As an undergraduate, searching for jobs can be very intimidating. Many jobs require 2-3 years of professional experience or expert knowledge of specific software. With all the requirements and qualifications, the pool of potential job opportunities seems very, very shallow.
As a senior in my last semester of college, the thought of not getting a job, keeps me glued to the computer searching for anything or anyone that would hire me. There have already been a few jobs and post-graduate internships I didn’t even apply to (but I definitely wanted) because I doubted a computer-automated HR machine let a lone a recruiter would see me as qualified.
However, I never knew the big secret behind matching the job criteria. I have discovered the proper method to match (or come very close to matching) the job description. So here are some tips, as well as the big secret, to allow your dream jobs to be within reach.
1. Here is the big secret: no one ever matches to 100% of the job description. The 3 years of professional experience, knowledge of every social media platform and digital software is more of a company’s wish list than make-or-break requirements. Don’t let the list intimidate you. By matching to 80% of the job description there is a great chance you will be a competitive candidate.
2. Pay attention to what is listed as required or preferred. Required qualifications are literally “required” whereas preferred knowledge or skills are ideal. Tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight the required qualifications.
3. Transferable skills are gold! Internships and leadership experiences are very valuable and can showcase how you match the skill-set for the job. For example a job description requests managerial experience, which can be demonstrated by a student who is the President of the SGA or a student leader from a church ministry.
4. Set yourself apart from others by offering unique experiences or characteristics. For instance, a bilingual candidate is a valuable commodity for a company and this skill can even guarantee a higher salary. On the other hand participating in outreach projects across different countries can be another attention-grabber that leads to an interview.
5. APPLY! The best choice is to ALWAYS APPLY because that leaves the door open to a possible callback or a possible interview. By not applying you become your own hiring manager, rejecting a job that you didn’t even attempt. Always keep in mind the silver lining.
The Silver lining is a hopeful or comforting prospect in the midst of difficulty. Remain positive and don’t become your biggest critic. Apply! Apply! Apply!