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How to Clear H.R. Hurdles

From the New York Times

How do you persuade a company to hire you if you are underqualified — or overqualified — for the job, and the laws of supply and demand are against you?

If your only relationship with the company is electronic, via a job board or a posting, your chances are not good. H.R. people confronting hundreds of faceless online applications have one main goal: to weed out as many people as they can.

But if you can establish personal contact with someone on the inside, you may be able to make your case. It’s tiresome to have to repeat this, and a lot of people don’t like to hear it, but it comes down to networking.

Job seekers who don’t fit all the requirements need to go around the gatekeeper; they need to find another door.

If you are introduced to a hiring manager by someone you know, there is more trust, and suddenly things aren’t as important as they appeared to be on that job spec.

“The best guarantee of future success is past success,” said Steve Miranda, chief H.R. and content integration officer at the Society for Human Resource Management.

When you get in front of a hiring manager, you can describe your professional successes and show how they are relevant and transferable to the job at hand, he said.

Emphasizing your humble and cooperative side is especially important when it comes to applying for a job for which you are overqualified, said Erik Sorenson, chief executive of Vault, an online career service. That’s because many employers fear that “along with overqualification comes arrogance,” he said.

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