In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen hundreds of thousands of people lose their job, both temporarily and permanently, Sigmar Recruitment is today launching an online platform to connect jobseekers with employment opportunities as well as offer upskilling opportunities for the restricted workforce to ensure a smoother return to the workplace once the isolation restrictions have eased. The initiative is online for ease of use by those at home. Jobseekers are invited to register on the website, so that employers can make direct contact for current opportunities. Jobseekers sign up for a daily email, which will inform them of companies that have immediate vacancies on either a permanent or temporary basis. Jobseekers can then apply directly to employers. The site also offers highly relevant jobseeker advice on how to compete in the current marketplace, on a range of workforce topics, including tips on: video interviewing online engagement social branding digital collaboration remote working COVID restriction employee rights societal consciousness remote onboarding and much more Furthermore, the website also directs jobseekers to free online training to support upskilling during down time. Employers can post immediate or short-term staffing requirements for free so Sigmar can keep supply chains running and redeploy Ireland’s workforce that have been affected by COVID-19. Employers can also “shop direct” for talent on the website. Commenting on the initiative, founder of the initiative and Sigmar CCO Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig says: “www.covidresponsejobs.com was created by Sigmar Recruitment to support displaced workers and employers during the COVID-19 outbreak. Our aim is to connect people who have been impacted by short-term business closures with employers who have seen rising demand for frontline staff, those in healthcare and those needed to keeping Ireland’s supply chains operating. “The economy has temporarily stalled and the traditional recruitment process is on its head. However, the current pandemic has created new positions especially in retail, distribution, manufacturing and the health sector, to include many administrative, customer support and back office roles. In addition, we are actively supporting many other organisations balance business continuity with sustainable employee flexibility throughout the crisis.” Commenting on the restricted workforce, Mac Giolla Phádraig adds: “With the introduction of the COVID 19 Wage Subsidy Scheme this week, a significant cohort of the workforce is now likely to be retained, but with restricted workload. We aim to support the restricted workforce through upskilling during downtime, to better equip our workforce to rebound from the crisis in the medium term. “At this time of national crisis, we all have a responsibility to play our part. At Sigmar, we have adopted a frontline first approach and will deploy all resources available to us to support the national interest. “ www.covidresponsejobs.com is created by Sigmar Recruitment, supported by Candidate Manager, The Irish Times and Communicorp
Losing your job can be a very difficult life change to cope with. Getting the initial news will come as a nasty shock, but with these tips from Sigmar Recruitment you will get through this trying time. Try Not to Panic You feel shocked and that’s natural. This has happened to so many people across Ireland and the world so suddenly. Hopefully it will only be for a short amount of time, there will be increased government support financially for you during this, and then to support the industry you worked in when the pandemic ends. Start Your Job Hunt Even though this is temporary, job hunt immediately. Update your CV and LinkedIn profile. Upload your CV to job boards, get in touch with recruitment agencies and ask your friends and families if they have heard of eny opportunities. It’s important to get the ball rolling straight away so you can stay active. Remember, the sooner you start looking, the sooner you will find a new job. Look at where you can reduce spending When you’ve set yourself a standard of living it can be hard to re-adjust, but it’s important to reflect on your wants and needs at this time. Your employment status has changed so you may need to adjust the money you spend regularly in order to cope with this significant drop in your cash flow. Consider shopping for cheaper brands, and with social distancing it will be likely you would be spending less over the coming weeks anyway. Don’t Neglect Your Wellbeing Be aware of your stress levels. It’s not easy losing your job and you will feel stressed and anxious at times but now that you have more free time, it’s the perfect time to try something new to help with your stress. Try mediation or yoga or adult colouring. Exercise is also a great stress reliever. ------------------- Take a look at these successful people who received painful rejections before they accomplished all their goals Walt Disney Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star in 1919 because, his editor said, he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” JK Rowling JK Rowling got fired when working at the London office of Amnesty International because she would write stories on her work computer all day long. Photo: Daniel Ogren Flickr Oprah Winfrey Oprah Winfrey was an evening news reporter and apparently got fired because she couldn’t sever her emotions from her stories. Photo: Ian Evenstar Flickr Elvis Presley After a performance at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, Elvis was told by the concert hall manager that he was better off returning to Memphis and driving trucks (his former career). Bill Gates When Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard he started a business with Paul Allen called Traf-O-Data, which flopped. Luckily, they tried their hand at business again and this time Microsoft was born. Photo: OnInnovation Follow Flickr Albert Einstein Albert Einstein didn’t speak until he was four and didn’t read until he was seven. He was subsequently expelled from school and was not accepted to the Zurich Polytechnic School. Long story short, he came around.
