Author Topic: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!  (Read 3904 times)

Double Yu

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landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« on: February 24, 2018, 10:10:50 AM »
I need encouragement.

I'm applying for what is essentially a "dream job" though I don't have much in the way of formal background. I'm basically a hobbyist but I know I'd regret not trying to land the job if I chicken out and don't submit an application.

So, I'm trying to write up the best cover letter in existence to explain why I'd be great at the job. I understand the competition, given that the position is at a university where they have degree programs that turn out graduates with already full resumes listing lots of experience in the field - and I've seen the resumes/experience of previous hires. And yet...

And yet maybe they'll decide to take a chance on a former SAHM turned parental-caregiver with basically a spotty employment history (in the generic admin assistant direction that's totally unrelated) who's pieced together opportunities to engage in the pertinent hobby in spite of Other Responsibilities.... 

but I'm seriously lacking in confidence.

Bring me your success stories in which it was a  long shot but somebody gave you a chance anyway. I need to know it's not impossible :)

JLee

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2018, 10:22:46 AM »
How you write your resume may help significantly - can a career center/etc help you articulate your relevant life experience?

I did land a job that would ordinarily have been out of my league, but it was an internal referral and I had no competition (the job was created with me in mind), so my experience isn't likely to help you in this case.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2018, 10:35:42 AM »
Thereís no point being subtle: you most likely wonít get the job. Barely anyone reads cover letters. I certainly donít give any of the ones I come across any bother. I look at the resumes and I look to see if they have what I need for the job and if I canít pick it up from the resume, forget it. I donít take chances on people who arenít obvious fits because the risks are too great: investing time training possibly disrupting the current business and missing out on a better fit. I donít think anyoneís story will help you, it will just give you false confidence. If you found your dream job, let that be your guide on what you need to be the perfect applicant, work on that and then apply for the next dream job, that youíve earned.

Now, with all of that, hereís this: you have nothing to lose. You most likely donít have a chance, so be fearless. First, do your research, find out everything about the job and company. Find out who will be part of the hiring decision. Join linked in, see if anyone you know knows anyone at the company, then do more research. Take people to coffee and ask for introductions to people in the company. See if you can get as close as you can to the hiring person. If you canít, write a short email, laying your cards on the table: Iím not typical, youíll read resumes more on point, but, Iíve got everything you want and more and you just want 15 min to share how you can bring value. Donít aim for sympathy, donít talk about yourself. Do focus solely on how you will bring value to the company, how you will make them money and more success. You have nothing to lose and fortune favors the brave.

meghan88

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2018, 10:52:15 AM »
Universities are notorious for favouring academics.  They prefer candidates from their own graduate programs or from those of other more prestigious schools.

Might be an idea to approach them from a fresh angle by emphasizing that you can bring real-world/real life experience to the role and to the department, which will help prepare their students for the real world.

Like MrThatsDifferent says:  Can you get an introduction, or can you introduce yourself, to someone in the department to get some inside intelligence as to what they are looking for?

Double Yu

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2018, 11:12:36 AM »
Thereís no point being subtle: you most likely wonít get the job. Barely anyone reads cover letters. I certainly donít give any of the ones I come across any bother. ... If you found your dream job, let that be your guide on what you need to be the perfect applicant, work on that and then apply for the next dream job, that youíve earned.

Thank you for your thoughtful, experience-based reply. The unexpected takeaway is that you inadvertently reinforced the fundamental reason my dream job will never be in the corporate sector.

I have experience that fits this job, gained on my own initiative, and I have taken steps to serve my community through this field. Unfortunately, I have no way to reverse time so I can graduate with a new degree before age 50. If the public-service organization to which I'm applying doesn't read cover letters any more, we're in greater social decline than I thought, no doubt thanks to a focus on profit and "success" in all aspects of life.

Yay, go team!

Double Yu

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2018, 11:17:02 AM »
Actually, I'm finding all the straight talk refreshing. I guess I didn't need encouragement but rather a way to steel myself to the inevitable.

Meanwhile, I've got a letter draft that I'm pleased with - having been steeped in the academic milieu for some time, I think I've got a handle on how to further my 'no holds barred' banzai run.

So, nobody's been given a chance huh? You've all followed the script to a T - gotten the right degrees and had the work experience employers are clamoring for?

