We’ve all been there. Searching for our next job, our next opportunity, the next level in our career. It’s exciting to start that search! However, that doesn’t mean certain things can’t get in the way.
You start reading a job description, enthusiastically envisioning yourself in this new dream job, and then…you get to the “requirements” section. You read “5 years of experience required.” You have three. Next you read “Must be fully fluent in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.” You’re fluent in English & Spanish, but you only know a beginner’s level of Portuguese. Your heart sinks. You move on to search for another job that fits your specific experience. We’re here to explain why you should revamp your approach when applying for a new job.
Overcome the stigma.
Research shows that most people, especially women, skip applying for certain jobs if they don’t meet all of the requirements. Both men and women believe it’s a ‘waste of time’ to apply for certain jobs, not due to a belief that they’re incapable of doing the job, but because they don’t meet 100% of the requirements. As a result, so many workers are settling for jobs that they are overqualified for, and companies are struggling to fill (or may not even be filling) positions because they require such specific qualifications from applicants.
If there are one or two requirements for a job that do not wholly apply to you, rather than eliminating that job from your application list, really review the job details. Does the description truly represent something you want to do in your career? Are you willing to put in extra work to learn skills you may not have right now, skills that could help you in this job if you learn/practice them? Are you confident enough to explain this to a special education director during an interview? In many situations, attitude, personality, and drive can trump experience. How you act in person or on the phone vs. what’s on paper is much more powerful.
What have you got to lose?
You really have nothing to lose by sending in your resume and application with confidence, and you won’t be able to find out more job details without doing so. All they can say is “no.” Whatever your specialty, the special education field has such a growing need for passionate clinicians that you’ll have plenty of other opportunities to consider if you’re turned down once or twice. Yes, there are other “fish in the sea!” One or two “no’s” should not stop you. You’re not going to lose your credibility by simply applying for a job.
It may surprise you.
Once you get in touch with the employer, you may find out that they are very flexible, willing to provide more training, or have a mentor program in the school district that can help teach you certain job tasks! These resources won’t be apparent from reading a job posting, similar to how your experience is more than what is on your resume. Maybe personality and drive appeal to the special education director or department head, more than exact experience and credentials. Again – you’ll never know unless you go for it and apply!
Your recruiter is your biggest cheerleader.
Working with a recruiter can help mitigate the stress and nerves of the experience, as these individuals have direct access to job details and hiring status. A recruiter is your liaison between the school district and you in the hiring process and can help facilitate an interview. At the very least they can even encourage the special education director, speech coordinator, OT lead, etc. to chat with you. A single conversation can persuade someone to be a bit more flexible. Seasoned recruiters are experts in the hiring and interviewing process and can advise and prepare you prior to your first conversation with a school staff member.
Your experience includes much more than you think.
Don’t ever discount your experience. Even if you’ve mainly worked with a certain population, it doesn’t mean you don’t have the skills to work with another. Remember: your knowledge base includes related schooling and internships. There are also plenty of available resources at your fingertips that can help you gain more experience. You can teach skills, but you can’t teach internal drive and motivation. If you have the motivation, you can learn the skills for any job!
Make sense? Now go for it and take a look at our newest school-based positions. You may surprise yourself and find the perfect new opportunity for the next step in your career!