If you’ve decided it’s time for a new job and you come across the perfect role, but you lack the specific experience required, you might feel as if you don’t have a chance.
That doesn’t have to be the case, though. There are plenty of things you can do to help highlight how you could be the right person for the job, including showcasing your transferable skills and showing you can learn the new job. This will help you form a convincing argument for why you should be given the opportunity to show what you can do.
network in the industry
Making connections with key figures in the industry you’re seeking a job in should be your starting point. There is a huge amount you can learn from those already established in a field, after all.
Subscribe to industry publications to ensure you are kept up to date with the latest events, where you could meet connections with valuable insight into the industry. They will also give you the knowledge you need to impress these professionals when you do meet them.
Social networking in itself can also help you keep in touch with industry experts, giving you the knowledge you need to sound informed about who the major players are and what they’re doing to drive the sector forward.
Marketing software firm Hubspot has explained the advantages of joining LinkedIn groups, highlighting the fact that if you belong to the same group as someone, “you can bypass the need to be a first-degree connection in order to message them” as well as “view the profiles of other members of the same group without being connected”.
find out what successful people do
When you’re looking to apply for a certain job, find out who the most successful people in that position are and establish what they have in common. When you’ve done that, you’ll have an insight into what skills and traits you should be highlighting in your application.
Career coach Jon Carpenter advises job seekers to ask “What do the very best people in this role do that the average ones don’t?” as well as “What's required of this role that [the company] wouldn’t actually say out loud?”.
He encourages applicants to search out the “unspoken (and potentially more important) requirements” in order to gain a better understanding of the job and the company than other candidates. This could mean that you will be favored over other candidates who may have the experience, but not the knowledge of what will make them - and by extension the company - successful.
highlight your relevant experience
Looking into the daily activities of one of those successful people will allow you to establish how your own experience is relevant. You may not have done the job before, but there will likely be aspects of it that you have done.
The Guardian encourages candidates to “communicate the relevance of your skillset” by pointing out how what you’ve learnt over your career is relevant to the job you’re applying for. For example, if a central part of the role involves fundraising, and in a previous job you were responsible for finding the money for your team’s projects, you’ll have something to talk about with the hiring manager.
If you can show that you’ve carried out some of the most important duties associated with the job, you’ll be demonstrating your transferable skills and abilities. This could be seen as just as valuable as having done the job before, so it’s essential to use this to your advantage.
focus on your soft skills
What’s important to all employers, regardless of the position being filled? Soft skills. All businesses need their staff to be able to communicate well, for example, or to be able to contribute to a team.
LinkedIn economist Guy Berger has said that “hard skills vary based on the job, but soft skills are required for every job”. Research carried out by his company also found that US hiring managers “said it’s hard to find people with the right soft skills for 59 percent of their open jobs”.
Therefore, if you can show that you possess the necessary soft skills, you’ll likely already be seen more positively than other candidates who may have the hard skills but lack your capabilities. Pointing out how you have used these skills practically - such as demonstrating that you made use of them for the company’s financial gain - will be even more relevant to hiring managers.
show you can learn
When you started out in your career, you undoubtedly had to learn a lot of new information. This is valuable experience, since you’ll have to do it again if you go through with a career change.
Market yourself as adaptable and you’ll be gaining an advantage, as in most fields technological advancements are ensuring things don’t stay as they are. If you can show that you’re ready to challenge yourself by learning something new and updating your skill set, you should see serious interest from hiring managers.