It is not about what you do not have, it is about what you do have

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People have a tendency to consider a glass half empty instead of half full. Throughout our life, we sometimes think of what we do not have rather than everything we do have.

Professionally, we may see a job advertisement we would love to apply for, and we know we could do the job. We have the relevant experience and skills, but unfortunately, lack the proper certificate required.

Of course, we study for a reason, and not just to get a certificate. It is to prepare and become more specialised. Should the fact, however, that we have no diploma stop us trying to apply for the job we desire?

Well, no. Some organisations consider experience as important as the gains from studying. Even if the experience is not exactly right for the role, it will help us be effective quickly.

However, it is true that many recruiters check a CV by simply ticking boxes. They do not look at the general profile of the person, even if that person could have learnt all they needed on the job and excelled.

So what should we do? Abandon our dreams and give up?

No. We can start by thinking of everything we have, of how we can use our experience, how we can show it, what we have to offer and how we can emphasise the benefits we can bring to an organisation.

So, here some suggestions for this that I have learnt in my career.


Networking is the best tool to help us to get a job. Thanks to it we can get useful information that will help us in our search; we can show people face to face who we are and what we have done and let them known that we are available.

Look for people, therefore, who can give you useful information. If you are shy, breathe deeply and do it. It will be useful to talk to somebody you do not know who can help with future job interviews. Treat it as a useful exercise. You have nothing to lose but a lot – really a lot – to gain.

Skill Based CV

Prepare a Skill Based CV. It is an important tool to highlight all our competences, even those acquired years ago but could be relevant for a job we would like now.

Original Cover Letter

Do not be scared to explain in the cover letter (and briefly in the CV) the reason for your application despite a lack of exact criteria required by the employer. Show your enthusiasm and motivation, explain why you are perfect for the role even if you do not have all of the things that are asked; show how you can make a difference. The person on the other side should understand why you are different, and why it would be great to have you by their side.

Make a project

Plan your actions. Why are you doing it? What do you need to do? Where do you want to go? What are your objectives? (Always remember that they have to be SMART ones: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant; Time-bound – for more definitions of SMART, see below.) All this will make things clearer. Making the plan is important, it will help you see where you stand but also, and just as importantly, where you are going.

Keep learning

As Socrates said, ‘the only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing’. It is important to keep learning at every stage of our life, to specialise and stay on top of a subject that interests us. We should keep investing in our personal and professional development because doing so will pay us back eventually.

 Always be positive and open-minded

Do not hesitate, as trying does not cost us anything. So, on reading this article, try not to say “yes, but” while looking for excuses why you cannot do something. Try to be open-minded, and say “what if “  instead. Just see what happens.

You can do it

This article does not want to give the message that everything is easy. The message is that everything is possible if we really want it. We can make it all possible.

It is not about what you do not have, it is about what you do have. You have the ability to look at a glass in different ways. It could be half empty but, if you look closer, you are able to see it as half full. It will take time, and it will not be easy and the obstacles will be many. With the right tools, commitment, perseverance and confidence you can do it, we can all do it!


Alternative definitions of SMART include:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable).
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
  • Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).




Photo (Modified ADB)

Emanuela Melis

Emanuela Melis

I am a people person!

In fact, in one way or another, I have always been a point of contact and a coordinator in every one of my roles – in human resources, in teaching and organising courses and in conference management…and in every one of my languages - English, French, Italian and Spanish.

Establishing rapport, understanding needs and making people part of the group are key for me. My professional and personal motivations are investing my time and energy for the wellbeing and growth of others - their professional learning and development.


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