Related but not specific skills/knowledge in a Job Application?

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009 - CV Tips, how to make a cv, How to Write a CV, Job Advert, Job Application, Job Application Rejection, job search, job seeking, jobs board, Professional CV, professionalism, tutorial

Job Application Knowledge

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Sean, a technician and trainer, asks: How do you address related but not specific skills/knowledge in a job application? I am currently searching for a new job, and found a few that I believe I would be a good fit for. The problem is that the job description specifies required experience with a specific technology that I don’t have. However, I have a strong background in a related technology in the same industry and could easily apply those principles to the job I am looking at. How should this be addressed in a cover letter (if at all)?

In answer:
Before trying to figure out how to apply, I suggest you check out the competition level. Recruiters and hiring managers in light of increased applications can afford to interview only the most qualified candidates – period!

Go to your favourite jobs board in that sector, and at least one of the big multinational jobs boards, and undertake a search for the number of candidates with that skill in a public listing. You could also use LinkedIn and search for that skill. Based on the results:

  • More than 1000 – forget it, too much competition!
  • Less than 250 – possible

If you find the skill set competition low, and meet 100% of the other job skills criteria, call the employer and ask to speak to the operational manager for that post – not the HR manager. Tell them you have some technical questions about the job, then ask questions about the post and the required skills. If they like you, then they will ask about your skills, then focus on your deep background and ability to learn. If they want to hear from you, then they will say so – if not, they may find an opening for you

However, I would suggest that you will probably find the competition level high, and hence suggest you to consider the opposite approach. Hunt where all your skills, talents and abilities are most valuable and needed first. Your impressive ability to master new technologies then can be a bonus to your new employer. That is a much more powerful one, two punch. To increase your chances, it would benefit you to target ideal employers who are not posting jobs, there by eliminating competition and rigid job specifications completely.

Your impressive ability to master new technologies then can be a bonus to your new employer. That is a much more powerful one, two punch.

Good Luck!

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