Overcoming the “Under-Qualified” Stigma

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It’s happened to everyone: you come across a job description for a position that’s right up your alley. The job is interesting and looks like something that you are completely capable of and excited to do. And then your eyes wander to the “Qualifications” section… You don’t have a Masters degree, 5+ years of experience, or a Series 7 license. So what do you do? Scrap it and move on? If you’re lacking many of the key qualifications that appear mandatory, then indeed you’re probably better off allocating your time and effort applying elsewhere. But if you’re only a few qualifications away from that ideal candidate description, you might be selling yourself short if you give up before even trying. Read on for a list of tips on overcoming the “under-qualified candidate” stigma.

Emphasize Your Skills

Ok, so maybe you don’t hit every bullet point with your qualifications. But don’t give up hope just yet. For many positions, the “Qualifications” section is merely a list of attributes of the ideal candidate. This doesn’t mean that they’re unwilling to consider someone who meets only some of the requirements. So instead of dwelling on what you haven’t done, focus on what you’re great at. Many skills that you acquire throughout school, volunteer work, or another job are transferable to other positions, and can be used to replace any prerequisites that you might not meet. Highlight these skills or experiences in your cover letter, and explain how they will help you excel in that specific job. One important caveat: don’t waste your time applying for jobs that you’re completely unqualified for – for example, if you’re looking at a position for an Associate Attorney at a top law firm, you better have a law degree.

Go the Extra Mile

If you come up short on knowledge or experience, emphasize to an employer that you are willing to work harder than any other candidate to brush up on your skills and become well versed in the subject matter. Don’t underestimate the value that hiring managers place on a strong work ethic. Include in your resume and cover letter examples of your ability to learn quickly. If you possess many of the other qualities of the ideal candidate, you may find that your enthusiasm to learn and contribute may very well land you the position.

Network

Networking is a great way to gain introductions into a company. Networking can also help you establish someone on the inside as an individual who can vouch for you. When you come across that tricky job description, mention to your contact that you’re planning on applying, and explain why. Be honest, and address any points that might weaken your application. Companies want to hire individuals they can trust. If someone with a good history at the company is able to put in a good word for you, it will further bolster that company’s confidence in bringing you on.

Volunteer or Intern

If you find that no matter how you try to spin it, you just can’t land the position you want based on your qualifications, offer to volunteer your services for free. This isn’t to say that you should ever allow a company or an individual to take advantage of you. But if you volunteer or intern for a company, you’ll gain valuable experience that you can parlay into a future opportunity at the company. Get in, work hard, and show them that they need you. Even if doing so doesn’t lead to another prospect within that company, you’ll gain important knowledge and skills that will qualify you for a position similar to the job you had hoped for at the outset.

It’s easy to look at a job description, think, “There’s someone out there who’s better,” and quickly abandon the effort. But have a little faith in yourself – play to your strengths and commit to working even harder than the next guy, and you may find yourself more qualified than you think. So take a chance – you’ve got nothing to lose – and you may find yourself one step closer to your dream job!

All the best,
The Doostang Team

The Best Way to Answer “YES” to “Have You Ever Been Fired?”

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For some, the question “Have you ever been fired?” can inspire a pit in the stomach when the answer to that question is “Yes”.  You may be among an unfortunate bunch who had a horrific experience at a company (or with a certain coworker or boss), ending in a not so ideal ending.  And whether your termination was your fault or not, it can continue to haunt you in your search for future prospects.  So what is the best way to field this tough issue?

Be Honest

First things first:  don’t lie.  It may be tempting to dismiss the topic altogether, hoping that the company you’re interviewing with never finds out – but what happens if they do?  If they find out during the interview process, you’re certain not to get the job.  And if they find out a few years down the line, no matter how great an employee you are, they may still decide to let you go.  A second termination is not what you want on your record, so do yourself a favor and be upfront and honest from the get go.  It’s much safer, and you’ll stress about if far less in the long run.

