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How does one deal with the lack of experience when applying for jobs? For example, recently, I began a cover letter like this:

As a recent graduate I don't have so much professional experience, however, I am pretty sure about my capabilities.

Other recent graduates must be facing a similar problem. Could someone on the other side of the job search suggest a concrete strategy for overcoming inexperience in the application materials?

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    Probably not. Did you actually accomplish anything in your internship? If you list actual results, that speaks louder than your "confidence" that you may be able to do the job. – Amy Blankenship Mar 9 '13 at 16:51
  • This is poorly worded, but I think it is an important question for this forum. Perhaps mods can rephrase instead of closing. – denten Mar 10 '13 at 5:07
  • @denten have you read the FAQ here? – enderland Mar 10 '13 at 14:11
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    The only rule that "apply" to this question is Please review my resume/CV, which isn't the scope of this question. This question is based on a specific sentence which is or is not appropiate, two possible specific options, and I don't see any rule that prohibit it. – user8137 Mar 10 '13 at 14:27
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    @enderland done. mods please review and consider reopening. – denten Mar 10 '13 at 16:03
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In my response, I will generalize from your specific example. What looks like the opening sentence of your cover letter violates at least two principles of good cover letter and resume writing.

  1. Do not help others form a negative opinion of you. The fact that you have little experience should be obvious from your resume. You do not need to draw attention to it. As a recent graduate you are flexible of mind, full of ideas and enthusiasm. You love learning and would like to get a job that helps you grow. You are willing to work hard and enjoy a challenge. All that sounds much better than "I don't have so much professional experience."

  2. "I am pretty sure about my capabilities" sounds vague, cocky, and confused. Are you sure sure or just pretty sure? Who isn't sure about their capabilities? What's so good about being sure of them? Always prefer specific examples over vague boasting. "The job requires X, Y, Z and I've had the opportunity to work on X, Y, Z in my management class." "I would be excited to work on X, Y, Z because it would give me the opportunity to apply my theoretical knowledge of A,B,C in a dynamic work environment." Principle two is be specific, use examples, avoid banality and generalization.