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I have an interesting job offer (robotics engineer with Android/Java) and I match most of the requirements except for work experience in robotics (however I'm not totally noob in that area because few years ago I graduated in field of robotics).

How to state in cover letter that I don't fit one of job requirements?

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Simply state in your cover letter that you got your degree in robotics and leave it at that. If you got your degree from a good school with a decent academic average, I expect that you'll have to beat off prospective employers with a stick :) Having said that:

@FionaTaylorGorringe comments "don't ever be negative in the cover letter, emphasize what you DO have". I second that: you're trying to convince them to give you an interview where you can make your case. Don't walk back and forth with a placard around your neck that says "Kick me!". Please.

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    Yes, don't ever be negative in the cover letter, emphasise what you DO have. – Fiona - myaccessible.website Jul 8 '14 at 8:15
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    @FionaTaylorGorringe I updated my answer with your comment, giving you full credit for your comment, of course :) – Vietnhi Phuvan Jul 8 '14 at 11:34
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Last year I learnt of an opening in a company that asked a C# developer. I have done a few "hobbyist" stints in C#, but I am mainly a Java Developer.

Since the company looked interesting (developing comercial software, instead being a part of a bigger company), I sent a CV. I added to it a a note recognizing my lack of experience in C#, but that I was a very good and experienced Java programmer; that learning new languages was never a problem to me and that their job offer was interesting enough to worth the extra effort in my part to get up to level quickly.

And I immediately started reading a good C# manual.

I did not get the job (you will have to assume that you begin with a handicap), but I got through several levels of interviews, so they saw me as a potential candidate.

In short: be honest about it, but try to put a positive spin to it by showing interest and ability to learn. Anyway, assume that it will be a disavantage for you.

  • Nice answer, however C# (or any other programming language) is far easier to learn with some manual/tutorial while it's impossible with "real" engineering (robotics, electric, civil engineering etc.). – Marian Paździoch Jul 9 '14 at 10:54
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    I'll state it explicitly so a "real" engineer can understand it: try to convince your prospective employers that you can make up with your interest what you lack in experience. Experience is relatively easy to get, enthusiasm for a job is way more difficult to find and keep. You might want to work with your social skills, too. – SJuan76 Jul 9 '14 at 11:03
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Imagine, for a moment, that you're writing a letter to a prospective lover.

I am an amazing cook, I love pets, and I've got beautiful blue eyes. I don't have a car though - so please don't ask me to drive anywhere. I mean, I've got a fairly crappy car, but it's really embarrassing to drive.

Would you date this person? No! Why date / hire someone who has such a low opinion of their own ability.

You do not need to emphasise your weaknesses. If the employer has any qualms, they will ask you directly.

Your goal is to communicate all the ways in which you are right for the job.

If, however, you don't think that you can do the job - don't apply.

  • It seems that you suggest not mentioning it. I think this is a terrible idea, since the employer might thing that the OP did not care to read the job requirements/treated of cheating. – SJuan76 Jul 8 '14 at 11:31
  • so should I simply point it with short sentence that I dont match this single requirement or just skip it and count on the employer to figure it out of my resumee? – Marian Paździoch Jul 8 '14 at 11:38
  • You put the best spin on it - "I graduated from XXX with YYY years of experience in Robotics." – Terence Eden Jul 8 '14 at 13:43
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    Don't say "I don't have XXX years exp." say "I have graduated with a YY year degree in robotics" Keep in mind the requirement itself isn't what the employer wants. The employer wants someone who can work with robotics. The degree establishes that need despite not technically fulfilling the requirement. – RualStorge Jul 8 '14 at 19:20
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As someone pursuing a job you are both salesman and product. The potential employer is your potential customer.

Am I what they need?

This is the single biggest question. It's fine to not have certain requested certifications, degrees, experience, etc. so long as you are capable of fulfilling the role in which they are hiring you. (note: some certifications are legal requirements)

I don't want them to "consider me" I want them to "desire me"

As a salesman you always push the good, you avoid the bad as much as possible without treading into what could be considered cagey or dishonest. You don't want your potential customer juggling the your pros and cons on whether they even want to hire you, you want them to think "if I hire this person they are going to make me money". You want the only thing standing between you and a pay check is your competitors (other potential hires) potentially having a better offer.

Cover Letter

Think of your cover letter as your opening pitch. You want to intrigue these people, you want them to see the best you have to offer and why they NEED you. Think of this like you when you're buying a car or computer. You give the bird's eye you tell them why they need you specifically, and why you are reliable (IE that you want to work for them)

Resume/CV

Think of this as a tailored spec sheet. You're still pitching yourself, but if you didn't get that hook in already odds are they'll skim over it with little thought. If you have them excited they're going to look over this carefully and if everything is in order want you even more. In your CV you want to highlight the best you have to offer, what you've done to help your past employers (experience), what skills you offer (self explanatory), what documentation you have (certs/degrees) to confirm you're legit. You want them to finish your CV thinking you're a solid option. Where the only thing that could stop you from getting the job is if someone simply out sold you both on their pitch and what they backed up on paper.

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Generally education in a specific field can substitute for a few years of experience. If they read your resume, they know that you have been working in a different field than your education. This may or may not be a plus to them. But it is their decision, not yours. Apply, try to sell what you think you bring to the table that would make you a good candidate and let them figure out if what you sent them is what they want. Depending on the positon and the hiring manager, they may well be happy to get someone with a degree and no expereince, they may be happy only with the expereince or they may actually like some combination. You don't really have way to know what is in the hiring manager's head.

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