It’s almost impossible to find a job that you are 100% qualified for. Most job postings are written with an ideal candidate in mind—someone who possesses every single skill required to excel in a particular position. Even if you meet all of the main requirements, it’s likely that there will be one or two listed skills that you lack. And more often than not, companies fully expect that few candidates will meet each and every one of their expectations. An applicant with a solid 80-85 percent of the requirements is usually what they are looking for.
Learn More: Job Search Tips When You're Currently Employed
But should you still apply for a job if you lack a crucial skill listed in the description? There are two possible ways to handle the situation without giving up on the opportunity.
1. Redirect Their Attention
Without appearing as though you haven’t read the requirements, play up the relevant strengths that you do have. Emphasize these skills in your cover letter and how they relate to the position you are applying for. Be sure to feature your past professional accomplishments in your work history section if your resume.
If you make it to the interview round, you should also anticipate questions about why your current skillset and strengths will help you in the role. It’s a good idea to prepare a few of these answers in advance.
2. Start Learning
Communicate in your cover letter and resume that you are actively acquiring the listed skill. This way you know that you won’t be overlooked simply for not mentioning the skill at all (employers will occasionally put resumes through a keyword search to filter through them).
Related: How Job Hoppers Should Format Their Resume's Employment History
After applying, try to spend as much time as possible learning about the new skill. Read articles, watch online tutorials, even surf around on YouTube. There’s an amazing wealth of knowledge available online and often a skill can be easily picked up. If the skill they’re looking for is more specialized, at least ensure that you’ve familiarized yourself with it in advance of going in for an interview.
A candidate that shows initiative and a willingness to gain a new skill often impresses employers just as much as someone who comes in with the skill in hand. Don’t sell yourself short just because you may lack one piece of the puzzle. There are plenty of ways to position your application accordingly.
For more job searching tips or to apply to one of our great jobs in Washington DC, contact the helpful staff at Sparks Group. We’d be happy to provide assistance at any stage of the application process!