Wow, we oddballs and misfits are really screwed.

meghan88

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2018, 11:43:57 AM »
Please don't despair.  You should give it your all.  Didn't mean to discourage you.

If you want an unlikely success story, I was a self-taught mechanical designer and CAD draftsperson with no degree at all, and I parlayed that into multiple jobs and contracts that lasted many years.  I then went back to school (law school, in fact) and had to apply twice before getting in, after doing three years of university credits at night.  Graduated from law school "With Distinction" at 38 and managed, amazingly, to get an in-house counsel job at a telecoms company.  This was after everyone - and I mean EVERYONE - told me, repeatedly, that I'd never get hired, anywhere.  20 years later, I am still at it and I've never been unemployed a day in my life.

"Luck" is where preparation and opportunity meet.  So, go get 'em.

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landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2018, 11:48:42 AM »
I think it more likely that not a lot of people here have a dream job. I’ve certainly overreached a bit with an application, but not in a situation where I cared too much about the outcome. I was trying to think of an anecdote to encourage you with, but I honestly can’t think of a dream job. Hmmm.

Double Yu

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2018, 12:07:01 PM »
I think it more likely that not a lot of people here have a dream job.

Now that I can understand. I don't really either EXCEPT that this is a job (paying) to do something I already love doing: gardening.

I just don't have a B.S. (or more) in plant science or horticulture like many of the staff. I do have community organization service, some community-garden leadership roles, some specialized training (Master Gardener and permaculture design)...

I need a job (not scrappy enough to entrepreneur myself into a livelihood at this point) and I am most definitely also applying to the non-dream variety where my resume, in spite of its gaps, does show my experience.

I would really like this one, though, rather than the office variety... hahaha get it? (garden variety)... sorry, plant puns...


« Last Edit: February 24, 2018, 12:09:16 PM by Double Yu »

Double Yu

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2018, 12:12:38 PM »
@meghan88

there you go! What a great story!

Who knows, maybe I will find it necessary to go back to school (yeeps!) but I also wouldn't mind just doing this kind of work that's both physically active and good for the heart. My intellectual life is rich already: I'm driven to learn new skills and topics but that doesn't always get the job without the paper to back it up.

lhamo

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2018, 03:32:07 PM »
When I was a hiring manager I put a LOT of stake into cover letters.  They showed who actually read the job posting (which requested one) and paid attention.  They also showed how the candidate could see the fit between their experience and what we were looking for. 

My personal story is a bit different than yours -- I applied for (and got) a position that the hiring manager thought would be a step down for me.  There is a lot of reverse bias in the non-profit world against Ph.Ds.   I had been a regional office director, and was applying for a program officer position.  I got it.  Even though I cried in my interview (I was deep in PTSD mode after the fallout with psychoboss at my previous org).  I took a significant paycut but it was a great job for me.

Put your passion in the letter.  Can't hurt to try.  I did that once for a different long-shot opportunity (position on a field trip to Bhutan) and it worked out.

tomsang

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2018, 08:59:46 AM »
Quote from: Double Yu link=topic=88372.msg1910955#msg1910955 date=
So, nobody's been given a chance huh? You've all followed the script to a T - gotten the right degrees and had the work experience employers are clamoring for?

Wow, we oddballs and misfits are really screwed.

I think you are missing everyoneís advice. You need to get outside of the stack of resumes and be creative. A great cover letter will help, but it will most likely not be enough. Finding someone connected to this position to take out for coffee/lunch would probably help. Getting supporters on the inside to sell you, will be more important than a cover letter or resume. If this job is amazing, they may have hundreds of applicants to choose from.  Hiring a misfit is a huge gamble. They donít need to gamble, unless they know the misfit is perfect for the job.  Your competition will have a solid resume and cover letter. You will need to stand out by going in through the back door. This takes time. Your quest for this job may take months or years. Good luck!

Roadrunner53

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2018, 09:18:53 AM »
I wish you good luck. I was a factory worker and there was an ad in the paper for a micro lab helper job. I applied for it and amazingly I got an interview. I was totally rejected for that job but the manager 'saw' something in me and passed my information onto another manager. It was a research and development company. I was called in for a second interview and was hired as a temp. I wasn't happy to be a temp, I wanted full time with bennies but took it. It took me 9 grueling months and they finally hired me. I was out of my element but learned quickly. I did a lot of stuff no one else wanted to do. That showed them that I was willing to do anything without complaining. That job lasted me 18 years and I was making around $65K a year by the time I left. I travelled all over the country for the company too. I was so naÔve back then and we didn't even have computers to do research for jobs. I actually learned how to use the computer working at that company using a Macintosh computer that was the size of magazine.  Like a another said, find out what the company is all about. Parlay what they do and what you can do into an interesting cover letter. You will kick yourself if you don't try. You have nothing to lose. I really fell into that job and it was the happiest day of my life when they hired me!

