, you will get a better idea of which skills and experience you have for the position and which skills and knowledge you may lack. In the end, if the job description requires a certain high-level coding skill or a language which you do not have, then you do not apply.  

Ignore

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Many times, employers put in bonus requirements that make the position sound attractive.  As you look at the job description, what would your primary role be? For example, if the role focuses on people and project management and a job requirement listed is for advanced skill level in WordPress and computer coding, these may sound like deal-breakers for applying.  In reality, they are probably more like a bonus requirement since your primary position is managing people. At the end of the description, sometimes there is a list of skills that they would love to have in a candidate, but they know they may not find them. Ignore these last skills and focus on the primary ones you do have. You may not be the dream candidate they wrote about, but still you may be the right candidate who will do very well with your work and commitment.

Transferable Skills

You have read the position description, and you are overly excited yet nervous that you may not meet their high expectations. It is now time to focus on the skills and knowledge you can take from your current position and apply to the new job. This will be important in your cover letter and interview. Do not stretch the truth or make up stories that are not true. (For example, working on payroll, you say you were in charge of all the company employees). Focus on the experiences and skills you have from your work and volunteer roles that will show the employer what you can bring to the position. 

No matter what you do, be confident in who you are and what you have to offer. When you see a position that you are interested in, apply – no matter what you believe. You do not know what the employer is looking for, and you never know what may happen. Yes, it may cost you time to apply, but it also may get you the job you have been dreaming of.

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