With the number of companies around the globe asking their employees to stay safe and work from home increasingly every day due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person interviews are being replaced with video interviews via platforms such as Hinterview, Microsoft Teams, Zoom etc. For some this is a new experience so here are our top 5 tips to help you get prepared. 1. Check Your Tech As mentioned, there are a variety of video interview platforms, many of which you may be familiar with such as Google Hangouts or Skype. While you might think you are adept at using such platforms, don’t rest on your laurels. When you receive the link for the platform from your potential employer - test it out! Familiarise yourself with the platform and do a test call with a family member or friend in advance. Make sure you have a strong internet connection so there are no delays and that your camera and microphone are working perfectly. Finally make sure you are plugged into a power source; interviews can overrun so don’t be relying on the battery to see you through. 2. Set the Scene You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again but finding a suitable environment is so important in preparing for your video interview. Find a quiet, private space to do the interview, somewhere you can control the noise pollution and keep it to a minimum. After that choose, your backdrop wisely. You don’t want potential employers to see your cluttered bedroom and dirty washing in the background, especially after listing ‘organisational skills’ as one of your top skills on your CV. Lighting is key and is often forgotten about until the time of the interview. For the best lighting, sit facing an open window, similar to how you would face the light source or sun for photgraphs. If there is no natural light available to you at the time, use floor and desk lamps to brighten up your environment and ensure your interviewer can see you clearly. 3. Dress to Impress Although your employer won’t see you face to face, it is still important to dress appropriately. It is always a good idea to investigate the company’s dress code and go from there. You should wear professional, interview-appropriate clothes that you feel comfortable in. If you are comfortable in what you are wearing, it will help you stay relaxed and at ease during your interview. Avoid plaids and stripes as these can cause distractions on the camera and make sure you avoid wearing the same colour as your chosen background. 4. Body Language Speaks A Thousand Words It’s important to have good eye-contact in any interview you attend, this is no different for a video interview. To maintain good eye contact during your interview, place your laptop, webcam or device at eye level. If your camera is too low or too high, it can appear to your employer that you are looking down or away. It is also important to look into the camera when speaking. Putting a coloured sticker or something noticeable beside the camera might help remind you to speak into the camera instead of the screen. Some gestures that often go unnoticed in face to face interviews, can be more eye-catching through video, for example twirling hair, touching your face or fidgeting with your fingers. Practicing interviews and video calls with friends or family will help you identify any nervous habits you may have. During the interview, it is important to sit upright with your back straight. Although the interviewer cannot see your lower body, it’s important to have two feet flat on the floor in order to maintain an upright position. Crossing your legs can lead to slouching and can mess with your on-camera framing. 5. Prepare to Win You want to make a great first impression, leaving the interviewer with the desire to move you to the next round or hire you and the key to achieving this is to be prepared. From software to attire, eye contact to setting, it’s essential to prepare in every aspect for your interview. Have a copy of your CV nearby, but do not get caught reading off it during your interview, keep it nearby as a reference for yourself. Have a pen and paper at your desk should you need it to avoid any disruptions during the interview. And don’t forget to nod, smile and engage with your interviewer - you might not be sitting across from each other, but they can still see you! Finally, be patient with the recruitment process. As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves, recruitment processes may take longer than normal. You may find there will be more rounds in a process and/or it may take longer to receive feedback. If you would like to discuss anything in this article, or have a confidential career chat, please get in touch on 01 4744600 or email email@example.com
Searching for jobs is a job in itself. It can be challenging and time consuming but there are ways of making this task a little easier. If you are planning on finding a new job, Sigmar Recruitment has devised a list of top 5 job searching tips to help you in your pursuit of the perfect job this new year. Get Employers to Come to You Uploading your CV online can increase your chances of being seen by employers. Most job searching websites like; Jobs.ie and Monster.ie allow job seekers to create an online profile using their CV content. This profile can then be viewed by potential employers. There is also an option, when you create your account, to highlight specific jobs and organisations you’re interested in and receive email notifications when positions become available. This is handy for any job seeker as it does the hard work for you and allows suitable job opportunities to come directly to you. Update your LinkedIn Profile The first thing you should do before applying for a job is ensure your LinkedIn profile is up to date with all your relevant work experience. Often employers will search for you online while reviewing your CV. It’s important to make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date as it could be the reason you get called for an interview. Extra Tip: If you are unemployed and don’t have an issue with making your employment status public, you may want to update