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Written By: Katie Shepherd, Staff Writer

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t always need a perfect resume to land the job. Instead, you need to be able to showcase your ability to add value and perform the job well.

When a company is hiring, they often list some experience requirements in their job postings. If you know you’d be perfect for the job, don’t let your lack of relevant experience deter you from applying. Sure, your application may quickly end up in the “no” pile, but if you follow the five tips below, there’s a chance the hiring manager will be able to look past your resume and see you for the qualified candidate that you truly are.

Here are five key things to remember when you want to land the job you know you can do, even if your resume doesn’t have the “right” experience:

1. Remember that job requirements are not always set in stone.

The first step is actually submitting your application! You have no chance of getting the job if you don’t try.

Worried it’ll be a huge waste of your time? A key thing to remember when you’re reading job postings, says TODAY.com, is that many job requirements are more like “wish lists.”

Angela Copeland, CEO of Copeland Catching told TODAY: “In reality, the job description is a wish list of qualifications the employer would like to have. They will often hire the candidate who’s the best fit with the organization, rather than a perfect match to the [desired] resume.” Don’t get discouraged if your skills don’t match everything the employer is looking for.

2. Be honest. Don’t lie.

It can be tempting to fudge the facts, especially if you think doing so will make the employer pay closer attention to you. But it’s not worth it! Many job interviewers know how to spot a liar. They’ll either catch on now or later—so either way, you’ll likely end up in a bad situation, or a job that’s not truly the right fit.

Instead, be honest. Use your cover letter to explain that you realize your experience isn’t exactly what the job posting says they’re looking for, but go on to highlight all the ways in which you’d be great for the job, and a valuable asset to their team.

Shifting their focus away from what you don’t have, to what you do have—or are willing to learn—can be a great tactic. The hiring manager will likely appreciate your honesty—and for some employers, personality, character traits, and cultural fit far outweigh experience.

3. Go beyond the resume.

Again, your cover letter can be your most powerful weapon in this situation.

Use the cover letter to not only explain why you’d be great for the job at hand—but also to tell your story and share your voice.

You don’t want to be too long-winded or come off as desperate, of course, but this is the perfect opportunity to let your personality shine through and win the employer over.

4. Get creative with language.

Without spinning the truth or flat-out lying (see tip #2), you may want to get creative with the language you use on your resume or cover letter.

“Sometimes you can combine your education with your experience, so if you’ve been studying marketing for three years and have two years’ direct experience, you can describe that as ‘being immersed in the field of marketing for five years,’” said Katharine Brooks, executive director of personal and career development at Wake Forest University, in a TODAY.com interview.

Keeping this in mind can help close the gap between what some employers might see as education versus professional experience.

5. Keep your confidence.

If you know you can do this job, and do it well, go after it. It makes no difference if you only meet three requirements or meet all 10, as long as you’re confident in your ability to do a good job, you have every right to chase your dream position.

Confidence can shine through in an application—and even more so in a job interview, if you get one. So don’t let your lack of experience cause you to doubt yourself or your abilities. Don’t stress about whether you’ll get a callback or not. But if or when you do, be sure you tell your interviewer how you plan on taking on these new responsibilities and excelling the company’s success.

For more great tips on landing the job you want without much experience, visit our talent blog or contact us today!

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