Seeking a New Job? Follow These Steps to Set Yourself Up for Success
With so many candidates applying for a single position, is it really possible to stand out? In short, yes – but there are some things you have to do in order to set yourself up for success. This starts with writing a winning resume and continues all the way through the interview process. Following these helpful steps will help boost your chances of securing an interview and even landing you the job.
What to Do If You Feel Under-Qualified
Do you have your eyes set on a particular position but not you're not quite meeting all of the requirements? Studies suggest that you should go for it anyway! Statistics show that men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the requirements. In the same study, women applied only when they met 100% of them.
However, the reason that both men and women in this study overlooked these jobs was not because of a lack of confidence in themselves. 41% of the women in the study didn't apply for the job they wanted simply because they didn't meet the entrance requirements. 46% of men bypassed the job for the exact same reason. Most of these candidates believed they could do the job well but thought that meeting the requirements was a necessity to be considered.
So, before bypassing a job that interests you, remember that people are being hired with only 60% of the qualifications for the job.
These are very eye-opening statistics. Not to mention, if you're already meeting every single requirement for the job, that doesn't leave much room for growth. Focus your efforts on applying for work that will challenge you and that aligns with your overall career goals. Recruiters actually like to see applicants looking for new ways to challenge themselves. This includes going for positions that may appear harder to attain.
The truth is, nobody is perfect for any job. Most of the time, employers are looking for someone who fits well into the company's culture which could be good or bad depending on the company. Look at our other blog that talks about a company's culture and having an unintentional bias.
Just because other applicants have all the qualifications or more experience, does not mean they will be a better fit for the company. Employers also place a high importance on a variety of other factors. They will want to assess whether your values align with the company, how you interact with your colleagues, and what your work ethic is like.
Do you think you'd be an asset for the team, but worried that you're still slightly under-qualified? If this job is in alignment with your desired career path, then apply anyway!
What to Do If You Don't Have A University Degree
Don't have any university degrees under your belt? Good news! School is not as big of a deal as it used to be. These days, many employers realize the importance of experience and soft skills over a degree. Society is changing in the way that we are no longer taught to go to school and stick with one job forever. Many people are changing jobs more often throughout their careers – and the recruitment process has become more flexible as a result. More weight is put on your experience and personality over what you went to school for.
In fact, there is quite often a shortage of people with the ‘right' skill sets these days. This means that employers are looking at other factors as well, such as soft skills. These “soft skills” include important traits like leadership, empathy, creativity and communication. There is a long list of skills like these that make candidates more appealing in the application process. Once you're hired, you can receive hands-on training to make up for a lack of schooling, but soft skills are rarely taught on the job.
Soft skills should of course work together to complement hard skills, such as design or technical skills – whatever basic requirements you need for the job. Most employers assess them together when searching for the right candidates. Quite often, they're willing to sacrifice certain qualifications for skills like emotional intelligence and positivity. Weeding out applicants that lack soft skills is now more of a priority for employers than finding someone with adequate schooling.
This gives you a better chance to secure an interview and showcase how you will benefit the company. So, even if you don't have that degree, apply anyway. You might be surprised!
How to Design A Value-Based Resume to Better Position Yourself
The best way to show a potential employer that you are a great candidate for the job is by delivering a value-based resume. If you are lacking certain experience or schooling, this style of resume will also help showcase the skills you already have in the best light possible. Focus your efforts on demonstrating how you add value to the position and the company. Keep in mind that your resume should not be all about you; be sure to address your prospective employer's needs too. Think “What value can I bring to this position and company?”
When demonstrating value in your resume, experts say that communicating these 3 messages is what will get you the job:
- The ‘Ultimate Results' message
- The ‘Core Strengths' message
- The ‘Value-added' message
To determine your Ultimate Results message, you must figure out what results you will produce to show the business that you are the best candidate for the job. For example, if you're a Sales Representative at a tech company, your Ultimate Results message might be to significantly increase the number of sales and deliver top notch customer service.
Next comes your Core Strengths message. Your core strengths are essentially the skills, qualifications and experience you possess that will allow you to attain your ultimate results goal. Now is your chance to showcase the employer why you are suitable for the job. The perfect happy medium is listing between 6 and 8 relative qualifications. Be sure to list both your soft and hard skills that we mentioned earlier.