your LinkedIn profile headline to something like, “Currently seeking (insert type of role here) in (insert location here)”. This will let your network know that you are currently job seeking Target the Right Companies It’s important to know what type of company you are looking for. This all comes down to your personal preference. Knowing what you want will make it easier. Would you rather be; “a big fish in a little pond” or “a little fish in a big pond”? By eliminating the type of companies you don’t want in your search, you will narrow down the available jobs suited to you. Extra Tip: If you know of a company you think you would like to work for, search for reviews of the company online. Glassdoor.com lets you search millions of reviews of companies that are all posted anonymously by employees. This is a great way to get an honest appraisal of organisations you’re considering applying to. Network Use the contacts you have to enquire about available jobs and get the word out that you’re looking for a new position. Often jobs can be found through people we know so it’s a good idea to get in touch with any relevant contacts you may have. Building on your current network can also give you an advantage in your job search. Attending conferences and job expos are a great way to network and find out about career opportunities. Be Positive Finding the perfect job isn’t easy and may take time. As rejections start coming in, it’s important to always try to stay positive. It’s only natural for you to feel deflated when things aren’t going according to plan but try to use the rejection as a motivation to work harder. The right job is out there for you and you will find it if you stay persistent and optimistic. Don’t have the time to job search? If you find yourself not being able to find the time to search for jobs properly, you can contact us in Sigmar Recruitment. You can upload your details and CV to our website and create an online profile that will be accessed by our specialist recruitment consultants to review your details and contact you with potential job opportunities.
The search for a new job is rarely an easy task. It takes time, commitment and hard work, but most importantly, you need a Game Plan. 1. Be Clear On What You Want To Do Before you jump online and start applying for every role you find in a generic search, first think about what you actually want to do and search for this or related roles instead. This will stop you applying for roles just for the sake of it and will make you focus your job search on a more well defined area that is likely to be more closely related to your skill set, experience and interests. 2. Read the Job Spec Often a candidate will apply to a role because they think they might be able to do the job (even though they’ve never actually done it before) or because they might hold one out of the four required skills. This is not enough. If a job spec lists a skill/ability/qualification as being required, it is hugely important that you actually hold this required specification. These specs are carefully and thoughtfully designed to give you an idea as to whether or not you are suited to this role. If you think you are able for a position but unsure whether to apply, simply pick up the phone to the advertiser/recruiter and ask the question. It never hurts to try. 3. Set Up a LinkedIn Profile Anyone who is serious about securing a new role should have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile set up. LinkedIn is your opportunity to network, to connect with recruiter(s) and follow companies of interest to you, giving you a front row seat to all updates from both recruiters and companies on new roles. Not only this, but when looking to fill new roles, hiring managers and recruiters will often search LinkedIn for specific skills, experience or job titles in the hunt for new candidates and talent for ready to fill roles – if you’re on LinkedIn with the required talents and an up to date CV, you’re going to be found. Keep active on LinkedIn too as the more activity on your page, the more traffic you attract. Be sure you’re constantly updating your page with relevant dates, new skills and new qualifications – I mean what’s the point in having them if you’re not going to show them off? 4. Expect Follow Up – Be Available Always be sure when you’re putting your contact details on your CV, that you are in fact contactable! There is no point in including your email address if you’re not checking your emails regularly. Similarly, if you are including a telephone number, make sure you can actually take calls. If you’re going to focus your energy on a job hunt, you need to be able to make a little time to discuss it too. Of course, understandably every now and then you will miss a call, so it’s important to make sure you have voicemail set up (which you check) and that you return your missed calls. Failing to follow up on missed calls not only means you might have just missed out on a great opportunity, but it could also make you look like you’re not taking this job search seriously and may deter the person who is looking to fill this role from reaching out to you in the future. 5. Keep Track of Applications When applying for a number of roles at once, I would suggest keeping track of the roles you’ve applied to. Whether this is in a small notepad and you’re jotting down the Job Title, Duties and Experience, or a more sophisticated spreadsheet (for the super organised), it will allow you to recall which roles to follow up on, or will refresh your memory on a particular role when the hiring manager or recruiter calls to discuss your application. It should also prompt you towards what questions to ask so you can get as much out of the conversation as possible too – letting them know what you want and why you’re interested in this role. 6. Be Patient The main thing to remember though is to be both realistic and patient with yourself (and the process). Your ideal role won’t always present itself immediately so give yourself time to find it. There’s no point in settling for the wrong role right now…wait for what you want and it’s usually worth it.
