Hiring managers want the best of everything. In their job postings, they’ll post a long list of requirements and skills that they are looking for. However, chances are, it is very hard to find someone who has all those exact skills, requirements, and experiences. A lot of those skills end up being learned on the job or not needed at all. The more of those skills you have on your resume, the greater your chances are of landing the interview, regardless of whether or not you can perform the job well. So, if you don’t have those skills on paper, how would you convince a hiring manager to give you an interview and potentially the job?
Certifications, Designations, and Courses
Most industries and functions will have professional certifications and designations. For example, finance has the CFA, Series 6, Series 7, and others. Project management has the PMP. IT has the MSCE from Microsoft. Obtaining one of these certifications may help you build the right credentials to get your foot in the door. Some of these credentials may require real world work experience. If you are already in a similar field, your current work experience may be considered relevant experience.
Although certifications and designations say nothing about your job performance, just having them can serve as a signaling mechanism for your potential employer to show that you are dedicated to the field. If someone is willing to spend 100+ hours studying directly relevant topics to pass an industry exam, that person will have an edge over those who are not as dedicated.
Networking through Professional Organizations
There are many professional and industry organizations out there. If you can build strong relationships with people in these organizations, they may have opportunities or refer you to people who are looking to hire. Actually knowing a person or getting referred by someone drastically increases your chances of landing an interview even if you don’t meet all the requirements. If someone knows that you’re a smart, hardworking person who is easy to get along with, they are much more likely to give you an interview.
Networking with Other Hiring Managers
Sometimes other hiring managers in your company may be hiring. If you have a strong rapport with a hiring manager, there’s a good chance she’ll consider you for a job even if you don’t meet all the requirements in the job posting. Therefore, you should always be friendly and considerate to the other people in your office.
At my current company, I started as an analyst. My job consisted mainly of number crunching and building out financial models. However, I was able to get promoted to a project manager role without having any experience with project management and without even a real interview. I had a good rapport around the office. I socialized with others and cared about how others were doing. I put in good work and asked to take on more responsibilities. I made it known to the higher ups that I wanted to grow my career with the company. Ultimately, I just asked for a higher level role and got it.
Creating a Side Business
Creating a business on your own can teach you a lot. You can sell those skills that you learned from creating your business on your resume. For example, if you had to do a lot of online marketing for your personal business and you’re looking for a marketing position, you can definitely use that experience from your own business.
Sometimes, you may be able to reposition existing experience to “fit” a qualification that the hiring manager is looking for. For example, suppose a hiring manager is looking for client relationship management skills. However, you never had to manage any clients. However, you did have to manage projects for other managers and communicate with them on a daily basis. You could talk about how your experience with the managers and explain how similar they were to having multiple clients.
Internships are a great way to gain work experience, especially if you are young and in college. Don’t worry about having to work for free, the experience you gain will pay back down the line.
You need to get creative about how you will obtain your experience to meet employers’ needs. Very few people will have exactly what the hiring managers are looking for. If you can build your credentials in other ways, you will be way ahead of your peers and drastically improve your chances of getting a job that you’re not technically qualified for.
Professional Development and Personal Finance Blog