Job Hunting Tips

What if I Don’t Have the Right Experience?

Posted by John
min read
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I am the last person to write about politics, but after months of my Facebook and Twitter feeds blowing up with messages about the United States presidential election ( I should declare I am a US expat!), I thought it was time to remark on one of the sentiments that came from all of those digital conversations.  One student tweeted, “Donald Trump is a reminder that you should just apply for that job you want even if you don’t have the experience,” surely acquiring both serious and hilarious reactions from followers. 

Irrespective of your political persuasion, it was a comment on which both sides of the political fence could agree!   But this student’s words echoed a question often asked within the recruitment industry, is it worth applying for jobs that are of interest even, if the candidate doesn’t meet all or most of the criteria?  

Depending on whether the position is temporary or permanent, the answer may be different.  

When it comes to temporary positions, we, the recruiters, require people who have experience for our roles so that they can hit the ground running and meet our clients’ short term needs, immediately. However, on the permanent side, most of the time it is about culture fit and the person having the right attitude. When a candidate applies for specialised jobs for which I am advertising, usually candidates with less experience or the ‘wrong’ experience will receive an ‘update on your application’ email which states they were unsuccessful for the role and about a week later.  

Often times, after receiving that email, a candidate will call me for feedback. This is a golden move.  

And here’s why… Let’s take my candidate, we’ll call her Jessica, who had applied for a graphic design role.  She had no graphic design experience whatsoever, but had held a few administration positions and leadership roles whilst at university.  

After receiving the email, Jessica followed up with a phone call to me.  Her determination, phone etiquette and persistence convinced me to meet with her.  Even though her qualifications didn’t match all those which had been outlined in the job advertisement, I knew that we recruited for alternative positions that potentially could fit her experience.  

Needless to say, Jessica was a standout candidate, and soon after our conversation, I placed her in a different role and more aligned with her experience. Now I realise that running for President of the United States of America and pursuing a role as a graphic designer are two vastly different things.  But the point I am trying to make is you never know if you don’t try.  

If you don’t meet all of the selection criteria, but you feel passionate and excited about the opportunity, it’s still worth applying for the job because there could be a more suitable opportunity down the line at that same company.  Persistence, proactivity, a great phone manner and motivation to succeed can go a long way, perhaps landing you your next dream job. Just ask the President-Elect!