What is the best job to apply for? Do I have the right experience? Is my CV presentable? How do I prepare for this interview? Job seeking can be daunting and it can be very hard to answer all these questions yourself. The natural inclination for many is to look at job hunting as a numbers game and send your CV to as many companies and vacancies as possible. Surely, by the law of averages, you will get in somewhere, right? This approach is outdated and will extend your job-hunt time significantly while putting you in danger of missing out on that perfect job. Using a reputable recruitment agency offers you dedicated professional assistance to guide you through the process from start to finish while offering a wide variety of benefits; CV Help Recruiters invest their time in you and your CV. Your CV is your first opportunity to make an impression with the decision makers in the company you are applying to. Therefore, it is important to go through it with a fine-tooth comb to ensure your skills and experience are a match to the specific job requirements. Recruiters are well-versed at teasing out relevant information that may correlate to the specific job specifications from your employment history. You will then be advised on how to make your CV stand out from the others, with the aim of securing an interview with your desired company. Relationship with the Company and the Hiring Managers Sigmar Recruitment has established long-standing relationships with large multinationals, SME’s and start-ups across a variety of industries. Our recruiters have a direct line to the HR departments and decision makers in the companies that we hire for. We know when the jobs are coming up, what they are looking for both in terms of specific job requirements and cultural fit. Through liaising with hiring managers, our recruiters are able to ascertain the real requirements for the job, exactly what they are looking for in a candidate. Navigating Recruitment Management Systems Direct applications are becoming a thing of the past. If you have applied direct to a company, we cannot represent you for that company for a period of 6-12 months, under their Recruitment Management Restrictions. This means that an application that you haven’t put any thought into can hold you back from applying to your dream company for several months. Further to this, it is important to note that an application isn’t role specific and Recruitment Management Restrictions could apply even if you simply create a profile on a company website and don’t necessarily apply to any jobs. If you see a role advertised that is of interest – Contact your dedicated Sigmar Recruitment Consultant to see about them submitting an application on your behalf! Feedback A recruiter can provide you with timely feedback at every stage of the process, offering both formal and informal feedback. On the contrary, a direct application can often result in frustration whereby you, being any one of a hundred applicants on that day, apply directly and hear nothing back. Recruiters have a direct line of contact to the hiring manager expediting the process. Recruiters can also forward on your thoughts on the business and interview panellists after the interview, which may be able to put you in an even better light. Interview preparation So, the recruiter has submitted your (now amazing) CV to your dream company, and you have secured an interview… Now what? You will be provided with extensive interview preparation to ensure that you will be fully prepared to wow the interviewer. Over a coffee or a brief meeting at a time that suits you, you will go through mock interviews, be provided with insights on what the companies are looking for, what type of questions they ask and offered guidance on how best to answer them. You will walk into the interview confident and ready to knock ‘em dead! Negotiate on your behalf Negotiating salary and benefits can be unnerving, so why not leave it to the experts? Recruiters spend five days a week negotiating terms, conditions, salaries and rates. Recruiters are well-versed, they know what to ask, how to ask and what is attainable. It’s Free The service that recruitment agencies provide for the candidate is free of charge. The company that hires you will be charged a fee when you start working but this will in not affect you in any respect. If you are looking to move jobs or simply want to see what’s out there contact get in touch with us by email or call. If you are coming from a different background/industry/location pop onto our website: www.sigmarrecruitment.com and reach out to any of our dedicated Recruitment Consultants.
