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A job vacancy advertisement wants years and years of experience ….Can I apply?

This is the most common question candidates tend to ask themselves once they see a job advert. If the advert requires 3 years of experience and I have 1 year, can I apply? What if I don’t have any experience? What if I don’t have the relevant experience? There can be a dilemma about this and once you are caught up in it, trust me you may have doubts about yourself. Today we want to share tips and ways in which you may apply for a job that requires more experience than what you have.

The jobs that are the most fun are where our learning curve is high but we can still achieve results. Usually the list of requirements for a job like this is a little beyond your experience. So how do you get one?

First of all, realize that the people who write job descriptions actually have little clue about what they really want in a candidate. That means they are easily influenced if they see a resume that grabs them. The other thing to keep in mind is that candidate requirements are usually insanely optimistic so most people applying will either be way out of the price range for the job, or not quite meeting the qualifications for the job.
In any case, you should always reach for a job way above you, but do it in a way that makes you seem like a reasonable candidate. Here below are ways and tips which you can use in applying or should consider first before applying for that job:
1.   Use the informational interview as a sales pitch (if given an opportunity).
If you know a company is hiring, and you know you're not qualified, you might still be able to get an informational interview (refer to our earlier article on types of interviews). In that meeting, first find out all you can about what that particular department or company (depending on size) needs. Then find out what really matters to the person you're talking to. If you can sell yourself as someone who has the right type of personality and demeanor for the type of work that needs doing, the hiring manager might believe that you can grow into the job quickly. This leap of faith becomes more realistic when the hiring manager believes that you know a lot about the job and he knows a lot about you (which you selectively reveal in the informational interview).                                                        Hint: Shifting the meeting to a job interview even though it wasn't scheduled that way. We advise that you try to be subtle.
2.   Sell yourself as a consultant.
People want good ideas. Note, though, that a good idea is one that you can actually implement—one that you can see through from start to finish. People say that their particular industry is not like this, but in fact, every industry is ripe for a good idea sold the right way. This is typically what consultants do. They go into a meeting selling an idea rather than selling themselves as a fit for a job description. A great example of how any industry needs good ideas is the tax practice in Kenya. There are tons of new ideas for how to work around various taxes every year, and the industry is dependent on the quality of new ideas flowing in.  This is true of all industries, no matter how obscure. So if you come up with a good idea and sell it to the right person in the organization, you might be able to land a job implementing that idea even if you have no experience doing something like that.                                                                                     Hint: Learning how to sound like a consultant if you've only trained to do an interview. Find out from friends or people you know working in the big audit firms in taxation departments, they know how to sell ideas.
3.   Get people to use you as a reference.
Headhunters don't fill entry-level jobs; they fill mid-tier and top-tier positions. The headhunting business is all about sourcing, so the more you know about how headhunters source online, the more likely you are to get tapped for a job that is a little beyond your qualifications. Most human resource consultants can tell you that they often search for resumes with respected corporate brands on them and then look for the people listed as references—and then go after those people. So try getting your friends at your level to list you as a reference and you get a chance to be considered for a higher level position.                     Hint: Getting the right friends.
4.   Browse the internet on that field to become an expert. 
It's amazing to me how many people in the internet are professionals with 1-3 years of work experience who sound like someone with a lot more work experience. The reason for this is that surfing forces you to become an expert in your field a lot faster than a day-to-day office job forces expertise. Surfing for expert knowledge focuses on ideas and the person who is writing those ideas. You can position yourself as top in your field offline by becoming top in your field online. Your online position gives you access to people who would not consider hiring you based on your resume and experience, but would consider hiring you based on your online work and your ideas.                                Hint: Having good ideas.
5.   Have a realistic idea of your skill set. 
It's very hard to sell something you don't believe in. So you are going to have a hard time getting a job that's a little bit beyond you if you don't really believe that you're good at what you are saying you're good at. Also, though, it's very hard to sell something you have blind faith in. Think about the evangelists that knock on your front door. Their arguments are not persuasive because they "just believe" they are right. If you "just believe" you can do it, you won't be able to cut a deal.       So in order to land a job that's beyond your experience, you need to tread that fine line between having a strong belief in your strengths and not going off the deep end to the point where you sound delusional.                                                          Hint: Seeing your true self and believing in the person you see. This is actually the tough part of all of life.

Do you now believe that you can land a job that is asking for qualifications far beyond what you have? The ideas fronted here will be applicable only if you have what is commonly known as ‘corporate swagger’ Have you ever heard of a phrase that says that you fake it till you make it? For you to get a job like this, it will depend on the way you carry yourself and the approach you give life. For example, I swear that many of the job applicants in Kenya find it very hard to ask for an informational job interview.

Just try this and you will be good to go. What is your target salary? Don’t answer, all I can tell you is that you can attain it in 2 years if you want. Just as a motivation, I did it why not you!!!

We at HCC wish you all the best in your future job applications.

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