Double Yu

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2018, 12:53:23 PM »
@tomsang, I don't think I'm missing the advice - I was objecting to the certitude expressed by MrThatsDifferent that "nobody reads cover letters" and that the ONLY way for me to proceed is to consider this application a lost cause, go back to the starting board and make myself competitive (ideally with an eye toward making "the company" money) and only in that way would I have "earned" consideration for the kind of job I'm applying for.

While my initial post didn't have specific details, I do have experience doing exactly what this job requires - I just don't have a steady employment streak. That's what makes me an oddball - I've not been career oriented and more closely resemble a "displaced homemaker." I'm applying for an almost-entry-level position that I would love to do though I may not be competitive without the appropriate degree and the long history of community service/work.

That said, I very much appreciate the pertinent advice offered here: @JLee and @meghan88 : articulate your relevant life experience;  @lhamo: cover letters are read, put passion into it; @Roadrunner53: You have nothing to lose;  and you: be creative, and ... stand out by going through the back door?

I have to admit, that last part gives me pause - am I really being advised to schmooze my way in? That seems inappropriate, if not skirting close to trying to sway staff opinion prior to their reviewing applications.  Is that what people do?

crispy

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2018, 01:45:56 PM »
@tomsang, I don't think I'm missing the advice - I was objecting to the certitude expressed by MrThatsDifferent that "nobody reads cover letters" and that the ONLY way for me to proceed is to consider this application a lost cause, go back to the starting board and make myself competitive (ideally with an eye toward making "the company" money) and only in that way would I have "earned" consideration for the kind of job I'm applying for.

While my initial post didn't have specific details, I do have experience doing exactly what this job requires - I just don't have a steady employment streak. That's what makes me an oddball - I've not been career oriented and more closely resemble a "displaced homemaker." I'm applying for an almost-entry-level position that I would love to do though I may not be competitive without the appropriate degree and the long history of community service/work.

That said, I very much appreciate the pertinent advice offered here: @JLee and @meghan88 : articulate your relevant life experience;  @lhamo: cover letters are read, put passion into it; @Roadrunner53: You have nothing to lose;  and you: be creative, and ... stand out by going through the back door?

I have to admit, that last part gives me pause - am I really being advised to schmooze my way in? That seems inappropriate, if not skirting close to trying to sway staff opinion prior to their reviewing applications.  Is that what people do?

There is a lot of truth to the saying that it's not WHAT you know, but WHO you know. Not saying you need to randomly suck-up to people, but it never hurts to have someone advocating for you.

As far as the cover letter, the value of it always depends on the person hiring. Some managers place a high amount of value on them, some never read them. I think it also depends on the type of job you are applying for and whether they are assessing soft skills or hard skills.

While I think a good cover letter is needed, I think a well-written rťsumť is even more important. You need to sell yourself as a strong, viable candidate for the job. You need to demonstrate through your words that you have the needed skills and you are what they need.

From your post, it sounds like your biggest obstacle is a spotty work history. Hiring someone with a lack of professional experience AND a patchy employment history makes you a risky hire (thus why it is good to have an internal advocate). That is why you need to figure out a way to package yourself so the company wants to interview you because your positives far outweigh your negatives.

I hope this isn't discouraging because it is not meant to be. I know firsthand that it is not impossible to get a job even after you have been out of the game for a while. I went back to work FT after being a SAHM for five years and then working a PT, non-professional job for another 4 years. It was hard and scary getting back into the workforce.  After applying for FT jobs in my field for close to a year (not a ton of openings), I finally got an interview. It went well and I was offered a second interview which required me (along with three other candidates) to do a presentation. I practiced hard and knocked it out of the park. This was my chance to sell myself, and I did it with flying colors. I did get the job and moved on to an even better job about 18 months later.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2018, 01:47:48 PM by crispy »

tomsang

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2018, 03:19:01 PM »
@tomsang, I don't think I'm missing the advice - I was objecting to the certitude expressed by MrThatsDifferent that "nobody reads cover letters" and that the ONLY way for me to proceed is to consider this application a lost cause, go back to the starting board and make myself competitive (ideally with an eye toward making "the company" money) and only in that way would I have "earned" consideration for the kind of job I'm applying for.

