You probably think that it is not even worth it to apply for a job when you don’t meet all (or at least most) of the criteria, right? Think again!
There are not that many cool jobs out there and they are unfortunately not just waiting for you. An internal report from Hewlett Packard revealed that men go for jobs if they fulfill as little as 60% of the required criteria. For women this is 100%!
HBR has conducted a survey asking both men and women for their reasons to not apply for a given job. For women, the main reasons for missing out are that we lack confidence and that we follow rules too closely.
Culturally, girls seem to be rewarded for following the rules much more than boys. In school, social life and University, girls are generally expected to do what they are being told, whereas boys seemingly get away with much more rebellion and rioting (to put it that way). This often continues in corporate environments and a woman might not go for a new job or a promotion, simply because she knows that without 100%, she will not get it anyway. It is a sad truth after all, that men are often promoted based on their potential, while women climb up the ladder through their track record.
So next time you see a cool job description, do not think about failure if you cannot cross every item off the list. Try to identify what is really critical – and how you might be able to compensate for lacking a specific skill. Job descriptions are kind of incomplete most of the time anyway, and you should use the chance to sell yourself as a solution for their real problem, not only the one they are including in their job posts.
If they require five years experience but you have only three in your field, make internships count and think about the fact that you achieved more in three years than most people could in five. If they require skills in one program, highlight how fast you learned a complimentary one, and that you already started working on improving your skills in the one they demand. If you are awesome at something they have not included (but you know it should be there) highlight it anyway. Show your dream employer just how awesome and promising you are and – if they have any brain matter at all – they will consider you anyway.
Don’t be afraid of trying. We know you will be great!