Use Your Cover Letter to Address Your Shortcomings

John Krautzel
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Crafting a well-written cover letter is an essential part of your job application. Your letter provides a potential employer with a first look at your candidature and your overall profile. In some instances, your cover letter must also address your lack of qualifications or gaps in your work history. Fortunately, if you approach this challenge pragmatically, any shortcomings in your application do not have to spell the end of your candidacy.

Firstly, it is important to underline what you think you must address in the cover letter. In some instances, employers specifically advertise for candidates with certain educational backgrounds or work histories. If you do not possess these qualities but still wish to apply, do not feel pressured to address your lack of qualifications.

In most cases, you do not need to directly outline your weaknesses. In reality, every job candidate represents both pros and cons for the employer, and many people are underqualified for job openings. Regardless of whether you have a lack of qualifications, inadequate work history or another problem altogether, you instead need to use your letter to highlight your strengths and help the recruiter understand why you are a good fit for the advertised position.

If you feel that you must address a particular problem with your application, try to spin your negative into a positive. For example, if there is a large gap in your work history, explain concretely how you have used this time in a productive manner. If you struggle from a lack of qualifications, line out additional skills you possess that are bound to prove valuable for the employer. While job postings line out the ideal candidate's profile, many companies are flexible when it comes to the actual hiring.

Remember, your cover letter is the first opportunity you have to impress a future employer. Never waste this chance by rambling about your lack of qualifications. A recruiter is much more likely to give you the chance to interview if you present yourself in a coherent, professional fashion. Exude confidence in your letter, and try your best to share some of your past achievements in a manner that relates to the job opening. This technique helps recruiters see past your weaknesses and imagine you in the role in question.

When you feel underqualified for job openings, it is tempting to spend inordinate amounts of time excusing yourself in your cover letter. Unfortunately, if you allow your lack of qualifications to do the talking for you, it will. Instead, work to convince an employer of your efficiency and professionalism, and use your interview to address any shortcomings if necessary. This job hunting strategy is bound to prove much more fruitful in the long run.

 

(Photo courtesy of stockimages / freedigitalphotos.net)

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