While my initial post didn't have specific details, I do have experience doing exactly what this job requires - I just don't have a steady employment streak. That's what makes me an oddball - I've not been career oriented and more closely resemble a "displaced homemaker." I'm applying for an almost-entry-level position that I would love to do though I may not be competitive without the appropriate degree and the long history of community service/work.

That said, I very much appreciate the pertinent advice offered here: @JLee and @meghan88 : articulate your relevant life experience;  @lhamo: cover letters are read, put passion into it; @Roadrunner53: You have nothing to lose;  and you: be creative, and ... stand out by going through the back door?

I have to admit, that last part gives me pause - am I really being advised to schmooze my way in? That seems inappropriate, if not skirting close to trying to sway staff opinion prior to their reviewing applications.  Is that what people do?

The title of this thread is that this job is out of your league.  If that is the case, then you will need to do something out of the ordinary.  In my profession it is not unusual for us to get 100's of applicants for a position. Our HR department, will weed out all those that don't hit a certain threshold.  This weeds down, the hundreds to tens.  From there we start looking at the applicant.  If you want a shot at getting to the short list and your resume and experience are weak, then I would recommend that you find someone that works there and tell them your story.  Get them to recommend you over the hundreds of other candidates.  Otherwise, your resume and cover letter will be in the recycle bin, before they even read your cover letter.  If this is just an entry level job, then maybe you have a shot as the unemployment rate is less than 5% and companies are looking for good quality people.   An almost entry level position, may be your dream job but maybe it will not attract the candidates that have more experience.  Good Luck!

Holyoak

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2018, 04:23:50 PM »
How about this for off the wall.  Psychology degree, former Army Infantry Officer, firearm sales, sold Ford auto parts, was the training director for a 17 store chain of auto service centers, sales rep for a major motor oil/everything attached to that distributor, and was a dealer service manager prior to...  Applying for the position of chief interpretive naturalist, to manage a state parks nature center, guide hikes, develop and present nature programs, etc...  Got the job on the first interview, beating out folks with forestry/biology/natural science degrees, and it was the best job I ever had.  Would have done it for free. 

Another.  I applied for, and received an interview with an explosives and propellants firm to be a sales rep, and small arms ammunition developer.  They flew me and my then wife to the HQ, put us up in a nice place, and interviewed me for two days.  Was told I got the job, and waited for the relocation package to be worked out.  Got a call two weeks later that my position was eliminated (president had a buddy who needed a job, so they cancelled my position, and gave this dude an HR spot).  Biggest letdown I ever experienced, as it was EXACTLY what I wanted.  At the time I was basically a former Army Officer, with a Psychology degree...  No engineering or technical background, yet there I was getting the position, and I would have kicked its ass.

I could tell you of a situation where I interviewed with a very prominent Japanese OEM auto parts maker, where the process was seven interviews over as many days, all tag-team, all very 'tricky'.  On interview five, and flat out cheekily telling them how it was almost to the point of their collective jaws dropping, I still got interview No 6.  Gotta be bold yet civilized, know your audience, and take your chances.  I may not be the coolest cat, but I am incredibly resistant to any effort to make me think I'm un-cool, or to put me in a box.  Best of luck to you.

Holyoak

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2018, 04:26:59 PM »
How about this for off the wall.  Psychology degree, former Army Infantry Officer, firearm sales, sold Ford auto parts, was the training director for a 17 store chain of auto service centers, sales rep for a major motor oil/everything attached to that distributor, and was an auto dealer service manager prior to...  Applying for the position of chief interpretive naturalist, to manage a state parks nature center, guide hikes, develop and present nature programs, etc...  Got the job on the first interview, beating out folks with forestry/biology/natural science degrees, and it was the best job I ever had.  Would have done it for free. 

