One of the realities of job openings in large organizations is that when the job is first posted internally, there are a number of employees already known to the employer who may opt to submit their application for the job. So that’s a good thing for the employer right?
Well certainly the employer is fortunate in that any internal employee applying for a promotion already has the benefit of knowing the companies expectations. They will be aware of the mission, values and purpose of the organization, the working atmosphere and culture, and the employer can search the applicants personnel file for performance reviews, talk to their existing Supervisor etc.
However, the down side of hiring an internal candidate is that now the employer has a known employee but in a new role, and an unforeseen vacancy in the department or area where the person who got hired came from. So for example, Khalil in Human Resources retires, and Julie, who has her Human Resources Certificate applies and gets the job, leaving her position in marketing. But it doesn’t end here. You see, Jennifer who took a Receptionist position in order to get the inside track on internal postings has been anxiously waiting the chance to apply for a job in Marketing, and soon her job will be vacant too and posted.
This domino effect can extend over quite a long period of time. After all, jobs get posted, application periods pass, resumes are reviewed and short lists established. Interviews are arranged and conducted, second interviews for the most promising occur, and offers are made. Then people need a week or two to wrap things up in their area, and the process starts again wherever the hole now exists.
Eventually of course, those on the outside of the organization do get notice of openings, and are welcome to compete for a position. In the above scenario, Khalil retires in Human Resources and the external posting goes out for a Receptionist job months later and in a completely different department. It is for this reason that many applicants with aspirations and qualifications for specific jobs will compete for jobs which on the surface don’t appear to match their qualifications best.
Zero in on this reality then oh Jobseeker! An astute person seeking employment will learn the ability to highlight their transferable skills, and demonstrate in their cover letter and resume how those skills will bring value to the employer. There are some people out there giving some poor advice in my opinion, to ‘dumb down’ your resume if this is your situation. This means hiding your training, omitting a job you’ve held on your resume, or changing a job title you’ve had to something else.
This practice is tantamount to lying; withholding information that misrepresents your past, plays down your accomplishments and responsibilities. Okay so play out this advice to its logical conclusion; you do get hired for an entry-level job. The entire time you are in your new position you have to hide your full potential, pretend you don’t know things you really do, ensure you don’t appear to overstep your entry-level job functions because after all, you aren’t supposed to know what you know. Are you going to be able to do this?
And if you hide your qualifications, education, experience etc. on your initial resume that gets you hired, you can hardly suddenly disclose all your hidden qualifications when a new job comes up without also disclosing you’ve been less than honest all along. Guess what? That could in some situations be the very thing that not only doesn’t get your promoted, but in fact gets you fired.
I know of a situation where this in fact happened. The person was finding it frustrating in their job search and opted to remove a University degree and two senior positions from their resume. They then got hired with a company in a junior role but didn’t get along with their immediate Supervisor who in turn found the person a challenge to work with because they acted like they knew everything. When the employee applied for a job with more responsibility, they also revealed their education and two positions omitted in their original application. The Supervisor used this omission as grounds to fire them for misrepresentation during the initial hiring process.
Better in my opinion to explain in your cover letter why you are applying for a position which may on the surface not be a logical fit at first glance. Make it easy for an employer to understand what is motivating you to apply for the position, and indicate your commitment and willingness to give the employer a return on their investment in your hiring. The additional qualifications you have should enrich a position, not threaten it.
Understand and anticipate the objection and concern of an employer and address it. If they are concerned you’ll get hired and leave at the first opportunity to do so for another more lucrative job, sell your understanding of that. Demonstrate that in order to move upward in the company, you want a thorough experience of the front-line experience.
And if you are an external candidate, network with those on the inside. Find out where openings occur, and where they are likely to occur next. Get in line so you can be the next domino.