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I'm applying for engineering jobs which for the most part have extensive experience in Solidworks as an essential requirement.

However, the package I have experience in is SolidEdge. Now, I know that the two are extremely similar, and I wouldn't need any extra training to start using Solidworks straight away. Any mechanical engineer would also know this as would the manager obviously.

I have no idea if the very first person (the recruiter) who looks at my cover letter knows, or would it go straight in the bin if they don't see the exact name? Do I have to write something like "SolidEdge (similar/comparable to Solidworks)"?

Small point I know, but I'm just trying to streamline my cover letters and avoid insulting the reader's intelligence.

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    I have edited your question. How much recruiters know is as much a guess to you as it is to most readers here. Feel free to edit it further, of course.
    – user8036
    Dec 9 '14 at 8:06
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Odds are, they know nothing: there are plenty of recruiters out there who can't tell Java apart from JavaScript, much less SolidEdge from Metal Gear Solid. In particular, if you're applying "cold" to jobs where you have no inside connections, your resume is likely to get binned immediately if it doesn't match the exact keywords the recruiter has been told to look for.

In your shoes, I'd probably list something like "SolidEdge/SolidWorks" in the Technologies/Skills section on my resume, brush up enough on SolidWorks so that's not a bald-faced lie (surely you can download and play around with a demo version or something?), and then explain that you've primarily used SolidEdge when you get a live interview stage with somebody who does know the difference. Also, if your resume covers specific projects, make sure you note that you did them with SolidEdge, not Works.

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Have you ever done anything with SolidWorks? Are you in a position to authoritatively state that having reviewed SolidWorks, you find thaT SolidWorks is very similar in look and feel to SolidEdge? If you are in such a position to say it, say it and say that you are saying it from first-hand knowledge.

If you have never been exposed to SolidWorks, find a way to get yourself exposed to SolidWorks so that you can claim that you have been exposed to SolidWorks.

Good engineers are hard to find, and it just makes no sense for an employer to X-out a talented engineer over the piece of software that they are using.Especially if that piece of software can be learned relatively quickly and easily.

As for your question "How much do engineering recruiters know about individual software packages?",the answers are all over the map. No one among us has any way of knowing whether a random recruiter comes from a mechanical engineering background. Instead, your question should be "What should I say to convince a recruiter that the fact that I am using SolidWprks instead of SolidEdge - that's not a technology deal breaker?"

You are not in a position to sell the product i.e. your expertise in it. Instead, you need to sell yourself i.e. your ability to learn the product quickly and make effective use of it.

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If the job posting includes the must have requirement that you have used a specific product, you will have an uphill battle if you only have experience in using a related product.

You must include the name of the desired product in a line on your resume or cover letter or you risk having an automated system reject your application before a human even reads it.

In some companies the recruiting staff knows nothing about the actual position being filled, they are applying the business rules (requirements) provided by the team that needs the position filled and the corporate requirements. Many times I have had to provide synonyms for the technologies so that nothing that might be related is missed.

Because you don't have an exact match for a required technology you will have to show either a depth of knowledge on the topic or a breadth of tool experience related to the topic. You should also make it clear that on other occasions you have been a quick learner when a new tool was needed for a project.

If the job positing has the software as desired instead of required, you are in much better shape. You can easily describe experience in a way to show you meet the qualification.

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