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How to get the job when you're not the ideal candidate

Published on Thursday, 03 Mar 2011

Applying for a position that does not exactly match your skills and experience may not be a wasted effort. Job descriptions often illustrate the ideal candidate, so if you are a strong candidate with skills that match some of the requirements you may still have a good chance of securing the role.

Andrew Morris, Managing Director, Greater China, Robert Half International, offers some guidance on how to secure the job.

Meet the basic criteria
A candidate must meet the most basic requirements, such as the ability to speak a certain language or the legal right to work in a certain country. But do not be deterred if your skill set is not a perfect match. If you are a strong candidate in spite of lacking in some secondary requirements, you can still make a good case in your job application.

Leverage your network
Ask those in your network if they know possible connections that can afford you an inside track to your target position. If you are able to establish a rapport with someone, they will be more likely to refer you to their connections, or if they happen to be in the position to hire you, this will play in your favour even if you do not fit the exact job description.

Highlight your accomplishments
Hiring managers are more likely to employ a candidate who has saved their previous employers time or money. Highlight your accomplishments, particularly in your cover letter. Whether you have implemented a new billing system or managed to secure a new client, emphasise your value to your potential employer.

Offer a trial run
It may prove beneficial to take on project or temporary work, which will allow you to showcase your abilities to your potential employer. Set objectives beforehand that if met, could result in your full-time hire.
 

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