I always feel satisfied when I complete a résumé for a client of mine and they say, “I look so good now – even I would hire me.” While having an outstanding résumé that highlights your true strengths is invaluable, it is equally important to seek opportunities that are realistic.
Early in my career when I was in corporate HR, I cannot tell you the number of inappropriate résumés I received. It was so bad sometimes that I would go back to the job description just to make sure I hadn’t posted an online ad for basket weaver or snake charmer.
All kidding aside, it amazes me how many people really wasted their time (and mine!) applying for jobs they weren’t qualified for. You can save a tremendous amount of time by viewing things as if you were a hiring manager. Ask yourself first, would you hire you?
Here are two vital and key questions to help identify suitable roles:
Does your history of performance meet the company’s needs?
-If the role mentions expertise leading a large team and you have only led small teams, then probably not.
-If the ad mentions you must have experience with international travel and you are a US citizen who has yet to venture beyond Hawaii or Cancun, the answer is no.
-If the company is asking for someone who has managed complex projects and you have managed some detailed projects, even though you may say yes to this part, the answer is still most likely a no.
Unfortunately, you are probably not qualified for this job. In order to qualify, you don’t necessarily have to meet all the criteria of a job advertisement, but you do need to meet most of the criteria; and certainly something like international travel is not up for debate. Either you did, or you didn’t.
Keep the key elements of the role in mind while searching. You can avoid reaching for the moon and stars and save your energy for a job search that is well-grounded here on earth.
Does the position require industry specific expertise?
-If your experience is in health insurance and the ad specifically mentions property and casualty insurance, this is most likely a no go.
-If you worked in financial services, but it has been while, this may still have relevance and value assuming other things are in sync. (Be sure to highlight that relevant experience toward the top of your résumé.)
-If the posting requires specific credentials and certifications, but you don’t have them, this is probably not going to be a fit – even if you have some of the other requested items.
Use common sense to assess opportunities carefully. By doing so, you will save yourself time and avoid unnecessary disappointment. If you repeatedly find you are lacking a mandatory skill or credential, consider investing in a training or certification program. You can become good enough to hire you!