Employers look for top talent who can do the job and handle the role assigned to them. While some hiring managers may prefer direct experience when filling positions, you can still land the job even without having the experience outlined in the job description. The key to this is having confidence. Discover how to get this confidence ahead of a job interview.
Identify Gaps in Direct Experience
Identify any gaps you have in experience related to the position. For example, the description may say you need experience working with outside customers or large-scale projects. Perhaps you worked with internal customers and smaller projects before, but not to the scale required by the hiring manager. Take a close look at your work history to see how to prove you can do the job when questions come up.
For instance, many of the same customer service skills apply when dealing with internal and external customers. You learned how to give great customer service to internal teams by communicating effectively, solving problems and critically thinking about dilemmas facing your colleagues. These soft skills are important for any type of position regardless of the hard skills and experience necessary to do the job.
Talk about your resourcefulness and adaptability when overcoming obstacles. Show how, in one of your past jobs, you learned quickly and managed priorities during an emergency situation that required you to fix an unexpected problem. For example, one of your internal customers or your supervisor suddenly changed their priorities and you had to shift gears to successfully complete a project.
Write down these gaps in experience ahead of an interview. That way, you can recall these instances when the hiring manager asks about them. When you confidently prove you can do the job, you stand out from other candidates.
How to Display Confidence
The other part of this technique involves displaying confidence during an interview. Rather than apologizing for any lack of experience, focus on the positive traits you do have. Remember, other candidates aren't perfect either.
Always talk about your experiences in a positive light. Even if you do not have a certain experience or past situation that the employer wants, start out your answer with "I have done..." versus starting out with "No, I haven't...." Interviewers often write down the first thing they hear with a response. You want them to write "Yes" more than "No."
Back up your claims with hard numbers or a reference from a third party. This is where writing down your experiences comes into play. If a hiring manager is still not convinced of your ability to do the job, having a former supervisor, colleague or mentor vouch for your skills can go a long way to alleviate that concern.
One thing to remember is that an employer already thinks you're a valuable asset if you get to the interview stage. Once you reach this point, you just have to show the hiring manager you have the confidence to do the job. How do you build up your confidence ahead of a job interview?
Photo courtesy of aechan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net