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Deal with and Disable Your Job Search Gaps

CDI Blog Barb Poole 12-3-15 woman jumping gap

You may not have every qualification required for your desired job. Have you thought about how to overcome these gaps? Is it real? For example, a Master’s degree is required by all companies for this position, and you don’t have it? If so, how will you bridge that gap?

Sometimes, they are perceived gaps. Here are examples of two folks who identified these perceived objections, and overcame them:

Nancy:

Nancy, a manager for five years, stepped out of management for four years. Cut to recent timeline, and she was searching for a management role. She missed it, and knew it was one of her strengths. The gap Nancy faced was fresh, relevant management experience. Employers had concerns about two things:

  • “Was she any good as a manager? If she was, why didn’t she stay in it?”
  • “Can she do it after four years?”

Nancy disabled the objection:

“I loved being a manager. I slashed turnover by 23% and boosted profitability by 36%. Our industry took a downturn, and we lost key accounts. A company reorganization also brought changes, cutting middle management, including me. I loved the company, so I stayed and moved into another role. When they rebounded to hire again, my personal life demanded a lower-profile role. I was taking care of elderly parents and a child with special needs. 

I’ve reclaimed my personal life these days, and have time and energy to take on management again. I was truly at my best then, and am ready to lead another team to the top. Based on what I am hearing about this position, I know I am well qualified. Would you like some examples of relevant challenges and success stories?”

Mike:

Mike wanted to move from the technology industry to healthcare. At first, he was not getting a lot of pushback. “You don’t have healthcare experience. Sorry.” As he was about to throw in the towel, he decided to clearly identify the gaps and figure out how to overcome them. His process brought a light-bulb moment. He could overcome these barriers easily. His dream job, IT director with innovative healthcare products, demanded high-volume data communications, a steely grasp of regulatory issues, and top leadership skills. He had all three.

Mike disabled the objection:

He researched his target industry and employers, so he understood the gaps. He talked with insiders, and came to know the perceptions from their side. He rewrote his resume to reflect what the companies were looking for. The interviews flowed, and he landed that dream job.

Note that I call these challenges “gaps,” “obstacles,” and “barriers,” not “brick walls.” They won’t prevent you from reaching your goal. They can make it tougher if you don’t address them early on. Why leave them untouched and hope for the best? Once you understand them, you can work through them. This is about awareness and power. You are in control of your search!