Another.  I applied for, and received an interview with an explosives and propellants firm to be a sales rep, and small arms ammunition developer.  They flew me and my then wife to the HQ, put us up in a nice place, and interviewed me for two days.  Was told I got the job, and waited for the relocation package to be worked out.  Got a call two weeks later that my position was eliminated (president had a buddy who needed a job, so they cancelled my position, and gave this dude an HR spot).  Biggest letdown I ever experienced, as it was EXACTLY what I wanted.  At the time I was basically a former Army Officer, with a Psychology degree...  No engineering or technical background, yet there I was getting the position, and I would have kicked its ass.

I could tell you of a situation where I interviewed with a very prominent Japanese OEM auto parts maker, where the process was seven interviews over as many days, all tag-team, all very 'tricky'.  On interview five, and flat out cheekily telling them how it was almost to the point of their collective jaws dropping, I still got interview No 6.  Gotta be bold yet civilized, know your audience, and take your chances.  I may not be the coolest cat, but I am incredibly resistant to any effort to make me think I'm un-cool, or to put me in a box.  Best of luck to you.

Double Yu

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2018, 04:42:09 PM »
What's kind of funny is that in the course of writing my letter, thinking clearly about my experience (rather than just disregarding it as irrelevant or amateur), and tying in my experience, my passion and the overarching aims of the organization --- I think it might not be out of my league! Now, maybe I'm easily deluded, but really, I could make a real contribution, do the work they ask, and more.

So, either the title is now misleading and off base or I'm REALLY easily persuaded :D

@Holyoak, what a great story. I've never been one to stand my "I'm cool" ground out loud but apparently that's fully appropriate for an interview.

Ten years ago (before 2 international moves and the dad-caregiving) I did volunteer for this organization and two of the people I worked with are still there. I would have a hard time believing they remember me... but maybe they do and I should email them... hmmm

crispy

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2018, 04:55:59 PM »
What's kind of funny is that in the course of writing my letter, thinking clearly about my experience (rather than just disregarding it as irrelevant or amateur), and tying in my experience, my passion and the overarching aims of the organization --- I think it might not be out of my league! Now, maybe I'm easily deluded, but really, I could make a real contribution, do the work they ask, and more.

So, either the title is now misleading and off base or I'm REALLY easily persuaded :D

@Holyoak, what a great story. I've never been one to stand my "I'm cool" ground out loud but apparently that's fully appropriate for an interview.

Ten years ago (before 2 international moves and the dad-caregiving) I did volunteer for this organization and two of the people I worked with are still there. I would have a hard time believing they remember me... but maybe they do and I should email them... hmmm

Definitely email them!

I meant to mention earlier that you need to check out the www.askamanager.org blog. Her cover letter advice is excellent!

Freedomin5

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2018, 05:24:39 PM »
Seriously, just apply. If this is a public service organization, you donít know how many applicants they have. And they may be looking for someone with practical experience and not just theoretical knowledge. In this case, itís important to highlight practical accomplishments.  Iíve done that several times  and succeeded.

The first one was for the TOP organization in the field in Asia, and I was applying as someone with the right credentials but NO job experience, in a field and culture where ďgray hairĒ means wisdom and experience and works in your favor. I got the job because everyone else thought it was out of their league and didnít apply.

Thatís also how I ended up with a $6000 scholarship. No one else applied.

For my second job, I flat out told the interviewer, ďIf I were you, I wouldnít hire me. I donít have enough experience.Ē I was actually just meeting to see if I could volunteer. Reflecting back, probably not the best job interview strategy, but I think maybe they appreciated my honest assessment of my own abilities, because I was offered a job on the spot. And probably because no one  else more suitable applied.

The second one I applied for was one where I barely had the right credentials and experience, but with this one I knew one of the interviewers, had worked with them in the past, and what I lacked in credentials and experience I made up for in ďworking my butt offĒ-ness. And they knew that and had seen my dedication. I also got a bunch of people whom they knew to vouch for me. I dropped names (my dissertation supervisor had ties to the organization), and my other references also were close to the hiring parties.

When applying for ďout of your leagueĒ jobs, it helps to lean more heavily on relationships.

TL;DR GO FOR IT. Whatís the worse that could happen? You donít get the job. Oh wait...thatís exactly where you are right now, so basically Things will stay exactly the same. :)

lhamo

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2018, 05:25:14 PM »
Yes, email them.

The boss I cried to who gave me the job?   I had met him about 5 years prior when my DH applied for a job with him.   Near the end of the interview I came up with DS, who was at that point a pretty adorable toddler, and met the boss an others who were working there.  DH didn't get the job because boss only had money for a local hire, not an expat. But we stayed in touch and even helped him with a few minor things over the years (like picking an offshore email service during the height of SARS).

