Navigating Job Adverts: Assessing Essential Criteria and Enhancing Your Candidacy


Job adverts often come laden with essential and desirable criteria, shaping the ideal candidate envisioned by the employer. Understanding how to evaluate these criteria is crucial for prospective applicants. In this guide, we explore the considerations and strategies for students facing the dilemma of not meeting all the essential criteria outlined in a job advert.

Deciphering Essential and Desirable Criteria:

Essential criteria represent non-negotiable requirements for the role, such as specific qualifications or a defined amount of experience. On the other hand, desirable criteria, while beneficial, are not critical and could be acquired on the job. Employers typically use these criteria for shortlisting and scoring applicants during the recruitment process.

Factors Influencing Your Perception:

As a student, your confidence, networking connections, gender, and interest in the role can influence how you perceive a job advert. Confidence in possessing a strong CV with qualifications and skills often leads to a positive outlook. However, external factors like academic performance or limited work experience may raise doubts about your suitability.

Making Informed Decisions:

  1. Evaluate Essential Criteria: If the essential criteria demand specific courses or technical abilities you lack, consider equivalent experiences or skills gained elsewhere. However, if the criteria stipulate years of sector-specific employment you lack, it may impact your chances significantly.4. Understanding the six criteria: Definitions, elements for analysis and  key challenges | Applying Evaluation Criteria Thoughtfully | OECD iLibrary
  2. Highlight Transferable Skills: Few applicants meet all desirable criteria. Emphasize transferable skills gained from various sources like coursework, work experience, volunteering, and extracurricular activities. The focus should be on skills relevant to the employer’s needs, irrespective of the sector where they were acquired.
  3. Addressing Gaps in Qualifications: If you identify gaps in your qualifications, take proactive steps to fill them. Consider short courses, relevant volunteering, or work shadowing to strengthen your profile. Extensive research into the employer and role, along with a clear demonstration of motivation, can bolster your application.How to Address the Skills Gaps in Your Organisation - Growth Engineering
  4. Strategic Networking: Connect with the employer or alumni through events, online interest groups, or LinkedIn. Ensure your LinkedIn profile aligns with your target role, as employers often review it during shortlisting.Strategic Networking Model. [16] | Download Scientific Diagram

    In the competitive landscape of job applications, strategic networking emerges as a powerful tool for candidates seeking to enhance their prospects. By actively connecting with employers and alumni through diverse channels, such as industry events, online interest groups, and LinkedIn, you not only expand your professional network but also demonstrate a proactive approach to career development. Remember, the strength of your connections can be a significant factor in standing out during the recruitment process.

    Analogous to Choosing a Home: Crafting an Unforgettable Impression

    Consider the process of applying for a job as analogous to choosing a place to live. While employers establish criteria, much like prospective homeowners, they are not immune to being swayed by intangible factors. Your application goes beyond a checklist; it’s an opportunity to showcase your unique qualities and leave a lasting impression. Just as a home reflects the personality of its inhabitant, your application should convey your distinctive attributes that go beyond the standard requirements.

    Highlighting Your Unique Qualities: A Personal Touch

    Inject a personal touch into your application by emphasizing qualities that set you apart. Whether it’s your innovative approach to problem-solving, adaptability, or a unique skill set, these qualities can become the X-factor that intrigues employers. Much like a homebuyer might be captivated by a unique feature in a property, employers appreciate candidates who bring something special to the table.

    Crafting a Compelling Narrative: Beyond the Checklist

    Your application is your narrative, and every element contributes to the story you’re telling employers. Just as a homeowner might reminisce about the charming history of their residence, weave a compelling narrative that goes beyond the checklist of qualifications. Use your cover letter, resume, and any additional materials to craft a story that resonates with the employer’s values and needs.

    Closing the Deal: Inviting Further Exploration

    Much like a well-presented home invites further exploration, your application should leave employers curious and eager to delve deeper. Encourage them to explore your LinkedIn profile, delve into your accomplishments, and consider the unique perspective you bring to the role. By doing so, you create an invitation for employers to envision you as a valuable addition to their team.

  5. Analogous to Choosing a Home: Reflect on your criteria when deciding where to live. Employers, like prospective homeowners, have their criteria but can sometimes be swayed by other factors. Your application can leave an impression beyond the checklist, so showcase your unique qualities.


While essential criteria set the baseline, your ability to present transferable skills, address gaps, and strategically engage with the employer can influence the outcome. Recognizing that employers may be swayed by factors beyond the checklist empowers you to approach job applications with a nuanced perspective. Seek feedback to refine your applications and maximize your chances of securing the desired role.

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