You’ve found the job of your dreams at an incredible company. You scroll through the job description, nodding confidently as you realise that they must have written this position for you. There’s no other explanation as to why it suits you so perfectly.
You gulp. They want experience – two whole years of it. And certification in a bunch of fields you’ve never been an expert in. You’ve only just graduated, or you’re looking for a career change. How are you supposed to have all this professional experience?
Despite this minor setback, you know you could ace this position, if only they’d give you a chance. But how do you convey your competence on paper, let alone in an interview? How do you convince the hiring manager that you are worthy of consideration for a job you seem underqualified for? Here are a few steps you can take to position your candidacy as competitive in a scenario where you might be the underdog.
Step One: Is this role really for you?
The first question you must ask yourself is if the role is really, truly appropriate for you. Concluding that it is not will save you a lot of time, energy and potential disappointment in the future. However, if you genuinely believe that you could succeed in this position and will not be satisfied unless you give the application process a shot, then absolutely go for it.
It’s acceptable to take the years of experience companies require with a pinch of salt, although you should consider them to be a guide. If you’re looking for an entry-level position, ‘2+ years of experience’ is a more surmountable barrier than ‘10+ years of experience.’ We’ll get into this more later, but take some time to reflect on non-professional experiences you have that could feasibly count towards the 2+ years this company is looking for. If you have proven interest and experience at university or transferrable skills in a related area, you can definitely use these to strengthen the credibility of your application. Furthermore, a company looking for candidates with an MBA may consider a candidate with a Bachelors if they can demonstrate their exceptionalism in other ways.
If the role requires a specific qualification that you do not have, this could also be a potential immediate disqualifier. If you’re repeatedly seeing jobs advertised that look right for you but all require a certification in Google Analytics, perhaps consider going on a course to fill your knowledge gap. Sites that offer great online learning and development opportunities for a range of prices include Coursera, Khan Academy and Codecademy.
Step Two: Research, research, research
So, you’ve taken the plunge and you’re going to apply to a job you think you’re underqualified for. Now you need to ensure you understand the job as well as anyone with years of experience in that role would. You can do this through reading online, but the most effective way to gain understanding of a profession is to speak to someone who works in that field. Mobilise your contact base and set up coffee or informational interviews with people who can help you understand the specifics of the job you’re pitching yourself as the perfect fit for.
Networking could also be a great way to secure an introduction to the company before you even apply, flagging your name with them. You never know who has a connection at the company of your dreams, so be sure to reach out far and wide. It’s no secret that personal referrals make all the difference when applying for a job.
Step Three: Put it all down on paper
The only way you’re going to be able to compete against more experienced candidates is by doing significantly more homework than they do. You’ve already (hopefully) researched the company to within an inch of its life – now ensure that your passion for their brand/product/service shines through in your covering letter. Demonstrate your knowledge about the business by making specific references in your explanation as to why you want the role – this can definitely help assuage any doubts they have about your experience level.
Employers will often take unpaid experiences as evidence of professional experience, such as internships, involvement in clubs and societies and volunteering. Be sure to examine all of your achievements through the lens of what they could bring to the role, as you may be pleasantly surprised to find you already possess proven experience in areas you thought you lacked, simply because these activities took place in your free time or holidays. Combine your transferrable skills with your qualifications to highlight your suitability for the role.
Skills to highlight might be:
- Event planning
- People skills
You’ve spent time thinking about how great that role would be great for you – perhaps also consider why you would be great for the role. What interesting insight could you bring to the company? Do you have a unique perspective or angle that would add value to the team? Make your individuality shine throughout your CV and cover letter.
Step Four: Nail the interview
Congratulations! Your gorgeously tailored CV and rivetingly specific cover letter have landed you an interview with the hiring manager. They’re interested in you, despite the fact you may not be a conventional candidate for the position. They’re willing to take a chance on you…for now.
So how do you continue to exude confidence and experience in a face-to-face interaction with a company representative?
Firstly, and hopefully obviously, prepare. You’re entering the room with the disadvantage of not being able to rely on personal experience of the role to support your answers. Therefore, you’ll need to consolidate your knowledge of the company and job description, as well as how your own experiences tie into what they’re looking for. Practise answers to the guaranteed interview questions you’ll likely face and be ready to defend your lack of qualification for the role, if needed.
Remember to never phrase a response as a negative – always focus on the positive. For example, never begin an answer with “I know I lack experience in X, but…” or “I know I don’t have Y qualification, but…”. Instead, you should highlight your abilities and apply them to the task in question. “My tenure as the chairperson of my college’s Business and Enterprise Society enabled me to practise my leadership and project management skills in a way which is applicable to Z task in these ways…” for instance.