Provide Some Context

Explain the circumstances surrounding the incident.  If it was a conflict of interest, let the interviewer know.  If it happened 15 years ago, tell them that you now have a lot of distance from the incident and that your stellar work performance since then speaks for itself.  If it occurred in the more recent past, explain that you have learned quite a bit from the incident, but don’t spend your time making excuses.  Lay down the facts, and focus on what you’ve done since and will do in the future to demonstrate that you are a valuable employee who understands what it takes to be an asset to a company.

Don’t Give Away Too Much

While it’s important to be forthcoming in your response to this question, you also don’t want to spend too much time addressing the matter.  Keep the focus of the interview on what makes you the ideal person to hire, and spend as little time as you can conveying what the interviewer needs to know about that particular incident.  People who feel the need to defend themselves tend to over-explain, and this can portray lack of confidence and lead you down the wrong road.  Certainly stray away from speaking ill of your former boss or company, remaining as objective and succinct as possible.

No one likes getting fired and everyone wants to find a new job.  Don’t let one obstacle in your past set the tone for the rest of your career.  Concentrate on what you need to do to land your next job and on the reasons you’re a perfect fit for it, and the rest will follow.

Have a wonderful day,

The Doostang Team

Doostang Success — A Great Job after 3 Years of Unemployment

Ryan

Baruch College (MS), 2011
Analyst – REIS

“After getting laid off in 2008 from my financial services job, it seemed impossible to get back into the business world. I applied for hundreds of jobs and couldn’t even get an interview or even a response. After three years of unemployment and exhausting almost every avenue I knew of, a friend recommended Doostang to me.

Within two months I went on three interviews, got two job offers, accepted one and I am now back to work full time.

Doostang is by far the best job site I ever used. Every job listing on this site is legit, there is no ‘work from home and make 10K/month’ type listings. If you see it on Doostang it means that company is looking for someone right now. I already got my father and two of my friends using it too, worth every penny!”


Did you get a job through Doostang? Share your Doostang success story and get a $500 Signing Bonus from Doostang!

Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Investment Banking Analyst – Leading Diversified Financial Services Company, New York, NY

Marketing Coordinator – International Law Firm, Miami, FL

Financial Research Assistant – Premier Global Financial Services Company, Philadelphia, PA

Capital Markets Analyst – Preeminent Real Estate Company, Houston, TX

Venture Manager – Premier Financial Firm, New York, NY

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5 Tips to Energize Your Job Search

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

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Although the news has been reporting an upswing in hiring, there are still many workers waiting to land a job. Making that happen requires preparation and creating opportunity, in addition to effectively displaying your skills and value to potential employers. Follow these tips to be prepared and to create opportunity for yourself!

1.  Plan Your Strategy.

Review all the positions to which you have applied and analyze them for similarities and differences. Compare these trends with your skills, experiences, and goals. How closely does your skill set match with your job search?

For many job seekers, the longer one is out of work, the broader the net becomes. This strategy may have been effective in the past, but current hiring managers simply aren’t interested in being a part of your broad-based search. In order to make an impact, understand that the hiring manager views your search as a mini-performance evaluation. If your search appears disjointed or lacks coherence, most employers will consider this as indicative of your future performance on the job! Match your skills as closely as possible to available jobs to maximize your efforts.

2.  Create a List.

Targeting your job search with specific goals is just as critical well into the process as it was during week one. Writing down your goals can focus your efforts more effectively and help you present a more powerful image to potential employers. Creating a list will also allow you to follow up in person with potential employers, an action that will set you apart from the majority of candidates being considered for the position. You can also use your list to track contacts with employers, increasing the level of organization on display to potential employers.

