This guest letter was written by Mark Hannan
Dear Job Seeker,
It is rare, extremely rare, to find the “perfect fit” for both the job and the company culture. Please do not tell me you are.
You’ve never met any of us, haven’t seen how we operate, on good days or on bad days , so you can’t really make that judgment, can you?
Any one coming on board will need to acquire new information and skills and then navigate through unfamiliar channels to succeed. That is expected.
Rather than tell me that you have all the skills and personality to bring us a 100% ROI, show me you understand the demands of the job and how you will leverage your talents to succeed.
Do this by making sure the cover letter and resume reflect the skills you say you possess. If you tell me are detailed oriented and you misspell my name you show me that you are not, and, bring into question the veracity of all your other claims.
Crossing Into New Fields
Crossing over to new fields using equally valuable skill sets is common and in many cases not a problem at all. Fresh talent and new perspectives are often a plus.
Make it clear to me how you will translate your skills to your newly chosen field. Make sure to tell me about any obvious deficiencies in your skill set or qualifications and about how you will use your experience to face the challenge of learning new skills.
I am going to notice the gaps, no matter how hard you try to airbrush or cover them up. So use the cover letter to make a pre-emptive strike so I do not write you off too soon.
“In each position I have held it has been necessary for me to quickly learn new computer applications. Even though I am unfamiliar with Quirk, I am confident I will surmount the learning curve without jeopardizing the department’s progress.”
“While it may be true that I have been working outside the industry for the past three years, I have kept up to date on changes and innovations in the field by reading the trade media and networking. Last month, I attended the “New Analytics” workshop at the WorkSmart Conference.”
These two short paragraphs remove doubts that could have scored the application down, or worse disqualified it.
They show that you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses, you have seriously considered what is going to be required of you and that you are motivated to take action and do what it takes to move us all ahead, not just yourself. I am looking to see that we can be in a mutually beneficial relationship.
After all, the Company will be trusting you with its assets and reputation. It is the hiring manager’s duty to protect those, so we are risk adverse and proactively reduce it.
I Know Job Seeking is Hard But…
I know you are working under a great deal of stress and pressure. Finding a job is exhausting and can deflate the strongest of us. It can make you begin to question your competencies and career choices.
If you can set aside the doubts and focus on the task at hand, (to present yourself in the best possible light by submitting a thoughtful application) you have a better chance of convincing the hiring manager of your ability to do the exact same thing when you are faced with similar challenges on the job.
Remember, “Past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior.”
How you “behave” on paper (and in social media) is all the recruiter or hiring manager has to go on when considering your application.
It is in your best interest to take the time and effort to do as best a job as you can on your application. A big part of that requires considering perspectives and concerns beyond your own individual ones.
Put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager and the Company. That simple shift in awareness can, and will, make a big difference in the outcome.
Mark Hannan, MA, is a Personal Narrative Strategist specializing in Solution Focused Consultations. He is currently the hiring manager for a multi-state retail chain and is responsible for hiring for all levels of the organization. Connect with Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org.