Before I applied I emailed the boss to let him know I would be applying.  He still remembered me/us.   

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #22 on: February 25, 2018, 05:56:20 PM »
The advice I got from people on here when I was applying for jobs I thought were above my level, was that I don't know what the hiring managers are looking for, so apply anyway. I did and got the interview but the not the job. Since then, I've applied for jobs that I feel underqualified for on a regular basis - and I get more interviews from those applications than I do from jobs I know I can do. I've been unemployed (kind of, freelancing a bit) for three months now, and I got a call last week from the hiring manager of the first OMG-can-I-do-this job above asking me to apply for another senior position with them. I have an interview this week. Clearly they believe I have some good skills!

If I were you, I'd apply for the job. You never know. And don't listen to hiring managers. They all do things completely differently, and they all believe the way they do it is industry standard!

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2018, 08:30:52 PM »
I landed a job out of my league twice.  Please take time to apply and make your resume stand out in the way your talents are on display.  When interviewing, what matters is how you answer the questions and what kinds of questions you ask.   Best of luck! 

expatartist

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #24 on: February 25, 2018, 08:50:59 PM »
My dream job wasn't so much out of my league as difficult to find/get, and required a combination of luck, patience, and a bit of strategy.

How it happened:
* Former colleague (from job 5 years prior in Hong Kong) recommended I give arts workshop at his new job
* Head art teacher was impressed and we stayed in touch
* Head art teacher moved to my city (Beijing) and started new job, recommended me for p/t teaching position
* Not a huge fan of traditional art teaching but needed the $ and liked the org, especially their support of the arts via a unique full-time artist-in-residence program
* After 1.5 years I landed my dream job at the org (artist-in-residence) and they gave me the full expat package though I was a local hire
* After 2 more years I was able to transfer back to Hong Kong supported by the org, and am immigrating here

As others have said above, particularly if you're not a typical hire, it comes down to who you know: they can vouch for you, and also let you know what the organization is looking for, so you can tailor your application and approach to their needs. Also, even if this doesn't work out, it can inspire you to seek out this kind of work elsewhere in your town.

Paul der Krake

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #25 on: February 25, 2018, 09:40:21 PM »
The key is to assimilate before they find out you're from the lower league.

tomsang

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #26 on: February 26, 2018, 12:21:43 AM »

Ten years ago (before 2 international moves and the dad-caregiving) I did volunteer for this organization and two of the people I worked with are still there. I would have a hard time believing they remember me... but maybe they do and I should email them... hmmm

Yes!!!!   Email them!!!!  If this is your job, you need to pull out all stops.  It sounds like you want to throw your resume in a pile of a 1,000 others.  Don't do that.  You have what it takes, just do it!!

Double Yu

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #27 on: February 27, 2018, 03:04:59 PM »
ok, email sent! I (fortuitously, perhaps) knew my contact right as he was on the cusp of taking a year and half off from work to travel, have a kid... and then he rejoined the organization in possibly a new capacity. Perhaps there'll be resonance around the "path least traveled" sorts of decisions as mine also included international moves and we'd talked about that when I was a volunteer. Maybe if he doesn't remember me it won't matter because I'm already just making sure my application will get recognition. I haven't the foggiest who I'll be competing against, but this has been a great exercise in helping me figure out that I AM RELEVANT!!  Seriously revolutionary for my self-confidence :)  Gonna bite hard, though, if/when I don't get it... :D

mozar

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #28 on: February 27, 2018, 05:42:49 PM »
Also make sure that you put that you volunteered there on your resume. HR people will feel that you already know how the org works.

expatartist

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #29 on: February 27, 2018, 06:28:04 PM »
Great idea to bring up your volunteer experience, and brief mentions of other info that can help jog people's memories. Rooting for you!

Double Yu

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #30 on: February 28, 2018, 09:36:54 AM »
Thank you @Malkynn  - that's a great analysis and accompanying strategy. I'm quite likely a "late bloomer" (fingers crossed that I do bloom at some point!)  such that in and right after college, I just got jobs that had nothing to do with what I love, that were just lowercase-j jobs doing whatever secretarial work needed doing (that's what you do with a humanities degree when your interests range all over the place and you don't know what you're doing with your life, right?)... anyway there's a whole boring story there that only serves to get me to the point:

I've never been strategic about any of it.

