When you read the requirements in a job advertisement and you do not meet some of them, do not automatically scroll by …
Every year when firms start to advertise their available trainee positions, I see the same reactions on Facebook groups by students or prospective trainees looking for opportunities to apply – ‘This is so unfair’ or ‘How are we supposed to meet these requirements?’.
I always look at the requirements to see whether they are ‘unfair’ as expressed by the prospective trainees, but then I see an opportunity to impress the person reviewing my CV rather than trying to see reasons why I cannot apply for the position. In fact, I got more interviews and jobs for positions where I did not meet all the requirements than positions where I checked all the requirement boxes. I took a chance when I applied, and sometimes taking a chance is all you need.
The first thing that I do when applying for a job is customising my CV for the position I am applying for. Different positions have different requirements, and therefore you need to make sure your CV is addressing that particular position and is not too general.
Let’s unpack some of the requirements to see how you can change them from a barrier to an opportunity to impress the person reviewing your CV.
You must have your own reliable transport
This is a funny one … Everyone always reads this as ‘must have your own car and licence’ when in fact that is not what is written in the requirement − that is how you are interpreting it (unless those are the exact words in the placement … it does happen).
The prospective employer wants to know if you will be able to get to the office. On your CV include a heading which says ‘Transport’ and then add details of how you will make sure you will get to work.
For example: ‘My primary use of transport is a taxi, but when there is a taxi strike, I have other methods of transport available to me such as Uber, Gautrain and Gautrain buses, Metro buses, or a sibling/neighbour who will ensure that I can get to work on time.’
This will show your prospective employer that you have thought about possible transport issues and solutions and that you will be reliable enough to get to work.
Speak Afrikaans and English
This requirement usually creates quite a stir, but let us sit back and think about this one. All of us had to take English and Afrikaans as required subjects in high school. We might not be proficient in both languages and maybe we remember the bare basics of the second language, but that does not mean that you are automatically disqualified from the application.
On your CV you can state that you have a basic knowledge of a language, but do not just stop there: include some details on your proficiency (such as you can understand when people speak the language, however, you will reply in English, or when you do not understand you will ask for a translation).
A language is something one picks up very quickly. I have seen time and again that trainees with basic proficiency in a language can improve their skills within their first few months in a firm.
So, do not let a language requirement stop you from applying for a position!
When you read the requirements in a job advertisement and there are some of the requirements you do not meet, do not automatically scroll by, because then you will never know if you had an opportunity to get the position. Take a moment to consider how you can make the requirements an opportunity to impress a prospective employer rather than seeing it as a barrier to securing a position.
Chantal Potgieter AGA(SA), Senior-In-Charge at SAPRO