You Are Totally Qualified — Just Like Everyone Else

Job postings generally provide two or three main pieces of information: what the primary responsibilities of the job are, what qualifications are required to be considered for the position, and possibly some additional qualifications that are "preferred" or "desired."

As you look through various job postings that are irrelevant to you, there's always that great feeling what you spot a match — yes, here is a job I want to do, and I qualify for it!

Because of this, it can be tempting to see a job application as a kind of matching game. They want someone with a degree in accounting; here's your degree in accounting. They want someone who's detail-oriented; here's a detail-oriented thing you did at this internship you had. And so on.

The problem with this way of thinking is that job applications are not like a test in school, where if you match all the questions to the correct answers, you get an A. Simply demonstrating that you meet each of the job posting requirements in no way guarantees you the job, or even an interview.

Think about it this way: After a hiring manager goes through a long list of applications, they're going to select the people they want to interview. In that pool, how many of those people will have accounting degrees? How many will be detail-oriented? And so on down the list of qualifications.

If the pool of applicants is good and the hiring manager's done their job, everyone in that pool will be qualified for the job.

So when you're preparing a resume and cover letter for a job, don't see your goal as proving that you meet each specific criterion on the list. Assume that every other person applying for the job will meet the minimum qualifications.

What do you have to offer that's above and beyond the bare minimum?