Several years ago, I had a tricky hiring decision to make as a manager at Motorola.I was filling a position on my team that required specialized skills.
My best candidate was a woman who had some similar work experience, but her skill set was not a perfect match. We discussed this in the interview, and she was able to convince me to hire her.
She shared examples about how she learned certain unique skills very quickly. She also talked about her work ethic and team-attitude (which was confirmed with her references).
Upon joining the team, she immediately became a valuable asset on our team. The lesson here:
Even if you’re not "fully qualified," you can still get the job if you have work experience you can leverage in the interview.
For new college graduates, this is a little tougher as they are new to the workforce.
The advantage of hiring them is low impact to the corporate budget. The disadvantage can be lack of experience.
Two of the keys I have found to getting good internships are to start the process early during your college years and leverage your network:
During college, I was able to land an internship at a large truck engine manufacturer because I had a resume that included being a draftsman at a smaller consulting firm the previous summer (and management positions at a restaurant chain I started working at in high school).
I landed the draftsman job by leveraging my network. Although a year out of high school, my high school drafting teacher helped me find that opportunity. You just never know who might be able to help you get a “good” job.
Nothing beats experience. College education and knowledge of the latest technologies or marketing strategies is certainly nice. But applying those skills in a real work environment is better. When it comes time for you to interview, what experiences will you leverage to convey that you can meet the requirements of the job, even if you’re not perfectly qualified?
Oh, and by the way, one other advantage of internships--you never know who you’ll meet. I met my future wife.
Job-Hunt's Working with Recruiters Expert Jeff Lipschultz is a 20+ year veteran in management, hiring, and recruiting of all types of business and technical professionals. He has worked in industries ranging from telecom to transportation to dotcom. Jeff is a founding partner of A-List Solutions, a Dallas-based recruiting and employment consulting company. Learn more about him through his company site alistsolutions.com. Follow Jeff on LinkedIn and on Twitter (@JLipschultz).