(Closed) What do you look for in a cover letter/applying when underqualified.

posted 7 years ago in Career
Post # 3
37 posts
  • Wedding: May 2012 - Art Center of Corpus Christi

Why not write a letter that really expresses your passion for this field and where it came from?  What experience did you have that made you realize this was the career for you as opposed to the fields your degrees are in?  Play up your service and explain how things you’ve done with your service have given you the skills you need for this position.

Post # 4
2359 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

my last cover letter i started it with an inspirational quote that i centered…. an approach i have never used before but i heard people are starting to use quotes to grab the readers attention.   I don’t know if it was the quote or not and the fact it was a different approach then most generic, boring cover letters, but i got hired almost instantly.  haha. 

Post # 5
97 posts
Worker bee

Explain what would make you a good candidate for this position. What skills do this job require and how does your past experience correlate? For example, talk about the administrative skills you used at your last job, or discuss your experience recruiting when volunteering. If you have ever interviewed anyone, talk about that. Mention your great computer skills…Even though you don’t have direct experience, I am sure you have experience that can be translated to this position. Good luck!

Post # 6
13096 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2010

I’d talk about why you want to enter HR and what skills you’ve gained from you volunteering that would be applicable to the positions.

Post # 7
371 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

I work in employment services, and what I tell my clients is that your cover letter should bridge the gap between the job and your resume. Your cover letter should not be general, they should be specific to each job you apply for. So all the things that the job requires that your resume does not clearly show you have done should be addressed in your cover letter. You can feel free to use personal experiences, volunteer work, specific courses, your passions etc. to do that. I think your best bet is to have a really comprehensive cover letter and try to find concrete examples of how you have done this work (even if not even close to professionally). Does that make sense? Feel free to pm me if you want more specific examples or any help!

Post # 8
6009 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

I think you’ve gotten a lot of good advice on the cover letter, so I’ll comment on the part of your post: breaking into a sector you don’t have direct experience/education in.

I cam into public sector HR from an administrative background; my adivce would be to look for entry-level HR positions (in the public sector, they’ll probably be named something like “HR Coordinator,” “HR Assistant,” “HR Clerk,” or “HR Generalist”).  These positions will be less technical and more administrative/clerical, giving you an opportunity to get some direct experience without needing a strong HR background to start.  Additionally, many private companies and colleges advertise HR certification programs; they can vary in length and price, but if you look for something very basic, it looks really great on an application/resume.

Post # 9
2580 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I think the PPs advice is great! I think the best strategy is to use the cover letter to explain how your skills and the experience on your resume is directly related to the work you would be doing. It’s not usually a huge stretch to show how major skills can be applicable to a variety of positions.

If you know anyone in the field who may be able to help you, networking can help too. Your resume is far more likely to end up in the right hands if someone can vouch for you. Otherwise, some of my friends have had success volunteering at an organization where they want to work to get a foot in the door. You might be able to do that at the place where the local government job is located!

Post # 10
229 posts
Helper bee

When I was applying for jobs right out of school, I used quotes from my peer evaluations for team projects. Then I could say something like, “In the words of a colleague, ‘Ambergris approaches every challenge with a positive attitude that is inspiring to others!'” If you don’t have evaluations like this to pull from, maybe ask a few references from your volunteer work to provide a couple remarks. I liked the personal touch that it added to my application. It’s like providing a glimpse of what your references will say, before anyone even calls them.

As a side note, I found it really beneficial to use a functional resume format rather than a chronological one. It really helped with making connections between the skills I had (acquired from all sorts of weird places) and the duties of the position I wanted. Then I used my cover letter to hit home the key points of my resume.   

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