Every job requires a variety of skills, and it's those individual skills that are important (not the job title or sector), and nearly every job has at least 1 skill that will be relevant to whatever you are applying for. Sometimes it just requires a bit of thinking to see it, so you can list it.
It's not so much a thing an applicant
can do - but certainly something a potential employer should
do - is to remember the advice given by Paul Hawkins in his book Growing a Business
: Hire the person, not the position
, in an era of HR departments and 'pre-screening' forms with checkboxes, if you don't have enough exact hits on a laundry list
, you'll often never make it to that F2F interview where you can (hopefully) shine.
I went in for an interview ages ago where I was asked if I had any direct Sun experience. I was familiar with it as far as the name and general specs went. And I had played with a SPARC station - once
. So I said "no, but" I was very experience with IBM, Novell, and (the then spankin' new) Windows NT Server network environments. And that I also had enterprise level VAX and Unix experience - so picking up another network/OS shouldn't be a problem.
The HR person frowned and stared at her form and said "I don't have a box for any of those..." Then she smiled (I had been laying on the charm big time
up till then) and said "Well...why don't I just check it off as yes anyway, and if it comes up in the interview, you can explain it to them!"
Turned out this company was migrating off Sun and was looking for migration specialists. Of which there were a fair number applying. Or so they said. (Yeah, sure!
) However, what they didn't
have (yet) was anybody who really
knew NT server. So I didn't get the job I went to interview for. Instead, I got a different
job with them. As their NT server "goto" guy.
But I never
would have gotten to interview at all if the HR person hadn't checked the box for "recent experience with Sun Microsystems environment." And that's always going to be a problem whenever non-tech screeners (HR) sit between a candidate and the interview panel for a technical position.
In this economy candidates have
to be pre-screened if you don't want to interview 200 people every time there's a job opening. And people with sufficient tech experience to read between the lines
are usually far too busy with their own
work to be handed a list of 50 interviewees to attend to. But with a poor screening process you risk throwing out the gold along with the sand when you're panning for the "good help."
I don't have a good across the board suggestion for how to fix that.
Of course there's always this to contend with if you're a job applicant: