Should I Apply for a Job that Doesn’t Perfectly Match my Background?

Should I Apply for a Job that Doesn’t Perfectly Match my Background?

Imagine that you’ve been scouring the internet, looking for a new job. You finally find an exciting job posting that sparks something inside deep inside. But is it really a good fit for you? Are you sure that you’re qualified to apply for a job? How would this position advance your career?

When reviewing a job posting, there are multiple things that you need to consider as you study it line-by-line in detail. A job posting that, at first glance, doesn’t seem to be ideal might turn out to be the biggest opportunity you’ve had in your career thus far!

Job Title

First, take a look at the job title in the posting. Is it the same or different from job titles you’ve held in the past (or currently hold)? Would the job posting be a step up for you, a lateral move, or a jump to something different?

Sometimes, the impressiveness of a job title depends on the size of the company. For example, I once worked with a small family-owned (not my family) business, with about $3 million in annual revenue. My formal title was Vice President, a prestigious job title! However, that definitely wouldn’t have been the case if I had been in a larger company. So it can sometimes be an “investment” to take a job with a smaller company that will give you a better job title for your resume.

Job vs Career workbook

Look at the Verbs

The verbs inside a job posting are clues that will tell you what the job actually entails. It might include verbs such as sell, manage, facilitate, analyze, monitor, teach, organize, schedule, produce or develop. Do you already know how to do these things? If not, can you get the training or learn?

Reporting Structure

Knowing who your immediate superiors will be important information. Who does the position report to? What department or division is the job in? Who will report to you?

Measurements

To excel in a new job, you need to know how to measure success. In other words, how will your performance in the job be measured?

Would it be a decrease in customer complaints? Increase in new clients? Improved efficiency in production time? Every job has some way to measure if the person is doing well or not, and that is information you need before you take any position.

Candidate Requirement

Candidate requirements in job postings are what often scares off otherwise qualified job seekers. The candidate requirements are usually the company’s “wish list.” Pay attention to the words “required,” “preferred,” “a plus” and so on. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have all of the “required” experience in your background. If you meet most of them or have skills and training that is adjacent to them, apply for a job anyway.

For example, maybe you don’t have an MBA, but you do have years of high-level work in an executive role. That experience could be more useful than the MBA they requested. It all depends on precisely what they are looking for.

You should also consider that it might be easier to step around those requirements if you have someone who is helping you network into the company.

If you find a great job listing that you think you are perfect for, you should go for it! But try to keep a level head. Remain focused on jobs that are a good fit, rather than using a shotgun approach to applying for positions. This focus will help make sure that you end up in a job and career that suits you and your abilities.

And if you are worried that your resume doesn’t quite fit what companies are looking for, I can help! Just because your background isn’t a perfect match with a job description doesn’t mean that wouldn’t be a perfect fit. Together, we can go through every aspect of your career and experience, crafting a new resume that will put you in the best possible light for potential employers.

If you’re interested in working together to help land your next big job, I’d be delighted to talk! I offer free consultations where I can explain all of my services. Tools for Transition is your one-stop-shop for resume writing, job coaching, and interview guidance. Let’s get you started on the next step of your professional life!