Too old. Too young. No degree. Wrong degree. Too many degrees. Lack of relevant industry experience. Too many jobs. Not enough jobs — too long with one company. No U.S. citizenship. Out of work too long. Overqualified. Underqualified. Ran own company — too entrepreneurial.
No matter who you are, chances are that you’ve got at least one area of potential vulnerability on your resume that you’re worried employers might use to deselect you from the interview process. If this is the case, trust us on one thing — the guaranteed way for this issue to damage your candidacy is for you to get defensive or simply hope that the objection in question won’t come up! So instead of engaging in wishful thinking, or trying to distract the employer’s attention from your Achilles heel, think about how you can tackle it directly in a way that will clear the air, disarm it as a serious objection, and possibly even turn it around into a potential strength. Prepare a clear-cut argument for why the objection at hand won’t limit your effectiveness and then preface your case with statement such as:
— “I’m glad you brought that issue up. I was hoping that we could talk about it further at some point during this process, since I think how it looks on paper can be somewhat misleading…”
— “As you no doubt noticed on my resume, there’s one area of my background that probably doesn’t fit your model of the “ideal candidate”, but that I’m confident we can get around. Here’s how…”
— “I don’t blame you for wondering about that issue. If I was in your shoes, I’d have a few initial questions and concerns about that aspect of my resume, as well, but let me assure you that…”
By preparing vigorously for your greatest areas of weakness, and showing a willingness to own up to them, embrace them, and talk about them honestly in the interview process, you’ll find it can be relatively easy to “melt them away” during the hiring conversation. By pretending they don’t exist, however, or taking a combative stance with the employer when they come up, you’ll almost surely condemn your candidacy to failure. Employers can be awfully forgiving if you give them a reason to be, and by showing an open, nothing-to-hide attitude you’ll have the best possible chance of winning them over!