3.  Invest in the List.

Your earlier analysis of skills and experiences will help you identify any potential areas of training that may help you stand out from the competition. Go beyond the initial job description for the position of interest to learn more about the company’s presence in the local community. Although employers are primarily interested in your on-the-job value, if you are able to engage them in conversations about corporate philanthropy, you are demonstrating a deeper understanding of the company’s values, prompting them to invest in you as well!

4.  Showcase Accomplishments that Align with Corporate Projects.

A resume is an effective tool to help you open doors, but in order to do so it must be closely aligned with the company’s mission, values, and top-notch projects. Edit your resume so that only the most meaningful accomplishments are included. Many job candidates become emotionally attached to certain achievements, often from early in their careers. But the fact that you earned “Rookie of the Year in Sales” when you were just out of college will do little to land the job. Focus your resume on more recent accomplishments, usually within the last 10 to 15 years, and select those that mirror the needs of the company’s most important, visible, and profitable departments.

5.  Go Beyond the Resume.

Finally, no matter how outstanding your resume is, these days it often takes more than a great resume to land the job. Brainstorm how you can make yourself stand out beyond the resume. In addition to including the personal contact noted above, this step may also include creating white papers that outline potential areas of improvement for the company. Or you may consider branding opportunities for yourself – from business cards to promotional items to lunch or treats for the helpful staffers you have met along the way.

Getting a good position is definitely a job within itself. A key in minimizing the amount of time you spend in that space is directly linked to your efforts and initiative. Posting your resume is not enough in this economy to get the response you want. Use your understanding of people and organizations to help move your efforts forward. Think of your job search as a personal marketing campaign and implement a bit of self-promotion strategy to make yourself known and to land an interview!

About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

Search Business News to Find a New Job

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

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Reading the news with an eye toward your job search can open up unexpected leads and contacts for a new job. The key lies in what you are looking for when you read the news. Learn to mine the news for hints of impending job opportunities and you will be landing a new job before others are even aware of potential openings.

Review the Job Market

To gain a sense of local hiring trends and openings, online job sites are the obvious starting point. However, between the hidden job market and inside employee interest, by the time you hear about openings your chances of getting hired may be quite slim. Information on who is hiring is only part of the picture. Analyze the openings you see across industries as well as specific positions. If you notice there are many openings for a certain type of position, for example project managers, at several different companies, you may be in a stronger position to gain an interview. Thoroughly research the companies with openings and submit your resume with a 3-point plan of potential improvements that address specific concerns for each prospective employer.

Analyze National Trends

To add power to your search, expand your analysis to national papers such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. What you’re looking for in these papers are trends and news of business expansions.  A simple online search for “business expansion” can also provide a game plan for regional and national opportunities. Research global companies to identify possible local expansions. Is Ford opening a new plant? Is Johnson & Johnson rolling out a new quality assurance program? What tech firms are merging? Any of these changes may foretell increased hiring efforts. Put yourself first in line with your keen investigative skills and unique perspective on the hunt!

Business Section Leases and Mortgages

Investigate shifts in local business locations. Businesses signing new leases or gaining new mortgages could signal impending hiring increases. Create a list and begin a cold-call campaign. Follow up with your resume, including any plans you may develop for increasing the company’s client base, quality improvements, or streamlining production.

Identify Small Businesses

Economists consistently tout the importance of small businesses in hiring, though it’s often difficult to find those opportunities. Small businesses may not advertise openings in traditional ways simply to save on time and expenses. Enlist the local Chamber of Commerce or other directories to create a list of local small businesses. Small business owners appreciate innovation and hard work, qualities exemplified by seeking out their business in your job search. Fewer layers of administration also favor the likelihood that you will speak directly with the business owner making the hiring decisions. No HR screening or gatekeepers in lean small businesses!

Create Opportunities

Even if you are able to identify local job options, businesses may not be able to offer a full-time salary. Build your own opportunities by tethering together several part-time options across small businesses. In addition to increasing your immediate salary, you are also expanding your professional network. Each person you meet has the potential to connect you with another opportunity. Your winning attitude can help open that door!