While it’s important to bend the truth to your advantage, you must never lie. The interviewer may then push you on it and you could slip up under pressure. No employer wants to hire a dishonest worker, and such a mistake may result in your name being blacklisted for future opportunities. Furthermore, if a lie got you into the job and then you found you were unable to complete the tasks assigned to you as a result, you could lose your job and evoke serious bad feeling from a company you may have to encounter again in the future. Honesty is the best policy – just be shrewd in how you phrase your answers.
To conclude, you are likely more qualified than you think for the job of your dreams. All it takes is a little bit of research, tailoring and careful phrasing to upgrade your position from that of an outsider to a competitive candidate. Even if you don’t land the role using these steps, you will have learned a huge amount about an area you previously may not have been overly familiar with. Your research will certainly be applicable to future job applications and may even inspire you to pursue a line of work you had previously not considered. You’ve got nothing to lose – what are you waiting for?
Posted by Susannah Hunt on 19 June 2019
In-Demand Business Support & Customer Service Skills
In-Demand Business Support & Customer Service Skills
As companies work hard to stay competitive and provide exceptional experiences to their clients, the need for skilled staff in business support and customer service keeps growing. In this article, we'll look at the important skills businesses are looking for.1. Great CommunicationWhether you're talking or writing, it's vital to be clear. Nowadays, good communication also means being good with digital tools. Employers want people who can talk professionally with colleagues, clients, and customers, making sure everyone gets the right information.Top Tip for interviews: Prepare examples that highlight your proficiency in clear and effective communication. Share instances where you successfully conveyed complex information to non-technical stakeholders. 2. Problem Solving AcumenIn the world of business, problems come up all the time. The ability to think on your feet and adapt to unforeseen circumstances showcases your commitment to delivering results.Top Tip for Interviews: Prepare specific anecdotes showcasing your problem-solving skills. Describe situations where you identified a challenge, analysed options, and implemented a successful solution. 3. Technological ProficiencyFamiliarity with various software, tools, and platforms can significantly enhance your employability. Things like customer relationship systems, project management tools, and data analysis software are just a few examples of technologies that are becoming increasingly integral to business operations. Embracing technology shows you're ready to work in a modern business.Top Tip for your C.V: List the software, applications, and tools you are proficient in on your C.V. Make sure to also include any certifications or trainings related to these technologies on your LinkedIn profile. 4. Adaptability and FlexibilityThe Irish business landscape is always changing, which is why being flexible is so important. Companies want people who can handle change, learn fast, and switch things up when they need to. Being open to new challenges and being willing to upskill can set you apart in a competitive job market.Top tip for your C.V.: On your CV, talk about times when you changed and helped your team or company grow. For interviews, give examples of when you tried new things or took on jobs that weren't easy for you. Show your ability to thrive in dynamic environments. 5. Speaking Other LanguagesIreland’s strategic position in the European Union has led to an influx of international businesses and customers. If you know languages like Spanish, French, or German, this can be a significant advantage. It means you can talk to more people and understand more clients Multilingualism showcases your cultural awareness and ability to engage with a diverse audience.Top Tip for your C.V: Include a section that highlights your language proficiencies and any experiences where you effectively used them in a professional setting. 6. Being Kind and Focused on CustomersFor jobs where you help customers, being kind is important. If you know what customers want and care about their problems, they'll like your company more. Companies value candidates who prioritize customer-centricity, as it directly impacts customer satisfaction and long-term success.Top Tip for Interviews: Share stories of how your empathy positively influenced customer interactions, leading to enhanced customer satisfaction and/or conflict resolution.7. Time Management and OrganisationKnowing how to use your time well and organise things can make you get more done. From arranging meetings to handling administrative responsibilities, these skills demonstrate your capability to juggle multiple priorities and meet deadlines consistently.Top Tip for interviews: Provide examples of how your strong time management skills helped you meet tight deadlines or manage multiple projects simultaneously. As the business world in Ireland keeps changing, the demand for proficient business support and customer service professionals remains steady. Cultivating these in-demand skills not only increases your employability but also positions you as an asset to your employer. Whether you're already experienced or just starting out, getting good at these skills can help you find great jobs and help Irish businesses grow, even when they're competing with companies from all around the world. At Sigmar, we're committed to connecting top talent with businesses seeking excellence in business support and customer service. Get in touch to explore how we can help you thrive in these exciting fields. Email your cv to email@example.com or check out current jobs here
Navigating College Admission Setbacks: A Guide for CAO Students in Ireland
Navigating College Admission Setbacks: A Guide for CAO Students in Ireland