Finally, one of the most important pieces of your resume is the ‘Value-Added' message. Anyone can attain the right experience, but this message is what truly sets you apart from other applicants. Keep in mind that this message may not be a requirement that the employer has listed in the job advertisement.
To stick with the career path of a Sales Representative at a tech company, the following is an example of what the three messages might look like together:
To significantly increase the number of sales, monthly goals, and deliver top notch customer service.
- Extensive technical sales experience
- Ability to consistently reach and exceed monthly sales targets
- Highly skilled at assessing client needs
- Excellent written and oral communication skills
- Ability to relate to all types of customers
- Great at problem-solving and overcoming objection
- Unparalleled levels of customer service
Good understanding of how business is run and how to optimize sales, due to my previous business management background.
Use this example to tailor your own resume to the industry you're applying for. Showing a potential employer what you can bring to the table is more important than just listing off previous roles. Trust us when we say that the employer won't just fill in the blanks by looking at your previous work history. They are more inclined to call you in for an interview if you tell them exactly why your previous experience makes you the best fit for the company. They go through so many resumes each day – the easier you can make it for them, the better.
By keeping these tips in mind to add value, you're already setting yourself up for success before the interview.
How to Pitch Yourself as an Individual
Now that you've secured an interview with your value-packed resume, you'll need to know how to pitch yourself in the interview. But pitching yourself is hard, right?
Luckily, with a little preparation, it doesn't have to be. The experts at Big Interview provide some insight into selling yourself in an interview. Wall Street Journal calls Big Interview a “guru in the world of job interviews.” They advise that you should never be afraid to self-promote. Don't miss out on your ideal job opportunity because someone else presented themselves better. Fortunately, there are ways of doing this without seeming totally full of yourself.
If this is the case, what is the best way to do this without sounding inauthentic? You must learn to effectively convey what sets you apart from the other job candidates. Again, going back to those qualifications and strengths. Make sure you think about both your hard and soft skills in relation to the position. How can these skills be of value to your potential employer?
And you don't always have to focus solely on your skills either. If you have passions, interests or even a background story that ties into the job, feel free to throw those in there as well. Just remember to keep the story as clear and concise as possible. Focus only on facts and try to avoid stating too many opinions of yourself.
If pitching yourself as an individual makes you uncomfortable, then be sure to practice before hand. Always start out writing your pitch out on paper. Then you'll want to practice saying what you've written out loud, in as natural of a way as possible. Feel free to do this as many times as you need until it feels right. One very popular way to practice what you are saying is by looking in the mirror. Look at how you talk, your tone of voice, facial expressions, etc.
To be clear, you should never be writing out a script and reciting it when it comes time for the interview. It just means that you should have a few key points to talk about when the employer asks you why they should hire you or what your strengths are. The last thing you want to do is draw a blank stare or hesitate when questions like these come up.
Don't worry if your pitch comes out a little different in the interview, as long as you're covering those necessary key points. Being as confident as possible will help assure the employer that you are, in fact, the best person for the job.
Even if you don't get it right the first time, remember that practice makes perfect. The more you practice, the more confident you will be in delivering a pitch that wins you the job.
Ask These Important Questions
Now that you've successfully pitched yourself for the job, there is one last thing to do that will set you up for success. Always have some questions in mind for the employer as well. The hiring manager isn't the only one who should be asking questions – you should too. Generally, they will give you a chance to ask a few questions toward the end of the meeting. Always remember that they are assessing you on the quality of questions you raise as well. Put some thought into it.
We suggest finding out what success looks like for someone in your position. Be sure to ask what the employer expects from you in 3 days, 7 days, 3 months, and 12 months from now. This will show your commitment to adding value to the position and the company. You're already setting yourself up for success because expectations are set right from the very beginning. Not only does this show initiative on your end, but it can also help you gauge if this is the right position for you. Remember that it must be a good fit not just for the company but for you.
We hope that we've given you the confidence to go after that job. Whether it's just a steppingstone or it's your dream career, remember that there are always others applying for positions with less experience and less qualifications than you. The people that go after those positions are the ones who get the job. Don't be afraid to take that risk – go after what you want. Keep these tips in mind and you will be setting yourself up for success right from the very start.
Stay tuned for our upcoming tips all about diversity, inclusion, and equality in the workplace.