You review job postings for your dream jobs, but keep coming up short (or so you think) in the relevant experience areas. Don’t lose heart. Every good employer knows that plenty of people can have the ‘perfect’ experience on a resume but be a disaster once on the job. Use this to your advantage.
Cultural Fit and Attitude
In a full-time job, you’ll likely see your colleagues more than your own children or significant other. The hiring manager wants to bring in someone that can get along with the team day-in, day-out for several years.
Highlight and explain your fantastic people skills. Demonstrate your upbeat, can-do attitude. Every employer is looking for someone who is adaptable, an active participant who pulls their own weight, and has ample enthusiasm.
Soft Skills – Hardly Trivial
You may think some of your soft skills are standard traits everyone has, but you’d be surprised how many people in the workforce come up short in:
Perhaps the position is vacant because the previous employee couldn’t keep up with the workflow or rushed and created sloppy outputs. Soft skills can be just as much of a key to your success as the hard ones.
Dollars You Brought in or Saved
Every employer, even if you wish to work for the government or a nonprofit, wants to see contributions to keeping things running in the black. Think back on how you’ve helped previous employers generate money or save it.
Has every event you’ve run been cash positive? Did you create new efficiencies in your department that meant more work could be done with the current staff instead of hiring more?
It Doesn’t Have to Happen On-the-Job to Be Relevant
What are your main interests and what have they taught you? These may not be obvious, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t relevant. Maybe you backpacked through Latin America and it has helped you better understand people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds. Perhaps you organized a fundraiser for your daughter’s school, which gave you experience building relationships with local businesses.
The Pitfalls of Being Able to do 100 Percent of the Job on Day One
Many people shift jobs due to boredom. To stay stimulated in a job and continue to expand their skill set, people need to be continually challenged and part of that comes from learning new tasks.
Emphasize how you’re looking for a role that will build on your core knowledge and you’re quick to learn new systems. You want to make a long-term contribution to your next workplace. Staying engaged and being excited by your job is a massive part of that.
Connect the Dots
Always be completely honest on your resume and cover letter. Connect the dots where you can between your life experience, interests, and personality with what the employer is seeking. This may take you far further than you think.