Whether you’re using job search apps that point you to a cool gig or happen to fatefully stumble upon the job description of your dreams while browsing, it’s hard not to feel a small sense of defeat when your experience or the salary you make doesn’t match up with what the post says the company is looking for. However, we’ve heard enough success stories to believe that landing a job that seems out of reach ISN’T actually impossible. We reached out to NYC-based career coach Harper Spero to nail down the three main things you need to do to land a competitive job that seems like a stretch.

woman on computer cafe

1. Sell your skills and personality fit. Even if the job seems out of reach, you owe it to yourself to apply. Harper agrees, saying, “If you feel that you’re a great candidate, then you should be able to present ALL the reasons why you’re perfect for this.” She also says that while there are a ton of situations where employers think they know exactly what they’re looking for, they can change their mind upon meeting someone who feels like a good fit, even if they have different background and experience than originally called for.

“Showcase the skills that are obviously applicable to the job and be sure to outline what makes you unique. If you’re coming from a startup, know that having worn a ton of hats in a super short amount of time is great experience that can apply to most jobs. Use that to show that you’re a quick learner and versatile employee,” Harper suggests.

And if it’s the opposite and you’re worried about heaps of corporate experience that might not translate to a small company? Harper says, “I recently had a client who applied for a job that she was overqualified for, and they loved her so much that the company actually created a senior level role just for her.” So set out to prove yourself and sell ‘em hard. It works.

woman interview

2. Get creative to catch their attention. Cover letters are a perfect opportunity to really showcase your skills and get the hiring manager’s attention. Harper says, “ALWAYS start your cover letter with an attention grabbing sentence. Make it so compelling that they can’t help but keep reading.” Remember that hiring managers often sift through hundreds of resumes, so it’s absolutely vital to be creative in order to stand out.

Harper shared a cool example with us of an awesome go-getter’s approach. “My client was determined to work with a specific company, so on Earth Day, she sent the hiring manager a plant that said ‘Happy Earth Day! I’ll do anything to plant myself within your company.’ She got herself an interview by being incredibly creative. We live in such a digital world that people have really come to appreciate thoughtful and unique approaches.”

3. Don’t be afraid to shoot for a way higher salary. Never forget that you have nothing to lose when applying for a job that has a much higher salary than your current gig. Harper says, “If you feel that you’re qualified for the job, then it’s YOUR responsibility to show your future employer why you deserve this salary.”

Arm yourself with accurate info by doing your research on sites like Glassdoor.com. Spend time reviewing data for the role you’re in versus the one you’d like to apply for. Never take yourself out of the running for a job that excites you because you’re worried that your experience isn’t worthy of the pay increase. Work hard and do your homework, and you will prove you’re worth more.

Have you successfully scored a job that originally seemed out of reach? Share your awesome success story with us on Twitter @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)