Receiving news that you didn't secure a college place through the CAO can be disappointing and even overwhelming. However, it's essential to remember that setbacks are a natural part of life's journey. Instead of dwelling on the disappointment, consider this as an opportunity to explore alternative paths and make the most out of the situation. In this guide, we'll provide valuable insights and actionable steps to help CAO students in Ireland navigate the uncertainty and turn this setback into a steppingstone towards a bright future.1. Stay Positive and Manage Emotions:Disappointment is natural, but it's crucial not to let it consume you. Give yourself permission to feel the emotions, but also work on maintaining a positive attitude. Engage in activities that make you happy, talk to friends and family for support, and focus on your strengths and accomplishments. A positive mindset will help you approach the next steps with determination.2. Consider Alternative Educational Paths:Not getting into your desired college doesn't mean the end of your educational journey. Look into alternative educational paths, such as enrolling in a different college or university, pursuing online courses, or considering vocational training. Many successful individuals have taken unconventional routes and still achieved their goals.3. Seek Guidance and Support:Don't hesitate to seek guidance from mentors, teachers, career counsellors, or recruitment agencies. They can provide insights into potential opportunities that align with your interests and skills. 4. Reflect and Re-evaluate: Take this time to reflect on your academic and career goals. Is your chosen path truly aligned with your passions and ambitions? Use this setback as an opportunity to re-evaluate your aspirations and make any necessary adjustments to your plans.5. Upskill and Enhance Your Profile:Consider using this time to enhance your skill set. Take online courses, pursue certifications, or engage in relevant projects that will bolster your resume. This proactive approach not only adds value to your profile but also demonstrates your commitment to personal and professional growth.6. Develop a Plan B:It's always a good idea to have a backup plan. Research industries and roles that are in demand and have a promising future. This might involve exploring emerging fields like technology, healthcare, or sustainable energy. Having a well-thought-out Plan B can help you feel more secure in your career prospects.7. Embrace Resilience:Resilience is a valuable trait that can help you navigate setbacks and emerge stronger. Remember that setbacks are temporary, and your ability to overcome challenges will define your success. Embrace the journey, learn from your experiences, and use them to fuel your determination.Not receiving a college place from the CAO might feel like a setback, but it's important to view it as an opportunity for growth and self-discovery. By understanding your options, staying positive, seeking guidance, and exploring alternative paths, you can turn this moment of disappointment into a steppingstone toward a fulfilling and successful future. Remember, your journey is unique, and the setbacks you encounter can shape you into a stronger, more resilient individual.
In-Demand Areas for the Future: A Guide for Leaving Cert Graduates
In-Demand Areas for the Future: A Guide for Leaving Cert Graduates
As the results of the Leaving Cert exams are announced, a new chapter begins for many young individuals. The choices made now can significantly impact their future careers. With the rapidly evolving job market, it's essential to be aware of the in-demand areas that promise exciting opportunities and growth potential. In this article, we'll explore the top industries and fields that are expected to be in high demand in the coming years.1. Technology and IT:In our digital age, technology continues to reshape the world, creating a surging demand for skilled professionals in IT and related fields. From software development and artificial intelligence to cybersecurity and data science, technology-driven roles offer a promising future. To maximize opportunities, consider pursuing courses and certifications that align with the latest tech trends.Average Salary Example: A software developer in Ireland can earn an average salary ranging from €40,000 to €60,000 per year, depending on experience and specialization. As of August 2023, Glassdoor states that the average salary for a software developer in Ireland with 2-4 years of experience was €63,006.2. Healthcare and Medical Sciences:The healthcare sector remains a cornerstone of society, and advancements in medical sciences are continuously improving patient care. From medical practitioners and nurses to biotechnologists and medical researchers, the healthcare industry offers diverse roles that are both fulfilling and financially rewarding. Pursuing a career in this sector ensures job stability and a chance to make a positive impact on people's lives.Average Salary Example: Registered nurses in Ireland earn an average annual salary of around €32,000 to €45,000, with opportunities for specialization leading to higher earning potential.3. Renewable Energy and Environmental Sciences:The global push for sustainability has driven the growth of the renewable energy and environmental sectors. As concerns about climate change intensify, professionals in fields such as renewable energy engineering, environmental consultancy, and sustainable urban planning are becoming increasingly vital. These roles contribute to a greener future while offering lucrative career paths.Average Salary Example: Renewable energy engineers in Ireland can earn an average annual salary ranging from €35,000 to €55,000, depending on experience and the specific area of expertise.4. E-Commerce and Digital Marketing:The rise of online shopping and digital platforms has transformed the way businesses operate. As a result, e-commerce and digital marketing experts are in high demand. Brands are constantly seeking individuals who can navigate the digital landscape, manage online stores, and create effective marketing campaigns. A solid understanding of e-commerce trends and digital tools is key to excelling in this