You can only apply to so many roles before you start to question your job-hunting skills, or skills entirely. An empty inbox might have you wondering if you are not qualified or overqualified for the roles you have been applying too, but what if we told you that a small adjustment in how you read a job post could change that entirely?
Knowing when to apply is a skill that comes with experience. No one wants to have to apply to enough jobs to create this skill, but it can save you a lot of time and from eventual job-hunting heartbreak.
If you haven’t developed this skill on your own just yet, don’t worry. We have pulled together some of the best ways to identify true requirements, flexible requirements, and how to balance these factors to know if you are qualified.
What are true requirements?
True or absolute requirements are qualifications that absolutely must be hit to qualify for a job. Job postings usually have a few of these mixed in with flexible requirements as there is rarely a job that has no absolute needs. To determine how many of the listed requirements are absolute, look at the danger and difficulty of a job.
If the role asks that you to manage the health or money, or any other factors that affect quality of life, of others, it is likely that there are more true requirements involved. Medical professionals, especially, must keep an eye on required licensure as that is often an absolute for most companies as they neither want to spend the time or money waiting for someone to obtain a license when they can hire a different candidate who already has one immediately.
Other types of true requirements can involve your clientele experiences. Whether you are dealing with patients, clients, or specialized work, you need to be ready to handle your clients. This can be on an emotional, mental, financial, or even legal front. Doing so is usually an acquired skill that comes from training your way up to the role you are applying for. If a company is hiring for a high-leveled role and you are applying, you need to be able to jump right into a situation like that. That being said, if you applied to a lower position, you would likely find a criteria such as this to become flexible as they now have time to train you before raising you to a higher role that demands this skill.
When reading a job post, try to understand why the role is asking these questions. Is it because the state demands that you have this license? Is it because the customer interactions, such as giving bad news, can be incredibly difficult? Trying to pick apart why something is listed as a requirement can help you determine how true that title actually is.
What are flexible ‘requirements’?
It may be easy to dismiss the idea of flexible requirements because job postings often have ‘suggested skills’ that satisfy that need. So why would a company list something as a requirement when it is not? Usually, it is done in an attempt to find higher quality candidates for the role they need. Essentially, by listing the skills as requirements, they hope to scare off potential applicants who see the job as asking too much off the bat.
If you are interested in a role and do not necessarily meet all the requirements absolutely, then do not click away just yet! Take a look at what they are asking for. You want to focus on the criteria that seems to have an arbitrary timestamp. Companies that are asking for 5 years of work as a registered nurse are not going to put their foot down on a qualified candidate with only 4 years.
If you see multiple criteria that you do not totally fit but seem to be relatively flexible, there should be little harm in still applying so long as you meet the majority of the criteria and the legal criteria. You always want to have more factors in your favor than against you, especially because legality will always win. If you do not fit the true requirements but do fit the flexible ones, the job still is not right for you. If you meet the true requirements and between some and most of the flexible ones, consider the application fair game and apply.
Don’t disqualify yourself unnecessarily
Sometimes, there are requirements that are neither of the aforementioned groups. Things like shifts or schooling are neither absolute nor flexible, but, instead, replaceable. In situations like these, if you have a counter offer to what they are looking for that still speaks to their needs without forcing them to break the law, then you should still apply. If a job posting says day shift and you qualify, but you need the night shift, apply and let the company know. Someone on a night schedule might be open to swapping! If you are asked to have a bachelor’s degree, but you instead have active licenses and several years of experience in a similar position, there is no reason not to apply.
It can be easy to look at this list and job postings and feel discouraged, but do not let that take you down. The worst thing you can do while looking for a new job is disqualify yourself without reason. Take the time to collect opportunities and look at them with a truly discerning eye. Decide what you are comfortable with, interested in, and genuinely qualified or nearing qualification for. If you approach it as such, there should be no time wasted in your job hunt and you will likely be hearing positive responses soon.
If you are still nervous about getting started, let us help! You can send us an updated resume here or apply directly to one of our open opportunities here. We’ll connect you with a dedicated recruiter who will help guide you on your adventure to your dream opportunity!