Do you really have to meet every criterion when you apply for a job?

It’s a question we’re often asked at OrientaEuro and unfortunately, it’s usually taken for granted that the answer is yes. Therefore, many people sabotage their own job searches because they don’t meet every single one of the necessary criteria.

When applying for jobs, it’s important to understand that when companies outline the must-have’s and essential skills necessary for a role, they already know that they probably won’t find a candidate who ticks every box perfectly. However, that doesn’t mean they can leave out characteristics they’re specifically looking for just because they don’t know who’s going to apply. Therefore, what we suggest is that you look at what is really critical to the job and company you’re applying for. If it’s never going to work out as you have weaknesses where they have a critical need for strengths, then don’t waste either their time or your own time applying. However, if the vast majority of the required skills match up with your own talents and passions, then it’s worth your time and effort to apply. In which case, you should highlight and draw attention to the skills you do have which match with their explicit requests, as well as additional skills that aren’t explicitly requested, but that you feel would be useful in the role or beneficial to the company.

That being said, don’t draw attention to your shortcomings. There’s no need to say, “I know I don’t have this experience, but I thought I’d apply anyway because…” – whoever receives your CV will be aware of the criteria you meet and which ones you don’t. In your application, you should focus on the talents and passions they could benefit from working with you. Period.

With that in mind, knowing yourself well and having a realistic and confident belief in your strengths will make applying for any job much easier and more effective.

With OrientaEuro’s Personalised Career Coaching, you have the support of a dedicated coach to help you focus on the strengths you do have and what really matters to you, so you can find a job not just to pay the bills but to enjoy a high level of professional well-being. What’s more, if you live in Brussels or Flanders, are currently employed and have worked for at least 12 of the past 18 months, you are entitled to our full 8-hour Personalised Career Coaching programme for only €80!

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