We spoke with Tara Carlidge, Recruiting Manager at Citi and former Personnel Officer in the U.S. Army, to ask her how a veteran should look through the qualifications in a job description and assess whether they are qualified. Here’s what we learned:
First, look at the job description and assess the qualifications. See if you have a background in the field and/or the skill sets required for the role. This requires some research, as you may not be familiar with exactly what skills are needed for which role.
Second, see if the roles/skill sets are required or just preferred. Usually, companies separate their “must have” requirements from their “nice to have” requirements in a job description. Don’t be scared off by the “preferred” list of qualifications, as those are often less stringent and can be learned on the job.
Third, network with people within the company — especially someone who has been on the team you’re applying for, or who has been in the role before. By doing that, you can learn the difference between what was really necessary for the job and what you can learn on the job. Plus, that person may end up advocating for you to the hiring manager or recruiter — they can make the case for you (on the inside) as to what you can bring to the table and how you can be an asset to the team. Networking also shows your interest in the role and allows you to show enough of the qualified skills that the company may be willing to take a chance on you.
Finally, rarely does a candidate have all of the skills required or preferred for the job. So if you don’t meet all of the criteria, you should consider applying for the job anyway. Companies are looking for candidates who meet most of the criteria but don’t expect that each candidate will meet them all. Don’t feel like you have to tick every box!
This article is one of nine in a 9-part series WayUp has completed in partnership with the Bob Woodruff Foundation and VOWS in an effort to help Veterans entering the civilian workforce. To sign up for WayUp and be discovered by employers, we encourage you to go here.