You’ve got the chops for the role, but may not match the requirements exactly. How do candidates with multifaceted backgrounds stand out from the crowd of others with traditional backgrounds?
Here are some tips for unconventional candidates to market themselves as top assets:
- Honesty: assess your skills in terms of the organization’s goals and responsibilities of the role. If there are gaps, take note of them but don’t worry!
- Unrelated Strengths: Note valuable areas of your background that are seemingly unrelated to the role. Many organizations need someone who can juggle both the quantitative and programmatic mindsets, so uncover areas where you can uniquely contribute.
- “Cold Turn-key:” If you’re transitioning from private to non-profit work, add some volunteer work or mentoring to demonstrate proven interest in the cause. The heart is what keeps you in your work, and the technical skills guide you through it—so recruiters will see your efforts and view you as more committed than if you were starting the role “cold turkey.” In fact, let’s coin this effect as “Cold Turn-key,” bringing both the hard skills and momentum from your own exposure to the work.
- Uniqueness is Valuable: Think of a project you’d start that would improve the organization. You may not know all of their strategic priorities during the interview process, but extrapolate, and plug-in methods you could uniquely use to make that happen. Leadership will view you as a candidate profile they hadn’t considered, and desperately need!
- Risk Aversion and Opportunities: A candidate with a variegated background has had the inputs and the adaptation to help the organization more quickly identify risks to its success, as well as opportunities it may not have considered. Let your experience enlighten your imagination, and see what emerges.
Best of luck!