A member of our Dice Community asks:
I’m not a perfect fit for the job based upon the posting. How do I convince them to hire me anyway?
Let’s start by assuming your skills and interests basically fit with the role, even if you don’t have all of the requirements it calls for. Although most managers won’t hire a total novice for a complex technical role, they may select candidates who best fit their company’s environment, since a poor cultural match often leads to someone quitting – or being let go – before much time has passed. To prevail, you need to emphasize your strengths and environmental fit while minimizing the skills you lack. Here’s how to do it.
Start by customizing your resume and cover letter toward the environment and the manager’s needs. Using language similar to that of the job posting and offering a customized value proposition will make you seem like an insider, and give you an edge over more qualified candidates.
Next, go out of your way to bond with everyone you meet during interviews and propose a plan to overcome your shortcomings. For instance, say something like, “I’m willing to work nights and weekends to improve my C++ skills. I didn’t know Python when I started my last job. Yet, I was writing pretty clean code within a few weeks.”
Then be ready to summarize your strengths and quantify your value. The manager may be willing to take a chance if the plusses on your balance sheet outweigh the minuses.
If the manager’s still reluctant, reduce the risk by providing additional proof of your strengths, things like coding samples or references. Or, you could offer to start out on a contract basis. Most managers would rather hire a sharp, trainable candidate with a great attitude. Don’t under-estimate the persuasive power of positive vibes.
Have you landed a job where you didn’t quite fit? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Send your job search questions to editor@Dice.com.