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Jobs | Qualifications

Try for job, even if qualifications aren't a perfect fit

The job posting requires five years of experience. You have three. But you know you're qualified to do the job. Should you apply anyway? • The answer may depend on how the organization does its hiring.

If it's a big company that uses computerized scanning or an HR office to screen applicants, the employer may be programmed — literally or figuratively — to throw out applicants who don't meet every requirement.

In an employers' market, it shortens the applicant pile to find the ones who meet every demand.

That search for the perfect fit frustrates job hunters. And at least one career expert thinks it hurts employers, too.

Nick Corcodilos, who blogs at Web site AskTheHeadhunter.com, takes employers to task for seeking a perfect qualifications match.

"Employers emphasize experience too much when evaluating job candidates," he wrote. "I'm not disparaging the value of experience, but by overemphasizing specific experience, I think we discount ingenuity and the ability to ride a learning curve."

Corcodilos encourages employers to say that "experience is negotiable," provided the applicant shows the necessary talent and ability to learn.

His bottom line is that the search for the "perfect" fit overlooks some "imperfect" talent who could capably do the job.

One way to see if the "imperfect" candidate fits would be to invite him or her in for a tryout or build a work sample into the recruiting process.

Then, as Corcodilos noted, it's up to the job hunter "to prove you're a worthy hire."

As always, the odds of getting that chance improve if you have an advocate or can network into the company.

You also may be able to promote your qualifications as equal to those requested.

For example, if the posting requires a bachelor's degree, you might be able to attract a second look by noting that your associate degree plus work experience in the field are tantamount qualifications.

It might not get through the hiring filters, but you won't know if you don't try.

Diane Stafford is the workplace and careers columnist at the Kansas City Star.

Try for job, even if qualifications aren't a perfect fit 01/15/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 15, 2010 3:30am]

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