If you’re a candidate and you are looking for a job, it can be difficult to deconstruct a job ad, especially if it’s a laundry list of technical tools. A lot of hiring managers use a form of shorthand to identify their needs. Here are some common themes that might be their shorthand:
|What the ad says||What it means||How to get around it|
|2-3 years experience||I don’t want to train you to do the job I need done. OR I don’t want to pay more.||Show some alternative specific-to-the-job relevant experience|
|25-30 years experience||I want a peer||(I don’t know how to get around this)|
|Laundry list of tools||I don’t know what I want, so I’ll ask for everything||Explain in a cover letter how your tools experience is relevant to the position.|
|Experience required and you only have certification or a certificate or college course||They don’t want to train you.||Explain how your attitude, other experience, and/or maturity makes up for your lack of specific experience in a cover letter.|
For example, a colleague with tons of project management just took a CSM (Certified Scrum Master) course. She’s no dummy. She’s used these ideas before. Timeboxes are not a new project management idea. Finishing small chunks works are not a new idea. (I wrote my inch-pebble article in 1999, and my iterative planning article in 1997. I’d been practicing these ideas long before. I bet my colleague has, too.)
The real problem is that too many hiring managers do not want to do any on-the-job training for people who may well have the right preferences, qualities, and non-technical skills. This is so short-sighted of them, I can’t begin to say how wrong-headed it is.
In I Like My IT Budget Tight and My Developers Stupid, Lisa Vaas has a great quote:
“The first technical person I hired last summer was somebody with very little experience, but I saw raw talent. I hired him to basically learn on the job. I haven’t provided training, but he’s dramatically increased his skill set since being hired, just by working.”
You will need to do some explaining. No lying, please! But you will need to explain how you and your attitude are right for their job.
Do you have more examples? I am happy to add them to the table above and to the eventual ebook.