How do I get the recruiter to see my potential instead of my experience?

Guest blog post by Hanna Sandvall, Business Area Manager Dfind Science & Engineering, Stockholm. First published in March 2018 on Dfinds blog (in Swedish) re-published and translated with the consent of Dfind. Dfind Science & Engineering is a recruitment and consulting company within science and engineering. All their consultant managers and recruitment consultants have an education and work experience within their respective field.


We’ve probably all been there. You find a new exciting job, and you are ready for the next step. You may want to broaden your expertise, advance into a managerial role or into a new specialist area. You have the experience, just not the experience of this particular role. So, how do you get the recruiter to dare and bet on your potential?

The key to success is translating your experiences and personal potential into what you can contribute with and what it would mean for the company in a short and long perspective. Also take time to prepare yourself, whether it’s for an interview or if you chose to proactively contact a company you are interested in.

Here is a list of some things to keep in mind when you want to highlight your potential.

Lift your eyes
When you want to sell your potential, it’s important that you focus on what you want to accomplish and not get stuck in what you’ve done previously. For example, let them know how you would take on the job, improvements you think could be done and what the results of these improvements could be. Of course, you need to be humble and focus on what you can contribute with without speculating too much or talking down the company’s current or past achievements.

Have a positive attitude
Be positive and focus on opportunities. If this particular hiring manager or recruiter does not dare to bet your potential, it is a good idea to spread the risk and contact several companies at the same time.

Get to know the company
Get to know the company. By reading on the company’s website and on the internet in general you can get a good picture of their business area, as well as business culture and values. If you want to be in a managerial or sales position, the company’s annual report is a good source of information.

Adapt to the person you meet
Do a background check of the person you will meet at the company. On LinkedIn you can often find out a little about a person’s background, for instance if he or she has a specialist background or if you share any particular interest or background. With this information you can adjust your manners and conversation to the person you meet, while also creating a more comfortable situation. On the other hand, if you have completely different backgrounds or if your experience differs completely from the company’s profile, this does not mean you have no chance. Prepare a little bit more about how your experience can contribute to the company’s development – you have a great opportunity to come up with new approaches.

Get to know the role
Read up on the role you are interested in, for example in the role description in the job ad. Talk to people in your network or in other fora that have been in similar roles to ask them how they had to respond to challenges and opportunities. Then match the requirements and insights you gathered about the role with the potential you see in yourself.

With these tips, I want to encourage you to take opportunities, facilitate for the company and the boss to get a quick overview of what you want to accomplish and can contribute with so they dare to bet on you.

Keep in mind that experience can be acquired, but your personality and potential you carry within!


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