So you've just seen your dream job advertised online. Unfortunately, when reading through the job spec, you realise there is one essential skill you can't demonstrate and you are wondering whether you should apply and hope for the best?
We think so - so long as you take the advice we've set out below.
- Firstly, make sure you fully and clearly demonstrate your skills in all other aspects of the job, whether that's in your CV, or in the recruiter's application form. This is important so it doesn’t just look like you aren’t qualified at all to apply. You should spend extra time on getting this right and making sure that you include all relevant information to support what you say.
- Then, outline what you know about the missing skill to show your understanding and knowledge of that area in the appropriate space, either in a cover letter or application form. This will make the recruiters aware that you realise you are lacking the experience in that particular area. Self-awareness is something that can be a valuable skill and they will be sure to take note of this.
- Phrases such as “Whilst I don't have any direct experience of, e.g. 'widget making' I have taken time to observe the process, and shadow others who have developed that skill” will go a long way. Showing your willingness to learn and that you have already done some work in this regard can only ever be a positive thing in the world of recruitment. This is one of the best things you can do to demonstrate your suitability for the job.
- Anything you can include to show how you've researched / learnt about that skill, without having demonstrated it, will go to show you are keen! There may be some online courses that can help you learn about the theoretical side of it, and if you can say that you have completed a course, this will stand you in good stead with the interviewers.
- Finally, explain that you recognise that you don't yet have the one specific skill the recruiter is looking for, but that you are keen to learn, and you can assure your potential new employer it's a skill you will be able to pick up with no issues at all. Recap what you have done so far to help to bring yourself up to speed, as it shows that you have recognised a deficiency and tried to the best of your ability to address it, which is above and beyond anything that is expected of you at this stage.
Give it a go - recruiters like to hear from people who are ambitious and keen to develop themselves! The worst thing that you can do is not to apply as this will deprive you of an opportunity that may well have gone your way. Recruiters are keen to work with people who are blank slates and can learn, so this may actually work well for everyone.