Dear J.T. & Dale: There is a job I am very interested in applying for. I have all the qualifications except for one, where I have similar experience but it’s not exactly what they specify. Is there any way around a missing job requirement? Also, I suspect that they put it in there because they already have someone in mind – a screening tool, as it were. - Lisa
DALE: Most people try to overcome a missing requirement by rationalizing it in the cover letter. Hopeless. It’s like explaining a joke – too late. Often, people screening applications won’t even bother to read a cover letter unless they’ve scanned the resume and confirmed that the requirements have been met.
J.T.: As for the inside candidate, I know it happens that jobs are posted even when they have a candidate in mind; however, I’ve also seen situations where the inside candidate loses out to a new applicant. Of course, that’s never going to happen if you don’t get your resume past the initial screening.
The way to do this is to get someone who works there to pitch you for the job. You need someone who can map out the connection between the specific requirement you’re lacking and your experience, because it’s next to impossible to get hiring managers to figure that out on their own.
DALE: Yes, get that insider to get you into the “To Be Interviewed” group, and even if there is an inside candidate, there’s a good chance that the insider will be overconfident, resulting in an interview that’s casual and unimpressive. If you come in having talked to people in similar positions and having generated a list of ideas, you can be seen as bringing in a new energy that the insider can’t match.
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