Highlight your transferable skills
If you’re short on specifically required qualifications, show that a combination of your other qualifications and experience are at least as good, if not actually better, says Gregory. What else have you done that brings along sufficient relevant experience? Where do you bring something unexpected and potentially very valuable with you to the organisation? It could be a relevant foreign language, or an extra qualification, for example.
Draw from your academic experience as well as your work experience and think about your transferrable skills, says Mohammed Rahman, business development and placements executive at London School of Business and Finance. He says: “As an example, customer service skills are needed in every profession and are important skills to have.”
He adds: “A lot of companies promote opportunities with requirements and would be willing to consider and take on people who do not meet all the criteria but have an open mind regarding how far they are willing to go to train and learn on the job.”
Make a strong case at the start - and don’t be negative
Make a clear, strong case in the introductory summary about your overall suitability, and at all costs, avoid drawing attention to your shortfalls, says Gregory. “One sight of those will switch the reviewer to a negative mindset, reading on only in search of further justification to drop your application into the shredder.” Don’t be deceptive, just selective.
Demonstrate that this is your dream job
“This is the application that has to hit the back of the net, nothing can be standard,” says Mossman. For example, if it’s a creative role, do something big that sets you apart from the field and makes the recruiter question whether the pure job description match is what they really need.
“If it’s really your dream job, then you should be able to make a clear case for why that is, and still come across as completely genuine”, she says. Think carefully about what skills you can bring to the table – they might be from a job you had five years ago, they might be from a sports team or hobby. If they apply, make it clear what you’ve gained from that experience, and why that’s as valuable as the tick box achievements that are on the job description.
Do your research - and remember they will do theirs too
Gregory advises that candidates research deeply into the company before compiling an application or tailoring your CV. “You need to show that you really do understand the role, the challenges, why this role is important to the organisation as a whole and what it is about you that makes you viable to shortlist for interview,” he explains. If you can, speak to the HR people organising the selection process and your potential line manager. The more you can engage in a dialogue with people inside the organisation and breed familiarity, the better.