Often when I am looking at job announcements I find that the requirements are rather detailed to very specific parameters. While I feel I would be a fit for the position and could learn the parts I'm not familiar with, I'm not sure if this is what is intended or not.
If you are interested in the role and feel you meet most of the requirements or have something to add you should apply. Many decision-makers hire on factors other than "checking the boxes" for skills. These include character, affinity (veterans, alumae of same school, etc.), having an active security clearance, and others.
Related to this, get to know the decision-makers or people that have influence on them. Odds of getting hired are much better if someone knows you versus just being an entry in a database or a resume on a pile of rival applicants. It can be a lot work, but if you make yourself known to these people and they like you, they may ask you for your resume and that means they are interested in you.
If an employer thinks the gap(s) are too big, they will pass. But they might not. Make them say no.
It depends on the position. I find that the more senior you get in positions, the more the organization is looking for a person who can be apart of cultural change. The organization may have preferred applicant requirements (certifications, degrees, etc...); however, part of the hiring process is for the prospective employer to assess how you as an applicant can add value to their team. I know a significant amount of veterans who applied for mid-to-senior level positions without all the qualifications required, and were accepted based on their Education, Leadership, and Management experience.
I am amazed at the amount of senior NCOs and Officers that DON'T apply for these positions out of fear that they are somehow not qualified. When Veterans market themselves as innovative, task driven, servant leaders... they do well. What you lack in certifications and Education can be remedied by the organization sponsoring your training, or a few courses while you are starting the job. Apply for the positions, the worst they can say is No.
It depends how important they are and how realistic. In many cases, HR writes some boiler plate for a job and often, it makes no sense. Ex. asks for 10 years experience in something that wasn't around 10 years ago. And bosses make a similar error asking for the moon (but only willing to pay for a rock). Look at what the job really requires and sell your excellence in quick learning. The more things you already can do, the easier it is to get the interview, but don't forget all the parallels between what you have done and what they need. Respin your experience to cover some of the gaps.
In my opinion, you always want to find a job where you don't know and/or meet all of the day-to-day responsibilities in the posting. That is how you grow, evolve and advance your career. If you have 40-60% of the requirements, you are likely more than qualified.
When I post a position, I don't expect to find someone who is a turn-key solution. Rather, I'm looking for ability to learn and looking for growth in advancement on your resume. That shows me you've met similar challenges previously.
Finally, your should expect any future managers / leaders to show that they can develop your career as well. If you can already do 100% of the job, there isn't any room for growth without having to switch jobs (internal or external).
First of all thank you for your service. The answer is unfortunately maybe. What I mean by that is if the initial search is by electronic search focused on specific items then it would eliminate you. Same goes for a less than well versed screener who eliminates resumes by a fixed formula.
That said it also depends on what requirements are missing to me. If the position is intensive in a specific industry knowledge and requires you to manage people with that knowledge then it could be an issue. If the reviewer held the view that I have which is that long term service in the military means you are adaptable, a quick learner, study all available material in advance and have a great upside for the organization then I would want to interview that candidate in person to see how they fit with my own eyes.
Education/industry can also be a stumbling block for strict position requirements. Again in my view it depends on the job content and responsibility. EG: if the position requires FERC accounting experience and you have standard accounting experience then its an issue for a mid to senior position if adherence is a key part of job. Alternatively if it requires DOD contract administration experience but you have long experience from an S3 position which mitigates the need for industry experience then you are fine.
What I have done and have allowed as an interviewer is in the cover letter deal with the perceived shortfall explicitly. If the position, company or industry is of career interest to you then a well written logical cover letter can get your foot in the door. Cover the issues upfront with a coherent mitigation explanation and send it off. I would encourage you to work in the advisory network to bounce off a draft before you send, two heads are always better than one in this instance.
Good luck and let me know if I can be of any assistance.
(James) Kevin O'Brien
Typically, a job description is a wish list for the company and few will align perfectly. As long as your experience hits on several of the items in a job description, you should apply. Companies are more willing than ever to get the right person with the right attitude in the door and then train them fully according to their field and the company culture.
Appreciate the time everybody took to answer this question. It has been the most difficult issue I've had as I am discerning whether or not to move into the private sector. The last time I applied for a job before the Air Force was working at a deli for a family run grocery store in the small town I grew up in. Needless to say the job seeking and position description has been a challenge to navigate.
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