I have seen a lot of advice lately from recruiters and resume/career coaches that are telling candidates that they should always take a chance and apply to their dream job when they see it. I am going to agree, with some caveats. And I am going to explain to you what those parameters are. I spend a significant amount of time reading resumes from people that are interested in jobs that they are totally unqualified for. It is frustrating for them to receive an auto decline, and honestly a waste of my time when someone applies for a role requiring 5+ years of experience, 3 specific skills and industry experience *that they don’t have*…not even if I am being generous.
So, from a 17-year recruiting veteran, here is my take on pursuing your dream job based on a *job description*: If you meet at least 75% of the stated requirements including education, experience, functional skills, and industry tools ‘ then yes, by all means apply. If there is a long laundry list of tools/software programs that are industry standard, and you have most of them or related industry standards, then go for it.
This is where I am going to put some major caveats around your efforts. It is absolutely vital to understand that small or privately held companies have MUCH MORE FLEXIBILITY in this arena. The reason for this has to do with government/federal compliance regulations. Contextually, there are potentially 2-4 different sorts of regulations that would affect larger employers, but the bottom line is: companies that are impacted by these regulations *legally can only hire candidates that meet the stated job requirements*. The ‘nice to haves’ are used as qualifiers to delineate between equally qualified candidates.
The most broad set of employers impacted by this role are those that are government contractors or subcontractors with more than 50 employees and contracts of $25K or more. The governing body is part of the EEOC, known as the Office of Contract Compliance Programs. Basically the laws require employers that are compliant to have a process where they consider ALL QUALIFIED APPLICANTS for every job, and they can ONLY CONSIDER QUALIFIED APPLICANTS.
This list includes:
-All public sector jobs such as federal/state/local/county governments ‘ and all public education roles.
-Healthcare providers that accept Medicare/Medicaid or any other government subsidies
-Any company that supplies goods or services to the government. This is the tricky one. Think of it this way: Microsoft provides site licenses for Office; Aramark may provide uniforms to the cleaning staff at the Pentagon (and the janitorial company as well); the company that delivers food, and the comestibles suppliers to all the military bases all over the world; Ford usually provides the vehicles to law enforcement agencies nationwide. GE provides medical equipment to hospitals, labs, and research universities. This impacts almost ALL enterprise companies in the US (whether they are headquartered domestically or internationally.)
One of the other main compliance organizations is USCIS. This will apply mostly to STEM roles, but it affects any organizations that sponsor H1-B visa employees. There are two ways this impacts hiring.
-To qualify for an H1-B, candidates MUST possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
-When a company decides to sponsor H1-B workers, it must determine its’ standardized job descriptions for the position types that the visas will be used. Once those parameters are set, they legally must be adhered to and maintained for ALL recruiting/hiring efforts and processes.
As you are looking for your dream job, absolutely reach for the stars, but understand that employers may not even consider you if you don’t actually have the qualifications that they are looking for.