At some point in your job search process, you must have come across a job that you believed you could do but did not have all the required experience and training (if any at all). While you may have felt that there was no point of you applying, the truth is, it is possible to get a job that you have little experience for. But how exactly?
Well, it’s simple. You have to demonstrate your potential to excel in the position and the ways in which you’ll be an asset to the company. Here’s how to do that.1.
1.Identify the problem they need the position to solve
The best way to get noticed by an employer is to focus on what you can do for their company rather than what they can do for you. So while you may really need a job or be eager to work for a particular company, your desperation should not come across to employers, instead, they should be desperate to hire you. So how exactly do you do this?
First, you carefully analyse the job description and company profile, and identify why exactly they are hiring for the job position you want? What need do they hope for that person to fill?
For instance, a start-up non-profit that is looking to hire a social media manager needs someone to be their brand voice online. The problem they want you to solve is increasing exposure for their work to online audiences. So this is what you’ll have to demonstrate in your application, rather than simply telling them that you want the job because you want to learn from them
2. Research the key players
Figure out who you’ll be reporting to, working with, and potentially interviewing with. You can do this by looking at the staff profiles on the company website and researching employees on LinkedIn. The reason to do this is to better understand the people who will be receiving your application. What do they care about? And how can you tailor your application to that?
For instance, if you see that your potential future boss really cares about analytics, statistics, and numbers, then make sure that you demonstrate your quantitative knowledge and experience in your application. However, don’t lie, if you don’t know something don’t say you do. Instead, say you are willing to learn.
3.Talk to people who work there
When you research the company staff, take the liberty to reach out to one or two people who work in positions similar to the one you are applying for and ask them about their experiences there. Don’t ask them to give in a good word for you, or what to expect from the interview – as this will give you an unfair advantage and is grounds for disqualification. However, there’s nothing wrong with asking them about their experience at the company and what the work entails. This will give you a better picture on the job and whether you can do it, and it will also tell you what the employer is looking for and thus help you tailor your application to that.
For instance, if the staff you contacted mentions that working on budgets is a big part of their role. Then you can highlight your experience doing this in your CV. Or take a quick online course to learn how to do it and add it as a skill in your CV.
4.Send a cover letter
Even if the job doesn’t ask for a cover letter, it’s in your best interest to send one, or at least include in your email a paragraph or two as to why you should work for the company and in that position. You see, when you don’t have all the required job experience, you have to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role and potential at every chance you get. And a cover letter will help you do that.
Don’t focus on your lack of experience, instead, concentrate on your potential for growth in the company. For instance, instead of writing “while I don’t have 3 years work experience, I am a dedicated learner…” you should write, “every job I’ve had, I’ve shown exceptional ability to learn new skills quickly. For instance, my current work as a program manager required me to manage multi-million shillings budgets across departments – a task that’s successfully undertaken.”
5.Show initiative and learn something
If you find that there are skills that you lack for a specific job but can quickly learn them, then what are you waiting for? There are plenty of free online resources like blogs and YouTube tutorials that can teach you the skills you want to learn. Moreover, you can even mention in your interview that you are self-taught in these areas, as this will demonstrate initiative and independence to the employer. Which are qualities many employers in Tanzania are looking for?
Don’t stop at no
Even if after all your efforts, you still don’t land the job – don’t be disheartened. Instead, contact the people who interviewed you and ask them how your interview went and how you could’ve done better. Take their feedback and incorporate it into your next application. The more you try to improve, the closer you will get to landing your dream job (even if you don’t have all the requirements). As you will simply be, the best candidate for the job.