Every once in a while, a client will say to me: “Here is the job I want. I'm a perfect fit, but I don't have experience in______.”
As long as you are setting yourself up for long-term success, I am all for punching above your weight and taking big leaps. I help clients with this kind of change all the time. But understand that not meeting some of the qualifications means you are not a perfect fit. Instead, you are an underdog and you have some hurdles on the track that other candidates – some of whom might actually be “perfect fits” – don’t have to jump.
Being realistic about how others are going to perceive your fit is critical. This allows you to tackle those things head on and provide the evidence that you offer other skills that you believe compensate for your missing qualifications. You’ve got some selling to do, and acting like you are a perfect fit, when you’re not, is not going to do you any good. Here are 5 tips for making a big career leap or transition:
- Be realistic about the qualifications your are lacking and be prepared to explain why that doesn’t disqualify you.
- Be the most prepared candidate. Know everything you can about the opportunity (and the organization) and how you are going to make an immediate impact in your new role.
- Know the unique value you represent and how to influence decision makers to recognize it.
- Be ready to hear “no.” You may believe you are an ideal candidate, and you may be, but not everyone will see it that way.
- Be ready to hear “yes.” It is easy to focus so much on getting a dream position that you forget to build a strategy for succeeding one you’ve landed the gig.