We’re never as perfect in real life as in our job applications (as wittily illustrated by this quote attributed to Canadian businessman Stanley J. Randall).

Quote Randall

But, there are some imperfections that are easier to work around than others. Here are 3 scenarios, where ‘almost perfect’ might still get you the interview.

Scenario 1: Your university degree and skills are a bit off, but not by far

  • Get your hands on a sample curriculum of the study course needed for the job and see if there might be some similar courses in the curriculum of your own study programme. Make sure to highlight these particular classes in your CV.
  • Sign up for online courses that cover the qualifications that you still lack.
  • Instead of concrete knowledge about tools and programmes, highlight your transferable skills, such as writing skills, communication skills, and problem-solving skills. Think of examples that illustrate those skills and focus on them in the cover letter.  

Scenario 2: You are a couple of months away from the desired years of experience

  • Dig into your extracurricular activities: See if you relate any of your these experience to the job requirements - this can help your argument that you have taken an interest in the particular subject early on.
  • If you are still enrolled in a university course, look for projects related to the job you are aiming for to boost your experience.

Scenario 3: You’ve learned that language/programme/tool at one point, but are not sure how much stuck

  • Do a self-assessment. The first test is trying to read up on the current blogs and news features around that subject and see how much you still understand. For languages and some technical programmes you can also find online tests to give you a sense of your own proficiency. If you find you’ve still got it, include your test scores on your CV.
  • Try some knowledge CPR! Use resources such as learning apps, podcasts or online lectures to jog your memory and pick up on the important developments in the field.

You can never be totally sure that you can turn it around, but you might as well try when the job sounds like something you really want to. If in doubt, read more about when it makes sense to apply for a job you’re not perfect for.