I want this job – but I don’t meet the job spec!

Picture this scenario: you’re searching through job listings and you see something that peaks your interest. You read on, getting more excited and happy about what you’ve found – and then you read the specifications and see you don’t match.

It could be because you’re unfamiliar with a specific program or you might just not have enough experience. Whatever it is, the end result is the same – you don’t meet the spec so you can’t apply for the job, right?

Well actually no – you still could apply, and land, the job – after all, the job spec is only listing some examples of what the employer is looking for. For example, if you’re reading the spec for a receptionist position and it lists on the spec that you need previous reception experience and you don’t have it, you might still be able to get the job based on your other experience.

Think about what skills you do have that match those of the position you’re applying for. Following our receptionist scenario, whilst you might not have previous experience as a receptionist you might have worked in a front-of-house role before. You could have experience managing clients, greeting guests, making phone calls, taking minutes and much more. So, whilst you don’t have the exact  previous experience specified, you’ve  got everything that the employer is looking for – it’s just been in a different role. If you can get this across in your application, then you stand a good chance of landing an interview.

Focus on your skills

So how do you do showcase your skills to employers when they don’t quite match the job spec? The most common mistake people make is that they over complicate things – but all that’s required is to simply list the skills you have and show how they relate to the job you’re hoping for.

Many jobs have skills that will easily overlap with each other, so think carefully about how the skills you have can relate and benefit the post you’re applying for. You should also mention skills that aren’t listed on the spec if you think they’ll be a benefit to your prospective employer. For example, if you can speak another language, this can be a big benefit to a wide range of jobs, even if it’s not something the employer asked for specifically. Just because a skill isn’t listed on the spec doesn’t mean that it won’t be seen as valuable – so don’t be afraid to mention it.

Be confident

Confident Job Applicant

It might seem obvious but this is a valuable piece of advice for any application – especially if you don’t have the exact skills listed in the job spec. Make sure your confidence comes across in your application – all applications or CVs will have space for a summary section at the top, so use this to sell yourself.

Don’t draw attention to any weaknesses or be negative about yourself – if you believe you have the skills for the job, focus your efforts on getting this across. Whilst you certainly shouldn’t lie, the key is to be a little more selective with what you choose to say. Your application is your chance to sell yourself and demonstrate why you deserve the job, so think of everything you can bring to the role, whether it’s in the job spec or not.

What else can I do to help my application?

Just because you can’t tick every box listed in the job spec doesn’t mean your application will be any weaker, in fact, it could easily be much stronger. A confident approach and expressing your skills can do a lot to help your application, but there’s plenty of other ways to strengthen your case as well.

Research the people that you want to work for and use your application to tell them how you can help them reach their goals. Show that you have a shared vision and values, and use your application as a way to demonstrate that while you might not meet everything in the spec,  you can still meet the demands of the job.

Last but not least, make sure you’ve picked the perfect CV template to create the right impression – click here to view our free CV templates with instant download.


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