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Are you ticking all (or enough of) the boxes?


26 June 2020 at 5:20 pm
Maggie Coggan
We take a look at how to break down the selection criteria on your dream job so you can feel confident applying.


Maggie Coggan | 26 June 2020 at 5:20 pm


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Are you ticking all (or enough of) the boxes?
26 June 2020 at 5:20 pm

We take a look at how to break down the selection criteria on your dream job so you can feel confident applying

Picture this: You’ve stumbled across your dream job. It’s exactly what you’ve been looking for, and you think you’d be great in the role. But when you scroll down, the selection criteria list is a mile long, and not all of it feels relevant to your skill-base. 

It’s very easy to talk yourself out of a job if you don’t have all the skills and experience they are looking for, but how do you know when to draw the line? 

We asked Michelle Varcoe, the director of recruitment agency Gembridge, for some advice. 

The 80 per cent rule 

It’s pretty rare to find a job where you have 100 per cent of the skills and experience they are looking for. Instead of giving up straight away, Varcoe suggests the 80/20 rule.

“I think it’s always important to make sure you have around 80 per cent of the skills they are looking for, and if that’s the case, it’s definitely worth applying,” she says. 

Highlight your transitional skills 

If you have a whole bunch of skills that aren’t quite what’s listed, but you think they are completely transferable, it’s important to really spell this out in your application. 

“If an applicant doesn’t have the exact experience the employer is looking for, I think it’s still important to explain why you could use the skills you have in the role being advertised,” Varcoe says. 

Communication is key 

Of course, some skills are more important in a job than others, so if you’re feeling unsure about what the employer is really looking for, read through the position description or just pick up the phone and give them a ring. 

“The position description usually gives you a bit more detail around what the employer is actually looking for in a candidate,” she says. 

“And if you need to give them a phone call, make sure you ask them what are the most essential skills so you can assess it for yourself.”


Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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