That was what was so mind blowing about @Greenback Reproduction Specialist's list in another thread - I'd done my job well, people were happy with my work, but I never leveraged my skills to my benefit and so I never went anywhere.

I did it without a college degree or trades training, so basically no out of pocket cost, here is how.

-Get an unpaid internship (foot in the door to the industry, did this in highschool)
-Ask to get hired on part time after 3 months of kicking butt and working hard
-Ask for a raise every 6 mo to a year
-Ask what you can do to get a bigger better raise next time(set goals)
-Deliver and get the raise
-Look for positions that offer high pay in your industry
-Figure out the skills required to get those jobs
-Use your current employment to train and build skills for those jobs, if not available switch jobs to where they are.(resume build)
-Move out of state if required but only for big increases in pay or to increase skills.
-Ask for raises, or seek out another position that comes with pay increase
-etc

Don't ever take a job just for the money, make sure you are learning skills that make you more valuable. Always have an eye on 5 years out and learn skills that increase your worth to an employer.

This project (applying for this job and thinking about a) what I want and b) what I can offer with the c) help offered here) has really served to get me thinking about what I need to do to make myself competitive even without the academic background.

I received a response from my contact. My reading suggests that it's... cautious or tepid - he's not directly in the hiring process, might not really remember me (he's kind of vague) and he says, in response to my question about one aspect of the position's requirements that I should read the job description. I sent back a cheery thank you and after feeling a bit, well frankly, shit out of luck and unlikely to ever do much more than do gopher tasks in service of things I'm lukewarm about, I woke up this morning and am ready to read EVERY publication put out by this department in the last 5 years and determine what great thing they're overlooking or how I can tie disparate pieces together or... something.

So, if you'll excuse me, I have a bunch of work to do. Meanwhile I've sent my cover letter and resume to two of my references and I'm sure there'll be changes to make. Also, I need to skim through my master gardener materials and make sure that my knowledge base is refreshed.

meghan88

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #31 on: February 28, 2018, 01:01:34 PM »

I received a response from my contact. My reading suggests that it's... cautious or tepid - he's not directly in the hiring process, might not really remember me (he's kind of vague) and he says, in response to my question about one aspect of the position's requirements that I should read the job description. I sent back a cheery thank you and after feeling a bit, well frankly, shit out of luck and unlikely to ever do much more than do gopher tasks in service of things I'm lukewarm about, I woke up this morning and am ready to read EVERY publication put out by this department in the last 5 years and determine what great thing they're overlooking or how I can tie disparate pieces together or... something.


Not surprising.  Many, many people will not lift a finger to help someone.  Reasons for that can vary and have nothing at all to do with you.  Sometimes, advocating for someone can be viewed as a undue influence on their process.  Or maybe they don't want to stick their neck out for someone who is essentially an unknown.

Personally, I tried to get a good friend AND a spouse into my company and both were rejected, even though I went to bat (and would always go to bat) for both of them, because they are stellar people.  Hiring managers have their own agendas and might not appreciate influence from people from other departments.

It's a trite thing to say but it's worth saying anyway:  All you can do, is all you can do.

So if you've given it your all, you've done everything you can.

If this door closes, others will open, if you keep at it.

(Sorry about messing up the quotes in this post.)
« Last Edit: February 28, 2018, 01:03:48 PM by meghan88 »

Double Yu

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Re: landing a job "out of your league" - share your success stories!
« Reply #32 on: March 05, 2018, 11:24:41 AM »
Thanks, @Malkynn - that's encouraging! It's really been an interesting experience, to look at my background and interests (while knowing I could do this job) and really work to get my materials to reveal just WHY I'd be good at it. I didn't have to fudge or stretch anything - and while I may not have the book-length background, there IS something there.

So, I just submitted everything.

On the off chance I get an interview, I'm continuing to read up on the department and its many projects (and thinking of ways I can contribute or what I'd like to see happen) and am picking apart my weaknesses (you know, for that question about what I feel my weaknesses are and how I plan to overcome them - or whatever).

This has actually been a very invigorating process, this reframing of my experience and skills and diving into the application. Even if I don't end up with the job, I feel so much better prepared for other applications.

Thanks for everyone's contribution here!