Anyone sifting through listings on job boards has inevitably arrived at this sobering realization: In truth, there are very few jobs that you’re 100 percent qualified for.
Overcoming lack of experience is hard, especially if you’re facing an intimidating list of lengthy job requirements that seem designed to deter almost anyone.
If you’re at the early stages of growing your career, or attempting to pivot into something new, feeling unqualified for the job of your dreams is even more daunting. Plenty of people adopt the “fake it until you make it” mentality when it comes to applying for jobs. But in a competitive job market, what do you do if you’re afraid a lack of qualifications or experience will keep you from a coveted position?
Here are some tips to help you make a positive impression on your next employer.
Believe You Can Do This
If you’ve scored an interview but are nervous about how you’ll compare to more experienced candidates, remember this: You’ve been invited to connect because the company is interested in learning more about you. That’s a great confidence boost, so channel positive energy and positive thinking during the interview process.
Getting an interview and landing a job offer with minimal experience isn’t mission impossible. It will be hard but believe in yourself and be ready to channel positive energy during your interviews.
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Use Research to Make Connections
Learn all you can about the company and the position offered so you can highlight your suitability for the job, as well as your fit with the company and your passion for the role.
Take time to do detailed background research on the company, the role, recent media coverage and recent social media posts. This will uncover ways to connect with the interviewers on a personal level, demonstrate your interest in the company and convey why you would be the best choice to work there.
Frame Your Biggest Achievements and Strongest Skills
During your interview, make sure to frame your existing experience and skills in the best possible way. For example, if you’re a recent grad seeking employment, focus on your education and any projects that showcase desirable skills in the job description.
You should also frame any job experience effectively to position you as an asset to any employer. For example, if you worked as a barista in college, you likely did much more than make drinks and run a cash register. Think about the bigger picture. What were the outcomes of the customer service you delivered? How much revenue was generated by the company during your employment?
If you don’t have years of experience in your field of interest, but you’ve interned or volunteered with organizations, think about how to bring those experiences to life in an impactful way. Be prepared to share examples of your strongest skills and biggest achievements and be ready to expand on the examples you share if asked. Framing the positives to bring to life the requirements included in a job posting will help you stand out as desirable candidate.
Become a Problem Solver
Another useful strategy is to learn more about the problems the company is facing, that you can help to fix. If the company didn’t have a need, they wouldn’t be hiring. However, you should not make assumptions as to what the problems are.
To help uncover some of those opportunities, I’ve often asked prospective employers what they’d like to achieve in my first 30 days. That question often leads to valuable insights and details about the role that you may not find in the job description. More importantly, this approach demonstrates to your interviewer that you’re not just excited about the role, but already thinking ahead on how to deliver results.
Understanding your role before you’re even hired is a great way to impress interviewers and get your foot in the door.
Tell Us What You Think
Have you been hired for a job despite a lack of experience? We want to hear from you. Share your story in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.