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Why You Should Apply for Jobs when You’re Not a Good Fit

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My client was approached about a job where she wasn’t necessarily a good fit. She asked me if she should pursue the position. My response was yes! They approached her. Talk is cheap. Plus, it was good practice on multiple levels.

1. Tailor your resume.

This is a good time to customize your resume using keywords that you harvest from the prospective employer’s website. Tailor the resume by using ARM (Action, Results, Metrics) phrases that match each responsibility and requirement in the job description.

2. Prepare for the interview.

Look at each responsibility and required skill in the job description and develop an example in which you demonstrate that you meet the requirement. Make sure you document the key points in the story so that you can use it again in future interviews. The goal is to develop a library of stories that you can use over and over again.

Build a set of questions that you’ll ask during the interview. This should include questions on management style, work environment, and teamwork. You want to see if this is a good fit for you!

3. Execute the interview.

Plan on probing for pain points very early in the interview. Ask probing question like:

  • Why the position is open?
  • What’s the problem they want to solve with this hire?
  • What are the metrics that are motivating them to hire someone for this position?

Answer every question with a story. You should say “Let me tell you about when…”

Make sure you ask all of the questions that you developed to determine whether this is a good fit for you.

4. Postmortem

After walking out of the interview, make some mental notes on what you thought and whether it was a good fit. Did the interviewer know what they were doing? Did this seem like a place you’d like to work?

After the interview, review the following:

  • Did they review your resume with you?
  • Did they make any comments about your resume?
  • Were you successful in probing for pain points? If so, what were they, and document them for future reference.
  • Were you able to answer every question with a story? If not, develop new stories based on the questions they asked.
  • Where you a good fit for the job?
  • If not, why weren’t you a good fit for the job?
  • Were you a good fit for the company and their culture?

If you get into the habit of taking all of these steps, you’ll be able to determine what is a good fit for you. Even interviewing for a position that’s not a good fit can be a great learning experience.

This post originally appeared on

Photo: sebagee / Pixabay


#Job Application #Learning Experience Career Advice
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I'm aghast at the following typo:

" This is a good time to customize your resume using keywords that you harvest from the perspective employer’s website. …"

The word is PROSPECTIVE, not perspective. It's bad enough women's aren't taken seriously in business, but there is NO excuse for using the wrong word.


Thanks Louise for noticing the typo. I guess as you said, "It's bad enough WOMEN'S aren't taken seriously..."

Oh, wait - is that a typo I see (*women's*)? I'm almost sure I would've let it slide if it was never brought up in this conversation.

Great article Levo! Keep 'em coming!


I am generally inspired by your posts but as a corp recruiter I strongly disagree with this one. Candidates who apply to anything and everything lack focus are usually moved to the reject file. It's okay to apply for a position for which you are not quite qualified (emphasis QUITE); but applying to positions for which you are not a fit is another story. It will backfire and the candidate won't be taken seriously when he/she applies for the position he/she truly wants.

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