While the future is uncertain, what is certain is that by 2025, Irish workers and enterprises will be operating in a completely changed economy. Technology continues to herald new ways of doing business and new economic opportunities. This will present us with challenges, but also new possibilities. Lots of job roles will disappear or be redefined and emerging job roles will require new and different skillsets. In this blog we look at the sectors that hold the best chances for economic and job growth in the near future. Broadly the global economic performance and Ireland’s position are positive for the foreseeable future. With unemployment now at 4.8% and decreasing quarterly, all signals point towards continued, sustainable improvement. ICT Sector Ireland has become the global technology hub of choice when it comes to attracting the strategic business activities of ICT companies. This has earned Ireland the reputation for being the heart of ICT in Europe. The industry employs over 37,000 people and generates €35 billion in exports annually. With Ireland being the second largest exporter of computer and IT services in the world. With a highly creative and talented workforce, an open economy and a competitive corporate tax environment, Ireland has successfully attracted eight of the top 10 global information technology companies to establish a significant presence here. Some facts about the ICT sector: Ireland is the second largest exporter of computer and IT services in the world. Global leaders such as Intel, HP, IBM, Microsoft and Apple have long-established operations in Ireland. They have been joined by newer leading-edge giants such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon, PayPal, eBay and Twitter. Dublin is Europe's leading hub of innovative games companies with Big Fish, EA, Havok, DemonWare, PopCap, Zynga, Riot Games and Jolt all having a significant presence here. Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industry “Ireland is now operating in the same ballpark as major science-funding countries around the world” - Professor Mark Ferguson, SFI Director Already one of Ireland’s best performing industries, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry is set to grow even further in the future. With a growing and ageing population worldwide, the number and degree of health-related issues is continuously on the rise. People will always need medical care ensuring a continued demand for research, development and production of new drugs. There are now over 30,000 people employed in the industry. This trend looks set to continue into 2020 with major expansions of many of the big pharma players across the country. The IDA reports the biopharmaceutical industry has made a capital investment of approximately €10 billion in new facilities in Ireland, in the last 10 years. This represents one of the largest investments in new biotech facilities anywhere in the world. As a result of the growth in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical device industries in Ireland, it is very likely that a student about to graduate with a third level qualification in science will find interesting employment in one of the following areas; research, manufacturing, regulation or sales and marketing. Some relevant facts about pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector: No. 10 of the top 10 world's pharmaceutical companies 7th largest exporter of medical and pharmaceutical products in the world in 2014 €39 billion in annual exports of pharma, bio and chemistry produce 75 pharmaceutical companies operate in Ireland 40 FDA approved pharma and biopharma plants Financial Sector The financial services jobs market for accountancy and finance professionals continued its upwards growth trend last year. Even without the added benefit of companies relocating to Ireland post Brexit, the confidence of both employer and employee alike has produced a healthy landscape with more opportunity for those who wish to change jobs. There is no doubt Brexit has been a major contributor to the growth in the financial services jobs market. We have seen major international companies relocate operations to Dublin and others who already have a presence here have laid out plans to significantly increase their headcount. This is all positive news for students studying in this area. Not only does this create opportunities that would not have existed without Brexit, it also increases churn in the market involving more established financial services companies in Ireland who subsequently end up with more vacancies themselves. Particularly for accountants, regulatory reporting accountants and in funds if you specialised in fund accounting, risk & control, depository, compliance and AML you will find interesting and worthwhile employment when you graduate. 42,000 people employed in the Financial Services Sector in Ireland 4th Largest Exporter of Financial Services in EU No. 1 location worldwide for Alternative Investment Funds All stats referneced from Future Jobs Ireland2019 Goverenment Doc and IDA.ie