Thinking outside the box has become a trite term, but the approach remains powerful. By reading the newspaper from a unique perspective, you will be leaping ahead of the competition. Distinguishing yourself in how you manage your job search is a great way to show potential employers the value and creative energy you can bring to their company. Mine the paper for opportunities and you will be in a new job before anyone else even realizes the company is hiring!

About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

Doostang Success — Job at a Prestigious Consulting Firm

Deotima

McGill University, 2010
Analyst – Compass Lexecon

“Being an international student who was working in Canada, it seemed almost impossible to land a job in the US in the current economic climate.

However after I started applying to jobs on Doostang, I heard back from a firm two weeks into my search and landed a job offer a month after at a prestigious consulting firm.

I think Doostang sets itself apart from the competition in that it has many jobs where your application goes straight to the Hiring Manager’s inbox, that is ultimately what set my job search apart from everyone else’s.”


Did you get a job through Doostang? Share your Doostang success story and get a $500 Signing Bonus from Doostang!

Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Analyst – Leading Alternative Investments Group, New York, NY

Consultant – Rapidly Growing Management Advisory Firm, Multiple Locations

Investment Banking Analyst – Premier Investment Banking Firm, Philadelphia, PA

Sales Intern – Data Analytics & Predictive Modeling Company, New Castle, DE

Equity Trader – Leading Proprietary Trading Firm, New York, NY

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Doostang New Jobs This Week: Apr 18 – 24


Doostang has thousands of highly sought after positions at companies like Google, Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital, Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts, Summit Partners, Time Warner, Facebook, and more. Looking to get ahead in your job search? Be the first to apply to these exceptional NEW jobs just posted on Doostang.


2011 Summer Internship, Boston, MA – Premier Healthcare Industry Investment Banking Firm seeks Summer 2011 Intern.


Web Developer (Java), SF Bay Area, CA – International Leader in Casual Gaming seeks Web Developer.


Investment Banking Analyst, New York, NY – Leading Independent Restructuring Advisory Firm seeks an Investment Banking Analyst.


Microbiology Research Associate, Cambridge, MA – Venture-Backed Biomedical Company seeks a Microbiology Research Associate.


Relationship Manager, Los Angeles, CA – Boutique Regional Bank seeks a Relationship Manager.


Product Marketing Manager, Timonium, MD – Innovative Online Payments Solution seeks a Product Marketing Manager.


Private Equity Analyst, New York, NY – New York Based Private Equity Firm seeks an Private Equity Analyst.

Doostang New Jobs This Week: Apr 11 – 17


Doostang has thousands of highly sought after positions at companies like Google, Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital, Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts, Summit Partners, Time Warner, Facebook, and more. Looking to get ahead in your job search? Be the first to apply to these exceptional NEW jobs just posted on Doostang.


Credit Analyst, San Francisco, CA – Multi-Strategy Credit-Focused Hedge Fund seeks a Pre-MBA Credit Analyst.


Marketing Writer, Scottsdale, AZ – Boutique Personal Financial Planning & Investment Management Firm seeks a Marketing Writer.


Investment Banking Associate, Palm Beach, FL – Sector-Leading Boutique Investment Bank seeks an Investment Banking Associate.


Business Development Analyst, Los Angeles, CA – World’s Largest Commercial Real Estate Services Firm seeks Business Development Analyst.


Associate, Washington, DC – Leading Private Equity Investment Firm seeks an Associate.


Consultant – Strategy Consulting, Boston, MA – Leading Strategy & Economics Consulting Firm seeks Strategy Consultant.


Private Equity Analyst, New York, NY – Private Family Office seeks Private Equity Analyst.

Doostang Success — Responses within 3 Days of Applying for Jobs

Dheeraj

Georgia Institute of Technology, 2009
Supply Chain and Operations Analyst – DTDC

“I was just coming out of college and found job search to be a challenge.  I was applying to jobs on some other sites, but after spending my precious time I was still just waiting for responses and I was beginning to lose my confidence. I did get very few responses eventually, but they still weren’t from the company HRs.

