Every job posting asks for a combination of experience, knowledge, skill, and education. Another way to think about this is "weight." The employer wants to know that you can carry the load of a given job. For example, an entry level job will ask for less weight than one that looks for 3-5 years experience or a background supervising or training employees. In writing your resume or presenting yourself at an interview, you need to be able to show how and why you are qualified to do the job. Look carefully at job posts for positions you are seeking and identify the kind of weight the employer is seeking. Show that you can carry the load.
Mary (not her real name) is a client who is having a problem with her job search. She has a graduate degree and most recently worked for the federal government. When we met earlier this week, Mary told me she’s having trouble finding work and can’t even get an entry level job. I asked her a few questions about how she’s looking for work. It turns out that she’s only looking for jobs for which she’s overqualified. Mary has put herself in a vicious circle: She thinks she’s only qualified for jobs for which no sane employer will hire her because of her education and achievement.
I asked Mary to work with me and take an inventory of her professional assets. We started with her education and then went over her professional experience and achievements. When we were done, Mary laughed and said that she can see why she wasn’t getting called by employers. We targeted jobs that fit Mary’s background and interests. Now she is refocused in her job search.
Finding a job is never easy. However, if we match what we want and are qualified to do with what employers need, the process gets easier and more likely to lead to a job offer. Success is never guaranteed, but you will never succeed by selling down your skills and ability. Know your worth and how to sell it.