As you are going through a job search, you inevitably come across a position description for a company that you’d really like to work for.
But the position description isn’t a 100% fit. Or even a 70% fit. Maybe (gasp!) not even a 50% fit. So, should you apply?
What’s the worst that could happen if you do? It’s pretty likely that if you managed to survive graduate school, you are not a delicate flower. You can handle rejection, or even worse, silence.
But time comes at a premium. And if you’re doing it right, and spending time to craft your cover letter and resume (see my previous blogs on cover letters and resumes), then you have a decision to make. Is the position worth the time to go through the application process? Because if you’re going to apply, you should put your best foot forward. Take the time to do it well.
I’ll share a secret – most position descriptions are written a la the ‘kitchen sink’ approach. Prospective employers throw in every skill set they can think of, just in case that unicorn is out there. But it’s pretty unlikely that the unicorn is 1) out there, 2) looking for a job at that moment, 3) and will happen to come across the position description.
I almost didn’t apply for the job I currently have. But the position description kept coming up. Over two or three months of job searching, it would pop back up like a whack-a-mole critter popping out of the ground over and over again.
And every time it did, I thought to myself, “Self, you should think about applying.”
Why didn’t I apply initially? Because it wasn’t a great fit. Or at least I didn’t think it was. The description sounded like it was for three different people – a scientist, a business person, and a tech transfer and IP wiz. My skill set overlapped with two of the “required” skill sets, but not the third. But I thought, what the heck, they haven’t filled the position yet, so why not throw my hat into the ring? I got a phone call a week later, and the rest is history. I’m in a job that I love, working with a group of passionate people who are really trying to make a difference through science. And I’m picking up that third skill set.
So, should you apply? Well ask yourself, ‘Do I want this job enough to do justice to my application?’ If you answered yes, then absolutely, go for it. More and more employers are realizing that they can teach just about any skillset, but they can’t teach talent or passion. So make sure your talent and passion come through in your application. You never know, you might just end up in a job that you love.