After learning about Doostang, I started applying through the site. I saw some positive responses, so I got a premium membership. All of a sudden, plenty of opportunities opened up all around me.

I started getting responses directly from the hiring managers within 3 days of applying for jobs, which was very quick for me given the time constraint I was in. I ended up getting 2 offers and was in a position to negotiate my pay package.

The filters and saved-searches were very useful. The newsletters sent by Doostang were also consistently guiding me in my job search, and as a result, I was performing better in the interviews.

Overall, Doostang has been a mentor and helped me get many opportunities.

I strongly recommend Doostang Premium to anyone seeking a new job or a career change – I know they will eventually end up with a great opportunity like I did.”


Did you get a job through Doostang? Share your Doostang success story and get a $500 Signing Bonus from Doostang!

Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Summer Intern – Leading Client & Proprietary Assets Firm, Greenwich, CT

Project Director – Prominent Consultancy, Chicago, IL

Quantitative Equity Analyst – Innovative Quantitative Investment Management Firm, Boston, MA

Marketing and Operations Associate – Cutting Edge Tech Startup, SF Bay Area, CA

Investment Banking Analyst – Premier Full Service Investment Bank, New York, NY

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Graduate School vs. Full-Time Career

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Many individuals who are finishing up their undergraduate degrees are faced with the dilemma of choosing between pursuing higher education or jumping into the real world and landing a full-time job.  There are certainly pros and cons to each path, but ultimately it comes down to the individual.  If you are facing this conundrum, here are some things you may want to consider:

Graduate School

Pros

Many people in favor of going to graduate school straight out of college argue that this creates a much smoother transition.  You are still in “school mode”, having spent the last 17 or so years of your life in the classroom, and you don’t have as many commitments in the real world that are holding you back.  Because you are fresh out of college, you don’t have a job that will be difficult to leave, and you likely don’t have a family of your own to think about when potentially moving across the country.  In short, you still have the flexibility that makes focusing on graduate school much easier.

People in favor of graduate school after college also argue that in this sort of economy, delaying the job search may be a good idea.  You don’t have to enter the fray quite yet, and in addition to waiting out an iffy job market, you are adding more credibility to your name by earning additional degrees and accolades.

Cons

The downside of entering graduate school is that if the institution you are attending does not sponsor your degree, you are getting yourself into further debt without the guarantee of a job immediately after graduation.  You may also lack the real world experience to determine what exactly you want to pursue, and whether or not your choice of study will be useful in the real world.

Full-Time Career

Pros

One of the biggest pros for waiting a few years before going back to school is that the real world experience you bring with you enriches your academic experience.  You have a better perspective on the practical use of your degree and know more thoroughly what you want to get out of it.  Waiting a few years before returning to your studies may also ensure that you end up pursuing an area that you’re actually interested in, instead of jumping into something right away just for the sake of staying in school.

Another plus to having some real world experience under your belt is that, upon graduation, you are more likely to land a great job. Companies often prefer real world experience in addition to a degree, as opposed to someone who has the same degree but no idea of what it’s like to be in a real working environment.  Also, there is the added benefit of already having the proper connections from your previous job to help get you back on your feet and working again, which you wouldn’t have had if you went straight into grad school.

Cons

The downside to putting off graduate school is that it may be difficult to get back into it.  You may find that you love your job and it’s difficult to leave.  You may have a family, in which case it could be hard to relocate to a place that otherwise would have been an ideal fit for you.  Or you may feel too distanced from academia itself to feel entirely comfortable heading back.

There are certainly drawbacks to each side of the debate, but people pursue both paths successfully all the time.  What it really comes down to is weighing all the pros and cons and deciding what is right for YOU.

All the best,

The Doostang Team