Should I apply?
You know that moment when you are studying a job advertisement and wondering if you should apply – perhaps you’ve got some of the skills, but not all of them. Surely it can’t hurt just to fire off an application?
Well, it might, depending on the quality of the application that you send. Unless your skills are very niche, it could be the case that there will be plenty of other applicants that have more relevant skills than you. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply, but it does mean your application needs to be a really strong one that stands out from the crowd. Here are some tips that ought to help.
- Read the ad carefully – look for ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ skills. If you have all or most of the ‘essential’ skills, you need to make sure it is clear on your CV, which might mean you have to re-write parts of it to highlight this. If you have any of the ‘desirable’ skills, you need to mention them too – mentioning a rare skill that is important to the client could give you a significant advantage over other applicants. If you don’t have any of the skills, don’t apply, as a weak application indicates a lack of attention to detail and can impact on your future submissions.
- Write a covering letter – Many applicants don’t bother, and this is your chance to make your application better than theirs, and also to address those skills that you don’t have that might be a concern. Draw the employer’s attention to the relevance of the skills you do have, and indicate any equivalent or transferrable skills that might compensate for the ones you don’t.
- Mention your achievements – If you are lacking in some of the skills, how about using your CV to demonstrate that you are a fast learner who can pick up new skills quickly? Think about times in the past when you have had to solve a problem or learn something in a short timeframe in the workplace, and mention it. Was the outcome a positive one for you and the company? Mention that too.
- Have a memorable CV! Just because another candidate is better qualified for the role doesn’t mean their CV is better than yours. Make your CV memorable for the recruiter – so even if you are not successful this time, they will contact you in the future with a role that suits your skills much better.
If you are unsure whether to apply or not, try giving the advertiser a quick call and asking their advice – even if they don’t think you will be suitable for the role, it’s likely they will advise you to send your CV in anyway for future requirements, which will be a more productive start to your relationship with them, and will give you a chance to prove you are a great candidate at another point in the future.