Q: The job spec for a position I am interested in says three years’ professional experience required. Technically speaking, I don’t have any professional experience. But I have done a great deal of similar work (ground keeping) on a voluntary basis for my sports club. I’ve been at it for 20 years or more. I just haven’t been employed in the role, as such. Should I still have a go? (SM, email)
A: Without knowing the full background, I would recommend you do – be a ‘have a go’ hero, as the best headline writers say.
Companies sometimes create a job spec or advert that puts good people off: the might find in you someone who has a great deal more to offer than others who have been working professionally within the industry.
I have seen many people get jobs even though the job spec debarred them. They had a go, and when the employers got down to sifting through the candidates, their credentials stood out.
Show your enthusiasm. Let them know that you work in this area because you love it: your sports club experience illustrates the depth of your commitment. Make them see you a lifer in this area: when they read your CV and listen to you in the interview (hopefully you’ll get there), they should be moved to think only of gang mowers, a dense growth and the mannerly replacement of divots.
Best of luck with it: and, by the way, I hope the club have acknowledged you with a club person of the year accolade somewhere along the way.
Better never than late – almost
Q: I turned up late for a job interview on Tuesday last. I mis-read the likely traffic situation and arrived in the offices about ten minutes late. The interview panel were waiting for me, and we went through the motions, but I felt the moment had passed. I’ve heard nothing back yet. Is there anything I can do to rescue the situation? The amazing thing is that I am actually a very punctual person. (ED, email)
A: It’s a rescue job, alright. Turning up late is a no-no: you didn’t need me to tell you that. I don’t want to sound like your father now but, really, you should do a recci beforehand – either in person or by sat-nav, and then plan to be at the door half an hour early.
The moment may well have passed. It sounds like the late show infected the whole interview. But it’s not over until it’s over: it can’t do any harm to drop them a short note apologising again for turning up late and that you would like to point out that you are normally punctual. You could perhaps emphasise once again your suitability for the role.
Their response might be ‘yeah right’, but it’s a roll of the dice. Try it, but, ultimately, I’d say it’s a long shot. Employers form strong opinions during interviews, and turning up late generally gets their goat up.
Sli Nua Careers offer CV preparation, interview training and mock interview services at their offices in Galway, Limerick, Dublin, and Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo. Each month, they give away a free CV Makeover to a reader. Enter here: www.slinuacareers.com/cvgiveaway