“How can I get experience, when every job requires at least 3 years of experience.” This question is often asked with a hint of sarcasm by job seekers who are looking to apply for a new job. A job posting can seem filled with language that’s hard to understand and process. The truth is, a lot of companies, just like job seekers, make their jobs look as good as they can.
So how can you figure out exactly what employers are looking for? If the ad says must have 1-3 years experience, what does that mean?
Many job postings have terms you hear only in job ads and nowhere else. Terms like “Motivated team-player or “Customer-focused self-starter”. What do these things even mean? Careerealism has a funny look at what each of these mean. Here are a couple of examples:
– Resourceful, Independent Self-Starter
Since we have absolutely no time or resources to train you, we expect you to figure everything out for yourself… quickly.
– Attentive To Details
We have strict policies and procedures and won’t hesitate to blame you for everything if you make a mistake.
While Careerealism is having some fun here, there’s a little bit of truth to it. Just like a lot of job seekers who come up with interesting ways to explain their skills, job ads also have a tendency to butter up what skills they are looking for. Most of these terms usually just mean the job posting is looking for a hard worker who is able to keep on task.
Opportunity for Growth
When reading the job description itself, pay careful attention to a variety of buzzwords like “Opportunity for growth.” While at the outset that sounds promising, make sure to take a moment and consider what else that might mean. Phrases like this can often have a deeper meaning.
Most of the time, a job is what you make of it. Every job has the opportunity for growth, in every position you’ll have to work with others and by yourself. Find the things that separate this job from the next one to get a better sense of whether this job is the right one for you.
This is where we’ll usually find that pesky “1-3 years of experience” line. CNN points out that the language used can help you better understand how serious you should take each one.
“When a job listing says ‘required,’ it’s a lot firmer. Employers are trying to narrow the field,” says Tom Allen, director of career services at DeVry University in Decatur, Georgia.
A skill that’s listed as “preferred” is not necessarily essential for a candidate to have.”
Allen also notes that if you have around 80% of the stated requirements you’re in an excellent position to apply for the position. Employers aren’t expecting someone who perfectly matches every requirement and description. They’re looking for someone close to that.
So even if you don’t have the 1-3 years of experience, but you do have a number of the other required skills, apply for the job!