We live in an age where the ease of access to information has broken down countless barriers. Across industries, more people now have equal opportunities to get into various fields and fill in different positions. Yet, the flip side of this effect has been an increase in competition.
When it comes to the job hunt, you will find that meeting the minimum requirements for a position often isn’t enough. Think about it from an employer’s perspective. Even if a local contractor in Salt Lake City could handle the job, if you can hire a commercial electrician to do it at an affordable cost, then you’ll benefit from the latter’s greater experience.
So how can you leverage additional experience when it comes to hunting for the perfect job?
Hiring managers can tell when you’re merely padding your resume with trivial information, and it doesn’t leave a good impression. So what makes your experience relevant? Answering this requires you to fully comprehend the nature of the job in question, which is eventually going to be an essential part of landing the job anyway.
Understand what your responsibilities would be, reflect upon your previous tasks, and find ways in which they are aligned. Sometimes, you can find that different roles will have important elements in common, such as effective task delegation or time management. This lets you leverage on otherwise unrelated jobs to improve your chances of making a strong impression.
Filling in gaps
Filtering out unrelated experience helps keep your resume short, focused, and to the point. However, it can also leave several blank spaces. Taking a year off to “find yourself” is rarely as impressive as it sounds, and while you may not have gone on a gap year, it’s essential to avoid creating that sort of perception.
While you can’t revise the past, you might be overlooking part-time work, one-off projects, or volunteer activities in which you were engaged during these periods. If any of them provided relevant experience, use that to fill in the gaps.
Moving forward, as you continue to seek out the ideal job, make good use of your free time. Knowing what a prospective employer will be looking for, you can take on unpaid work or projects that can provide a relevant experience.
Showing a willingness to learn
There is a growing debate on whether one’s education and qualifications are more or less important than actual work experience. You may find that in established professions, educational achievements are more highly valued. But in relatively new fields such as software development, skills learned and accomplished projects may carry more weight.
Everyone in the information age will benefit from staying on top of trends and adopting new developments. A willingness to learn will set you apart from candidates who may have the experience but also bring a fixed approach to work.
Demonstrate concrete examples of your continued learning by highlighting tasks in previous roles that required you to adapt and master new skills. Show off your preparations for a new job by completing online courses or acquiring certifications for supplementary skills that prove useful in this position.
Banking on additional experience provides great leverage in finding a new job, but your resume must be tailor-fit to each application. Put in the work to research more about the position, grasp what the employer is looking for, and see how you can use existing experience or build upon it to demonstrate that you’re the right candidate.