Looking for a new job is rarely easy, and having cancer often adds a layer of complexity to the process. The confidence needed to apply for a position and essentially sell yourself as the best possible candidate can be hard to come by when you’ve been out of work for a while or you feel that, due to your diagnosis and treatment, you’ve fallen behind some of your peers in the same field.
When job-hunting, it is not uncommon to read an ad for a position and rule yourself out if you do not meet every qualification listed. However, you are doing yourself a disservice by not applying just because you don’t fit the exact description. According to an article published on the job site Monster.com, 46% of men and nearly 41% of women didn’t apply for certain jobs because they didn’t believe they had the required qualifications. However, many recruiters state that they go into interviews aware of the fact that an applicant may be lacking a few qualifications, but feel as though there was something special in that candidate’s resume or cover letter that sparked enough interest to warrant an interview.
Monster.com provides a few suggestions for how to nail the interview, even if you do not possess all of the must-have experience. Here are two highlights:
1. Explain how your existing skills can apply to the requirements: Take a look at the qualification(s) you don’t meet and think of how your current skills and experience could be applied and relevant. This will prepare you for any questions related to that particular skill, if they come up in the interview.
2. Show them you know how to rise to a challenge: A great way to demonstrate your ability is to give examples of how you’ve met and overcome challenges in the past. Was there a prior position for which you didn’t have the exact relevant experience but your quick learning and ability to problem-solve enabled you to perform your responsibilities well? Being creative is key.
At Cancer and Careers, we understand that the job-search can feel overwhelming and, at times, even defeating. However, we have a number of resources that can help you through the process. Check out our Looking for Work section for tips and tools to help you land the job you want — including our Resume Review Service and Interviewing Methods and Tips. If you’re unsure what your dream job looks like, see Exploring Your Options for advice on possible careers and how to find the most appropriate fit for you. Additionally, our Job Search Toolkit is a wonderful resource for all aspects of the job-search process, from writing resumes and cover letters to advice on whether to disclose your health status during an interview.
Submitting a question to our Ask a Career Coach board can also be a great resource if you are hitting obstacles and need some direction.