WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE ALL THE SKILLS LISTED IN THE POSTING?
I have a client in Toronto who is interested in moving out of the city. She saw a job posting in St. Catherines that sounded interesting. She wanted to apply, but hesitated because she was focused on all the things she didn’t have. In a sense, she was screening herself out of the job without even trying. It was true, she didn’t have all the experience they were looking for in their very detailed job posting; however, she had the credentials and she had worked in the field. She was confident in what she had to offer and she knew she would be able to learn the rest quickly.
Should she apply anyway?
“Yes, she should apply …and she did!”
It is always best to let the employer do the screening, rather than screening yourself out of an interview.
It is important to recognize when one of the criteria is non-negotiable. For example, if they are hiring a Nurse or a Lab Assistant, you need credentials in the field. However, employers often post a position listing an inflated credential, one that may not be carved in stone.
For example, I talked with an Executive Director who was managing a counselling organization. They needed to hire a social worker. Their job posting stated only candidates with an MSW would be considered. However, they did receive a resume from someone with a BSW and the exact skills and attributes they were looking for; she got the job. On the other hand this same employer did receive a resume from a Project Manager with a BA, who of course was not called for an interview.
In terms of the other competencies employers are looking for, most employers would say that they would expect an applicant to have at least a 60% match with the posting. I read a study that found that men apply when they identify as having a 60% match and women apply when they feel they have an 80% match with the posting. Turns out that 60% is just fine.
There are so many factors that could impact whether you get a call for an interview. It is possible that some of the qualifications will be more important to an employer than others or you may have complementary skills that catch their eye.
You may not be an exact match with the posting, but you may have the right combination of Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Other Attributes for the position. I talked to one employer who always interviews at least one person who does not fit the job exactly. They select a person who has the abilities and attributes that would make them a great match with the organization.
What we know for sure is that if you don’t apply, you won’t get a call for an interview. When in doubt, let the employer decide.
Of course ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems), may pose a barrier if your resume does not include keywords which makes this a bit more of a challenge. Apply anyway what is the worst that is going to happen?
If you would like assistance with this decision or you would like help making sure your resume and cover letter highlight all that you bring to the position, contact us at or (705)745-1607.