Job security, salary and benefits, regular hours and a sensible work-life balance are what most jobseekers look for in any new employment opportunity. Working at a start-up firm can throw these factors into uncertainty - it’s not all bean bags and avocado toast. However, with Ireland recently being ranked number three in Europe for start-ups, have you considered the possibility that the excitement, reward potential and personal development that are intrinsic to start-up culture could be exactly what you’re looking for? Here are some pros and cons of working for a start-up company to shed some light on the reality of the situation. THE PROS Room for Growth The clue is in the name, but start-ups really are just starting out. That means that, as an early employee, you will be a key part of the company’s development and later success. You’ll be working side by side with the founders from the get-go, learning directly from your bosses and gaining invaluable experience in areas outside of your job remit. As everyone at a start-up is involved in the fight for the survival of the company, you’ll often be expected to take on responsibilities that push you out of your comfort zone and force you to expand your skill set fairly rapidly. As the company grows, so will your responsibilities, and soon you could find yourself in a senior leadership position at a successful firm. Freedom ‘Freedom’ is evident in two ways in start-up culture. Firstly, in the flexibility of working hours: employees are frequently permitted to choose their own working hours and to work from home, since so much business is conducted over the phone and online. Secondly, start-ups are associated with huge levels of innovative freedom. Start-ups are under huge amounts of pressure to keep up in the fast lane or fail, and so grant their employees a considerable creative license to break boundaries and completely reimagine ways to capture consumer engagement. If dynamic, forward thinking in a collaborative, close-knit team is your forte, working in a start-up could be the ideal working environment for you! Purpose When you join a start-up, you know that you will never be simply a ‘cog in a machine.’ As part of a small team driven by collaboration, the company’s mission will be at the forefront of your job description and decision-making process. In a regular office environment, middle management and sheer size of personnel can mean you often feel undervalued and perhaps unconnected with the bigger picture of what the company is trying to achieve. There’s no such issue in start-ups! In an intense, focused environment, you will see the impact of your work first hand and have a significant role in shaping the success of the company, giving you a sense of job satisfaction unlike much other. THE CONS You will Work…Hard More responsibility means a heavier workload and while, in the long term, you may walk away with dozens of great new skills, learning on the job while likely being a single-person department is a tough undertaking. You might find yourself working long hours for little compensation, with only yours and your colleagues’ faith in the company’s mission to keep the candle burning. Work-life balance would likely be called into the mix (what balance?) as you are compelled to take your work home with you – who else will do what needs to be done? Lack of Security Harvard Business School estimates the start-up failure rate to be an enormous 90-95%. That’s an incredible (and terrifying) statistic. Tech start-ups are at particularly high risk, as there’s always the chance that a competitor could sweep the market with a brand-new development, cutting the legs from under competing companies. Leaving a comfortable corporate job with a steady salary, dependable benefits and little risk of redundancy in exchange for a high-risk, unstable work environment that could go bust at any moment is not a gamble one should take lightly. Furthermore, while start-up founders may be excellent pitchers and have garnered piles of seed money from investors, that is no evidence of their leadership ability. With less rigid corporate structure and more direct interaction with the company bosses, you could find yourself working in close proximity to underqualified leaders that will not inspire you to commit wholeheartedly to a venture which requires your unadulterated passion to succeed. Not Much Financial Reward To begin with, at least. Start-up employees notoriously earn significantly reduced salaries until the company begins to achieve real success. After all, it is in investors’ interests not to allow their ventures’ employees to get too comfortable. Spurring your team on with the promise of eventual riches is intended to be a large motivator for hard work and innovation within the company, although you may never end up reaping these promised benefits if the start-up crashes out, like so many do. That being said, modern-age start-ups are ridiculed and envied in equal measure for providing their employees with perks such as free lunches (kombucha, anyone?) and wellbeing sessions. For example, personal finance company Credit Karma offers an on-site spa for employees, as well as nap nooks and music jam rooms, and Airbnb gives their employees a $2,000 stipend for annual holiday expenses. There you have it – the good and the bad about working in a start-up. The stakes are high but, if you make your move wisely, the rewards could well outweigh the struggle you experience at the start. In an exclusive interview with David Dempsey, Senior Vice President of Salesforce, he told us that leaving his job in a well-known tech company was ‘the biggest risk’ he’s ever taken, leaving his stable job for a three-man start-up in 2000. Now, Salesforce employs thousands of people across Europe and America and is one of the world’s most renowned SaaS companies. It just goes to show – taking a plunge and embracing start-up culture could be your ticket to success too.
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. Until… 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 Leadership Marketing Fundraising Creativity Organisation 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?