You can’t be something you’re not…, but you could still do the job

It’s rare that you will tick every box on the Essential and Desired criteria on an advertised job description but that’s not to say you can’t do the role. But how do you bridge the gap when you fulfil some, but not all the criteria? How can you convince the interviewer you’ll be successful when you can’t pretend to be someone you’re not? (No, that’s not recommended).

Gaps between your career history/expertise and the job spec fall into three general areas – Skills, Experience and Knowledge. So, how do you bridge those gaps and convince the interviewer you can excel in the role?

Experience – whilst some people may be able to blag and feel comfortable ‘gilding the lily’ (i.e., just plain fibbing), it’s not right or possible to say you’ve done something you haven’t. However, you can share examples of aligned experience to show how close a match you are and/or show how you gained similar experience. Provide evidence that you have the nous and the tools and demonstrate how you are be able to replicate past success.

Knowledge – like experience, knowledge can be gained. And, like experience, you can show an interviewer how you have gained knowledge in the past and evidence that you can do so again. You can share what you do have, focus on where your knowledge is aligned and acknowledge the limits, then (based on all that pre-interview research) ask insightful questions that show you are already on the way to closing the gap.

Skills – these can be learned. You might not have direct experience of one IT package but you can say you quickly learned another to show you can learn again. It might sound like, “I have extensive experience of SuccessFactors and I learned its functionality in just a few days so picking up Workday won’t be a problem and I’m happy to accelerate my learning to get up to speed quickly.” With business or people skills, identify a similar skill you do have and show how you learned or adapted it to fulfil a task or role.

As you can see, bridging the gap is about providing evidence that you have the proven ability to replicate past success. Look at the job requirements, identify examples of what you do have then prepare your scripts to fill in the gaps. 

If you’d like help understanding your suitability for a role and identifying examples then why not get in touch for a session of Career Therapy? We can also help you shape and practice your answers so you are ready to impress.

Linkedin Louise Newton
Photo by Daniel Cheung on Unsplash

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