field.Average Salary Example: Digital marketing managers in Ireland can earn an average annual salary ranging from €40,000 to €60,000, based on their level of expertise and the scale of the projects they manage.5. Finance and Fintech:The financial industry continues to evolve with the integration of technology, giving rise to the booming field of fintech (financial technology). Whether it's mobile banking apps, cryptocurrency, or robo-advisors, fintech is reshaping traditional financial services. Pursuing a career in finance or fintech opens doors to roles such as financial analysts, investment advisors, and blockchain developers.Average Salary Example: Financial analysts in Ireland can earn an average annual salary ranging from €40,000 to €60,000, with the potential for higher earnings based on experience and specialization.As Leaving Cert graduates embark on their journey into the professional world, it's crucial to be aware of the industries and fields that offer the best prospects. The future job market is dynamic and ever evolving, driven by technological advancements and societal shifts. By considering the in-demand areas mentioned above and equipping themselves with the necessary skills and qualifications, young individuals can position themselves for success and a rewarding career path.Remember, staying updated with industry trends, continuously learning, and adapting to changes will be key factors in thriving in the competitive job market of the future. Whether it's embracing technology, contributing to sustainability efforts, or shaping the digital landscape, the opportunities are vast for those who are prepared to seize them. Good luck to all Leaving Cert graduates on their exciting journey ahead!
How Do I Get A Job In Digital Marketing?
How Do I Get A Job In Digital Marketing?
One of the most common questions we get asked by recent graduates or people looking to alter their career is about working in Digital Marketing. It is the Holy Grail for a lot of people coming out of a business/marketing qualification and is one of the mostly highly competitive spaces to go into when searching for work. It is difficult to get these positions but not impossible. First of all why do you want to work as a Digital Marketer? Are you techie, a nerd or a geek? To be successful in this space you need to be passionate about the tools you are using to reach the people you are trying to target. This is a space that moves so fast that knowledge gained can be redundant within 6 months and if you don’t have the desire to keep pace you will get left behind. Keep embracing new technologies, be an early adopter and don’t fall by the wayside. Now that we know you really want this career let’s see how you can gain an edge against your competition: 1. Get a qualification. You are going to need a qualification in marketing with a strong focus on digital in it. If it’s not in the title then mention the digital courses in your education. Any additional courses you can do for free in your spare time should be mentioned – Companies want you to be good with software packages like Hubspot – download it and play around! 2. Build an online presence! You are applying for a digital role so you need to have a digital presence – Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter – all should be up to date and active (especially Linkedin as this is the first place a recruiter or hiring manager will look). Blogs, digital portfolios or anything that shows contribution or activity online can be an effective tool. You want to stand out so blog about something you are passionate about! 3. Specialise in something. Social Media, Digital Content and e-Marketing are probably the 3 biggest areas within Digital Marketing and if you can show that this niche is your gig then you will fare better in applying to those roles.While having a broad understanding of digital marketing is important, it's also beneficial to specialize in a specific area that aligns with your interests and strengths. This can make you stand out in the job market and increase your chances of finding relevant opportunities. Determine which aspect of digital marketing you enjoy the most and focus on developing expertise in that particular area.4. Stay up to date with industry trendsThe digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving. Stay updated with the latest trends, technologies, and strategies by following industry blogs, subscribing to newsletters, attending webinars, and participating in relevant online communities. This will demonstrate your commitment to continuous learning and your ability to adapt to new challenges.5. Work experience This is the tricky bit. Most employers want to see some experience on your CV so where possible do internships and ask for work while there. Also look at volunteering to improve the online presence of local clubs or businesses – do they have a Facebook page and can you increase the amount of likes they get? Stay up to date with industry trends: The digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving. Stay updated with the latest trends, technologies, and strategies by following industry blogs, subscribing to newsletters, attending webinars, and participating in relevant online communities. This will demonstrate your commitment to continuous learning and your ability to adapt to new challenges.6. Mention all of this on your CV! As a recruiter I don’t have time to read a cover letter from every applicant so if the info isn’t on your CV then I won’t see it. Be clear and concise but make sure I see – education, digital experience, and digital skills. Remember, landing a job in digital marketing requires a combination of knowledge, practical skills, and relevant experience. The key thing about getting work in digital is to realise that the person you apply to will immediately check out your online presence and level of activity. If I am looking for someone to publish content online and you can show that you do that on a regular basis you should be a step or two ahead of some of your rivals. None of the above will guarantee you a job in digital marketing, but it will certainly set you on the right path!