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Break the Rules: Apply Even If You’re Not (100%) Qualified!

Sometimes you stumble across a job vacancy posting that makes your heart quicken – the innovative company, the exciting industry, the novel opportunities and challenges, something about it has given you a serious job crush. But then that nagging bummer of a question pops up: “Am I qualified?” And then your eye lands on something – a specific skill, a language requirement, or a certain requested certification perhaps – and you decide you’re not. You throw in the towel.

But what if we told you that you didn’t need to meet 100% of the qualifications to apply?

What it Means to be Qualified

Women are especially guilty of this, throwing in the towel too soon. (This applies to men, too, but women more often need an extra boost in this area.) They tend to wait for jobs to come along where they can check off every item on the job-requirements list. This isn’t because they lack confidence. It’s usually because they (like almost everyone!) follow the rules. In this case, the “rules” laid out in the job advertisement.

Well, we’re going to suggest something a little crazy: go ahead and break the rules!

When hiring managers or decision makers write job descriptions, they often just make a list of all the items they think would be ideal for the position. When you read the bullet points, you often have no idea which qualifications are a priority. Of course there are always going to be key requirements (such  CRO or pharma background or scientific experience), but smart employers look at the bigger picture. Attitude is important for success. As is cultural alignment with the company. If they weren’t, the interview process wouldn’t be necessary – employers could just hire based on CVs.

But these things aren’t always listed in the job description. (Though we recommend it.) However, they might, in fact, wind up being more important than the items that are listed. Because the chances the company will find someone with that specific certification you don’t have and that awesome, can-do attitude that you do is (let’s face it) slim. And when it comes down to it, guess which one they’ll find more important?

The problem with many job descriptions is they are often based on a formulaic template, and they don’t discern between “nice to haves” and “must haves.” There are, however, people who are specialized in digging deeper into job openings, who really get to know a company and what they are looking for; people who can help you sort through the noise and figure out whether you’re really a match, not with a list of attributes on a piece of paper, but with the job and company itself…

A Little Help from a Friend

That’s exactly what pharma recruitment consultants are for: to give you more insight into and greater access to exciting jobs in the life-sciences industry. Knowledgeable and trustworthy recruiters get the inside scoop from the employer. They know which rules you can break and which to follow.

At Seuss Recruitment, we particularly look at candidates and job openings as total packages that need to be compatible. We know better than to just blindly follow the job description, and we do a little digging to find out what’s really important. We get to know not only the company, but the actual people leading the hunt for the role in question.

Most importantly, a strong recruiter provides a neutral third-party perspective. With a broader view of the industry, we might view your past experiences differently than you do or see more in them that’s applicable to the job in question than you do. Having made many matches in this field before, we know what works and what doesn’t, and can predict powerful matches that might surprise companies and candidates. And we’re also a neutral sounding board (and negotiating tool), able to answer questions you might not want to ask the employer themselves.

Whatever stage you’re at in the job-application process, whether or not you’re looking to make a change in your role, it’s a good idea to keep a helpful, knowledgeable recruiter or two in your pocket. They might be just the ticket to get your foot in the door to talk about that role that makes your heart go pitter patter, and help you break a few “rules” to get there.

Curious what Seuss Recruitment can tell you about your dream employer, or looking to figure out who that dream employer is? Find out more about what we can do for you and get in touch by calling: +31(0) 20 29 00 016 for a fun conversation or emailing us your questions to: