When looking for a new job, it can be tough to decipher what exactly is meant in the job description. You want to be sure you have the skills and requirements listed, but also want to be constantly reaching for the next great job. Recently, a member of our LinkedIn Job Seekers group, Joanne, asked this question:
"How much of the job criteria should you meet before applying? I have heard different things regarding this. One career counselor said to apply if I had 80% while a teacher of a grant writing course I took said to apply even if I didn’t have any professional experience. Are the criteria listings mostly just ‘wish lists’? I know that there are no perfect candidates, but when I see something I don’t have (or have enough of), even though other aspects of the job sounds perfect, I get psyched out by it. How can I get past it? How have you dealt with it? Is there anyone out there who does the hiring that can give me some insight?"
The Daily Muse looks at job requirements as more of a wish list and advises on several ways to look at job description through your own lens. If something listed is more of a hard skill, like experience with a specific software product, you can show that you worked with a similar software program. If you have fewer years of experience than they want, but worked at a small company and were very involved in a lot of the inner workings, demonstrate that.
Over on Ask A Manager, Alison Green advises using your cover letter to highlight the accomplishments you’ve achieved. Say you only have two years experience when they want three to five. As long as you’ve reached some big goals and tell that story with your application, she encourages people to apply.