Résumé-Building When You Don’t Have Skills


Sometimes you really want a particular job, and you honestly believe that you’d make a great fit, but you don’t have the skills listed in the job posting. What to do?

Unfortunately, most employers won’t continue the hiring process if a candidate doesn’t meet a very specific set of requirements—if you’re building the UX for a new mobile app, for example, you want someone who knows a little something about the underlying software that powers user interactions. But sometimes an employer is more amenable to a candidate who, while not possessing the skills listed in a posting, is nonetheless open to learning quickly on the job.

In a similar fashion, employers will sometimes accept those candidates whose skills roughly mirror those required for the job. You might not know Objective-C, but you’re knowledgeable enough about other languages and platforms to pick it up quickly; you might have never managed people, but you’ve done enough volunteer work to suggest that you have leadership potential.

With all that in mind, here’s how to tweak your résumé to take that long shot on a job for which you don’t have the skills:

  • Emphasize your ability to learn, and your adaptability.
  • List “analogous” skills to those required by the job, such as similar programming languages, and your experience using them.
  • Convey positivity and your willingness to collaborate.

While the likelihood of being called for an interview might be slim, you still might have a chance if the employer is flexible.