When & How to Apply for a Job Without Years of Experience

Great, I saw a job advert that I think I should apply for but I don’t have the number of years of experience they are asking, what do you think I should do?

When these kinds of questions are raised, there is usually no general answers.

Every job adverts shows specifically what the job holder would be doing (Job descriptions) and what the job holder is required to have (Knowledge, Skills, Competencies, Qualifications and Certifications, etc.)

But from my years of experience handling recruitment, it is usually not always the case for a candidate to have 100% of the requirements, but having something close to it can get you shortlisted for the job.

Yes, I advice people not to apply for jobs they do not have any business applying for, for example – someone who clearly knows nothing about Finance applying for a Financial Analyst or Finance Officer role. You didn’t study anything related to finance and have never done anything related to that, why apply? It is a waste of your time and the recruiters time.

But how do you deal with a scenario where you have all other requirements for the Job in terms of Degree, Skills and competencies, certification but you don’t have the “years of experience”? Maybe you have two years experience working in a similar role but the job adverts require someone with 4 years experience working in a similar role. What should you do?

First of all, consider carefully the Job description and be sure what you’ll be doing is something related to what you already do at your current role or close to it and you can do, even if you don’t have the quantity of years as advertised. Personally, I feel quantity of experience is just a pointer to the level of skills required for the role. Similar skills may be used in high level context and so quantity of experience may display what that means to the organization.

If you find yourself in this scenario, I’ll advise you apply for it but add a cover letter to you Resume. The cover letter should tell a story of your career journey and achievements, mirroring the job description and why you think you are the best candidate for the organization.

Your cover helps to give you a spotlight beyond your CV. Find ways to highlight the skills and experiences in your resume or cover letter so that the hiring managers know you understand the position and what they’re looking for.

Another thing you can do is to go over and beyond. Here, instead of just sending your CV and cover letter, you can prepare a PowerPoint slide of certain challenges experienced at similar role and your proposed solutions.

A good example may be sales. Let’s say a company is hiring a regional sales manager that require 6 years of experience and maybe you have just 3 years experience in similar roles, while you prepare your Resume to suit the role and your cover letter telling a story of your achievements and your career journey, you can prepare a slide with proposed solutions for sales in that region since you already know what similar sales challenges look like. Create a slide deck with ideas that you’d bring to the role to grow the business.

The last thing I’ll recommend is for you to look for someone within the organization, find a connection that can recommend you strongly for the job. This is usually an option often overlooked. A connection from within who trusts your skills and competencies can put words ahead for you.

While you should not apply for jobs that you don’t qualify for, you should apply for the ones that you don’t have 100% requirements but you meet like 80-90% of the requirements, you have similar achievements, you can do the job and have someone within the company who can speak for you, give it a try!

In conclusion, you must really learn to tell your story, because it is your ability to convince the recruiter or hiring manager that lands you the job.

Do you have similar issues you want me to respond to? Please share in the comment section.

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