There is a statistic that constantly makes its way around professional circles. It’s a statistic that deserves our attention, especially as women. According to an HP internal report, “Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them.”
This statistic should leave you asking questions about what opportunities women are leaving on the table simply because they don’t match with every single bullet point on a job description. If our experience doesn’t precisely match the job description, how do we compensate and convince a potential employer we’re qualified for a job?
SHOW OFF YOUR POTENTIAL
There are some skills within the workplace that are so incredibly valued it doesn’t matter if you don’t check off every other box on the application. A manager would prefer to have someone who works hard, is a team player, and is a quick learner. If you can convince them you posses those traits, you can most likely make them want to invest in your potential. Whatever skill it is you think you’re lacking can typically be taught in a matter of weeks or months. If employers are smart, they’ll want to hire someone they can retain for years. Convince them you have the drive to learn new skills and will work hard to build their company, and those unchecked boxes won’t matter.
UNDERSTAND THE HIRING PROCESS
According to some hiring experts, a job description typically tends to be more like a wish list. Most employers are willing to overlook your lack of experience in some areas. Often the job description hasn’t been updated in years or has been pieced together using a template. Some job descriptions are also meant to weed out people who are too lazy to apply. If this is the case, women are truly leaving an unbelievable amount of opportunities on the table when they only apply for a job they consider a perfect match. Once you understand all the factors that go into creating the actual job description, you’ll realize you’re most likely selling yourself short.
CONFIDENCE IS KEY
Confidence is always a key factor in the job application process, but it’s vital when applying for jobs that don’t completely match up with your experience. You need to convey self-confidence at every opportunity. Use your cover letter as a tool to brag about your universal workplace skills. With every phone call, email, or meeting with your potential employer, remind them of the qualifications you’re most proud of and have an answer ready in case they ask about any lack of experience in a certain area. Don’t apologize for it; convince them it doesn’t matter and remind them of your willingness to learn.
There is no doubt the possibility of rejection is scary. The last thing any of us wants to do is sit in front of strangers, pour our professional hearts out, and have them tell us we’re not good enough. However, what should really scare us more is the statistic mentioned above and the opportunities we’re letting pass us by.