Is Lacking a “Required” Skill a Deal Breaker?

You’ve finally found your dream job (on paper anyway).  The job description matches your exact career goals and ambitions.  The employer is a well-respected and highly sought-after company in your market.  And, you’ve heard the culture is phenomenal.

Then it hits you.  As you’re crafting your cover letter and adjusting your resume, you realize that you’re a perfect fit for 9 of the 10 “required” skills.  Unfortunately, you don’t have a lot of experience with dreaded skill number 10—in fact, you don’t have any experience in that area.

So what should you do?  Should you just scrap the cover letter and resume and forget it?  I hope you didn’t say yes!  If this is truly your dream job, don’t give up so quickly.  Here are a few tips to help you deal with a lack of “required” skills:

  1. Know your strengths and accentuate them!
    You may not have every one of the required skills, but you excel in everything else. Use your cover letter to highlight the fact that you’re an exact match for nearly every other required skill and be ready to support that with specific examples.
  2. Show that you’re a life-long learner.
    During the interview, be prepared to explain how and why your skill limitation won’t negatively impact performance.  Arm yourself with specific examples of times in which you lacked  skills or knowledge going in, but were able to learn quickly and overcome this challenge.
  3. Don’t lie or embellish.
    This is possibly the worst thing you can do.  If you don’t have a specific skill set, be upfront and honest about it.  Explain that you’re open to learning and growing but don’t try to fake it.  That will catch up with you in the long run!
  4. Seek out training before the interview.
    If you know that you lack a specific skill that is needed for the job, do a bit of research before the interview.  Find sources of training and additional education, and arm yourself ahead of time.  If you come prepared and explain that you don’t have the skill but you’ve found resources to help you get up to speed quickly, that will go a long way towards showing the interviewer how dedicated you are.
  5. Bonus tip – Contact Contemporary Staffing.
    As a leading national employment firm, we have helped thousands of professionals find rewarding careers.  Our career consultants will help you find additional training or other job options that are an exact match with your skills and experience.